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Process studies in genetic counseling Peering into the black box

Genetic counseling is a dynamic psychoeducational process. Yet we know very little about its interior. Process research explores what transpires between providers and their clients and can serve to provide insight into unknown practice dimensions. The few process studies that have been conducted in genetic counseling provide a glimpse into the Black Box, but more of this type of research is needed to examine the contents. To achieve success with process studies a contemporary definition of genetic counseling is proposed. Thoughtfully designed process studies in genetic counseling will provide the data to refine the definition and identify the components of counseling, the communication process between provider and client, the therapeutic interventions used by counselors, and the needs, attitudes and expectations of clients. Overall, process studies will contribute to a more accurate understanding of the practice of genetic counseling.


Biesecker, B. B., & Peters, K. F. (2001). Process studies in genetic counseling: Peering into the black box. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 106(3), 191-8. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajmg.10004

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