Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 99–107 | Cite as

Psychodynamic Theory and Counseling in Predictive Testing for Huntington’s Disease

  • Roslyn J. Tassicker
Professional Issues


This paper revisits psychodynamic theory, which can be applied in predictive testing counseling for Huntington’s Disease (HD). Psychodynamic theory has developed from the work of Freud and places importance on early parent–child experiences. The nature of these relationships, or attachments are reflected in adult expectations and relationships. Two significant concepts, identification and fear of abandonment, have been developed and expounded by the psychodynamic theorist, Melanie Klein. The processes of identification and fear of abandonment can become evident in predictive testing counseling and are colored by the client’s experience of growing up with a parent affected by Huntington’s Disease. In reflecting on family-of-origin experiences, clients can also express implied expectations of the future, and future relationships. Case examples are given to illustrate the dynamic processes of identification and fear of abandonment which may present in the clinical setting. Counselor recognition of these processes can illuminate and inform counseling practice.

Key words

counseling Huntington’s Disease psychodynamic theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Genetic Health Services VictoriaRoyal Childrens HospitalMelbourne, VictoriaAustralia
  2. 2.Genetic Health Services VictoriaVictoriaAustralia

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