Definition of Genetic Counselling

Genetic counselling is a communication process, which aims to help individuals, couples and families understand and adapt to the medical, psychological, familial and reproductive implications of the genetic contribution to specific health conditions.

This process integrates the following:

Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence.
Education about the natural history of the condition, inheritance pattern, testing, management, prevention, support resources and research.
Counselling to promote informed choices in view of risk assessment, family goals, ethical and religious values.
Support to encourage the best possible adjustment to the disorder in an affected family member and/or to the risk of recurrence of that disorder

Source: Resta et al, (2006) A new definition of genetic counelling: NSGC task force report, J Gen Couns.