Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 6–17 | Cite as

The Utilization of Counseling Skills by the Laboratory Genetic Counselor

  • McKinsey L. Goodenberger
  • Brittany C. Thomas
  • Karen E. Wain
Professional Issues


The number of available genetic testing options and the nuances associated with these options continue to expand. In addition, the scope of genetic testing has broadened to areas and specialties beyond Medical Genetics. In response to these changes, diagnostic laboratories have employed genetic counselors to help navigate the increasing complexity of genetic testing, given their expertise and training in human genetics. However a largely unrecognized aspect of this role involves the use of counseling skills. Counseling skills are used by laboratory genetic counselors in a variety of situations to convey information and facilitate understanding among clinicians and medical staff. This helps to reduce test ordering errors, promote optimal test utilization, and ensure best patient care practices. The specific counseling skills used by laboratory counselors will be explored using three fictional case vignettes, followed by a discussion of the applicability of these skills in other contexts. Exploration of the unique ways in which laboratory genetic counselors apply their counseling skills can be useful for professional development and instructive for graduate training programs.


Laboratory genetic counseling Laboratory genetic counselor Counseling skills Training program curriculum 


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Copyright information

© National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • McKinsey L. Goodenberger
    • 1
  • Brittany C. Thomas
    • 2
  • Karen E. Wain
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cytogenetics, Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Laboratory Medicine and PathologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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