Genetic Counseling Program

Untitled Document

Nondirectiveness: Genetic Counselors Perceptions, Practice and Purpose.  By Sarah Von Schuch

Introduction:  Nondirectiveness is a central tenet of genetic counseling and its purpose is commonly defined as “supporting client autonomy and promoting active, self-confident decision making” (Kessler, 1997, p. 166). Despite being well espoused, however, nondirectiveness has been an area of controversy. In the last few years many different perspectives of nondirectiveness have surfaced, yet trends in genetic counselors’ perceptions, beliefs, and use had not been assessed since 1993. The purpose of this study was to investigate genetic counselors’ perceptions, beliefs, and practice of nondirectiveness, as well as identify trends in its use.  Methods:  The study employed web-based questionnaires open to all working master’s level genetic counselors who were members of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.  Results:  The study found that genetic counselors today feel less strongly about the importance of nondirectiveness in clinical practice than did counselors in 1993.  It also found that the overwhelming majority of counselors (95%) believed it was appropriate to be directive at times. Still, despite this, the majority of genetic counselors also believed there is not a better approach or philosophy that fits their practice today. In addition we found that while genetic counselors differ in how they choose to describe/define nondirectiveness, these differences did not appear to impact how counselors incorporate nondirectiveness into their clinical practice.

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  • "I chose to attend UNCG because of its shared learning environment and the access to some of the leading institutions in the country. "



  • "UNCG is a great fit for me. The program directors have extensive experience in the world of genetic counseling and provide you with opportunities to work with some of the best medical centers in the country. Our location allows us to have expert guest lecturers, many of whom you also get to work alongside or observe in your clinical rotations in your second year. We also have some really wonderful and unique opportunities as a part of this program: we observe in syndrome specific support groups and clinics, tour genetic laboratories, and are matched with a family with a genetic disease to learn what it is like to live with a genetic condition. Finally, our directors are genuinely invested in each of us, and care about our success and getting to know each of us personally."




  • "The director and assistant director do their best to ensure that our program provides a collaborative learning experience.  Both are active members of the Genetic Counseling community and strive to introduce you to all aspects of this field.  We also have renowned clinical sites and the beautiful state of North Carolina at our disposal.”