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Bearing bad news: Dealing with the mimics of denial

  • Genetic Counseling In Practice
  • Published:
Journal of Genetic Counseling


Denial is a common label for certain reactions to bad news. However, true denial is rare, and most cases actually represent a variety of responses with very different causes and needs. Three of these, disbelief, deferral, and dismissal, are characterized according to origins and needs. Failure to differentiate between these seemingly similar behaviors can result in inappropriate counseling, and interfere with attempts to convey information and provide support during a time of crisis.

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Lubinsky, M.S. Bearing bad news: Dealing with the mimics of denial. J Genet Counsel 3, 5–12 (1994).

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