The role of non-directiveness in genetic counseling

Med Health Care Philos. 2002;5(1):53-63. doi: 10.1023/a:1014289418443.


When the complete human genome has been sequenced, everyone of us will become a potential candidate for genetic counseling and testing. Within a short period of time everyone will obtain his personal genetic passport identifying deleterious and susceptibility genes. With the availability of presymptomatic tests for late-onset disorders and the possibilities of prevention and treatment, the conflict between directiveness and nondirectiveness will dominate the counseling setting. Despite general consent on providing genetic information in a nondirective fashion to preserve value neutrality and enhance client's autonomy, there is no accepted common definition of what non-directiveness really is or ought to be. The article tries to elaborate some aspects which might be fruitful and clarifying in the complex issues involved in the black box of genetic counseling.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Ethics
  • Genetic Counseling / methods*
  • Genetic Counseling / psychology
  • Human Genome Project
  • Humans
  • Paternalism
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Professional-Patient Relations