WHAT IS GENETIC COUNSELING?

An important component of Genetic Testing is Genetic Counseling. This twofold process includes pre- and post-test counseling.

Think of genetic counseling as a conversation. Your input – your goals, your feelings, your concerns – are all very important. Using a unique set of skills, a genetic counselor helps you understand your genetic risks, determines if genetic testing might be right for you – and if so, which tests – and explains what results might mean for you and your family. And, just as valuable, a genetic counselor helps you cope with your emotions as you process that information.

Genetic Counselors are there to:

  1. Listen to You
  2. Answer Questions
  3. Provide Guidance
  4. Help you Cope

In short, Genetic Counseling is an informative and thoughtful conversation that often lasts 30 minutes to an hour or longer. Your Genetic Counselor will:

  1. Explore your family health history
  2. Discuss the reason for the referral
  3. Talk about decisions that may need to be made
  4. Help you understand what tests are available, what those tests may show, and provide guidance to help you decide whether testing is something you would like to pursue
  5. Provide guidance and emotional and support as you decide what to do

Who are Genetic Counselors

Genetic Counselors are trained and certified professionals in Medical Genetics and Counseling to guide and support Counselees seeking information on genetic disorders or inherited diseases and conditions that might affect them or their families, and to interpret test results.

Usually a Genetic Counselor is referred to by a doctor to discuss your family history and genetic risks, or before or after having genetic testing.

They help you and your Doctors to decode your genetics conditions to understand:

  1. Your genetic risks based on your family history
  2. Your genetic risks for certain diseases or cancer
  3. Whether genetic testing might be right for you
  4. What the results of genetic tests may mean for you and your family

With expertise in counseling, genetic counselors can also provide emotional support as you make decisions and empower you with information for your overall healthcare.