Non-directiveness refers to the nature of the genetic counseling process. According to the principle of non-directiveness, the genetic counselor has the responsibility to provide the client with accurate information about a test or outcome but should remain neutral and not try to influence the decisions made by the client.
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Non-directiveness is an approach we use in providing genetic information in counseling in as balanced a fashion as possible without exerting pressure or coercion as to what the clients' decision should be or what their actions should be following our session. Non-directiveness is really most often thought about within the context of decision making when it comes to childbearing issues, but extends into almost any aspect of genetic counseling when helping a family, helping an individual, make decisions that are based upon their values, their beliefs, and the issues that they feel most important.
Donald W. Hadley, M.S., C.G.C.
Associate Investigator, Social and Behavioral Research Branch, Public Health Genomics Section; Associate Director, Office of Clinical Liaison, Office of the Clinical Director
Mr. Hadley is a genetic counselor and a clinical researcher. As a genetic counselor, he provides education and counseling for people participating in NIH clinical protocols who have or at risk for inherited diseases. As a researcher, he evaluates methods for educating and counseling families with genetic conditions. His research is performed within the Public Health Genomics Section. Mr. Hadley strives to understand the psychological and behavioral outcomes of the counseling and testing process. His clinical role gives him insight into concerns of families considering genetic testing and the issues they deal with following their decisions.