chapter  8
Vulnerability in Genetic Counseling and the Ground of Nondirectiveness
ByMICHAEL J. DEEM
Pages 19

One of the central themes of current debates concerning genetic counseling practice is the meaning and role of the norm of nondirectiveness. Genetic counseling has traditionally emphasized the importance of adhering to the norm of nondirectiveness in the provision of information about genetic diagnosis and risk to clients and in helping clients to cope with and make informed decisions in light of this information.1 Nondirectiveness has been broadly understood to require that genetic counselors educate and guide their clients in a manner that is free from bias or coercion, enabling clients to make decisions consistent with their own beliefs, preferences, and values (Baumiller et al. 1996; Fraser 1974; National Society of Genetic Counselors 2006). More precisely, it has been understood as a prohibitive norm requiring genetic counselors to refrain from guiding clients toward particular decisions that the latter do not regard as their own.