Megan Scott, Jennifer Watermeyer, Tina-Marie Wessels
Genetic counseling (GC) traditionally follows a non-directive counseling approach. Although a cornerstone of GC teaching and theory, there has been debate on whether GC is, can be, or should be a patient-led service due to challenges in practice, as well as the advancement and complexity of genetic testing. Personal risk perceptions and patient expectations within particular contexts may further affect how genetic counselors discuss risk information, even while attempting to remain neutral. Less is known about the process of GC communication in non-Western settings. This paper presents empirical evidence from a South African prenatal GC consultation where tensions become apparent due to differing risk perceptions and expectations between a genetic counselor and a patient, which ultimately impacts non-directive communication practice.
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