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Characteristics of Genetic Counselors 

Characteristics of Genetic Counselors
Characteristics of Genetic Counselors

Barbara B. Biesecker

, Kathryn F. Peters

, and Robert Resta

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date: 23 June 2021

Beyond sensitivity to ones clients in genetic counseling, self-awareness by the genetic counselor is critical to effective patient care. Generally, genetic counselors are scientifically minded, optimistic, and high in emotional intelligence. These traits are assets to developing the skills to engage empathically with clients. Genetic counselors also hold personal beliefs about the inherent ability of clients to make good decisions for themselves and benefit from learning personalized genetic information. They value genomic science and are exuberant in sharing it, at times at the cost of effectively teaching clients. Theoretical and practical educational approaches can build strategically on counselors’ assets. Genetic counselors also value the lives of disabled adults and children, support reproductive freedoms, believe those at genetic risk should not be discriminated against, and that access to health care is a universal right. These values and beliefs propel counselors to do challenging work. Self-care is central to maintaining ones ability to care for clients. Risk of compassion fatigue can be offset with strategies to manage it, including use of professional or peer supervision.

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