Psychosocial issues are integral to all genetic counseling interactions. They include counselees' beliefs about the cause of birth defects and genetic disorders, the cognitive procession of medical information and risk figures, emotions such as anxiety and guilt, and the complex process of decision making. Drawing on direct clinical experience and the growing body of relevant literature, Psychosocial Genetic Counseling provides a comprehensive, integrated approach to understanding these issues and their applications to genetic counseling.
The book combines theoretical and practical approaches, including many clinical vignettes and examples of dialogue. It is written in an engaging style that conveys the emotional immediacy of genetic counseling. The emotional and social effects of genetic disorders are discussed with reference to the individual and to couple, family, and social interactions. Counseling techniques and the agenda of the genetic counseling session are then addressed in detail. Specialized aspects of prenatal diagnosis counseling, cancer risk counseling, and genetic counseling with children and adolescents are integrated with these general principles. Nondirective counseling and the psychology of risk interpretation and decision making are discussed from theoretical and historical perspectives, leading to recommendations for their application to clinical practice. The influences of ethnocultural history, beliefs and practices, for counselee and counselor, are then discussed as they enter into all aspects of genetic counseling.