Perceptions of motivational interviewing in genetic counseling practice and training

J Genet Couns. 2022 Oct;31(5):1173-1182. doi: 10.1002/jgc4.1588. Epub 2022 May 3.


Motivational interviewing (MI) is a counseling approach that allows a provider to engage in a dialog with patients to evoke motivation for health behavior change or decision-making. MI is a relatively recent addition to the curricula of genetic counseling programs, and recent research has demonstrated its utility in genetic counseling practice. However, the perspectives of genetic counselors trained in MI have yet to be studied with the intent of illuminating how it is applied in practice or what should be emphasized in training. This qualitative study interviewed fifteen genetic counselors from various practice areas who have had training in MI. The interviews focused on how MI is being used in practice, and the strengths and weaknesses of their MI training. Five themes were identified through inductive qualitative analysis: (a) utility of MI in genetic counseling practice, (b) value of MI in genetic counseling training, (c) barriers to implementing MI in genetic counseling practice, (d) barriers to training genetic counselors in MI, and (e) timing of MI training. The perspectives discovered from this study can help inform genetic counseling educators who wish to include MI in their curriculum. In addition for those programs that already include MI, these results serve as a guide for the development of training role-plays and/or standardized patient encounter scenarios.

Keywords: counseling techniques; education; genetic counseling; motivational interviewing; psychosocial; training.

MeSH terms

  • Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Motivational Interviewing* / methods