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What Genetic Counselors Don't Do

There are some misconceptions about genetic counselors and how they work with patients.

Genetic counselors can work with you – and your physician – to understand complex genetic information and help you make informed decisions.

Genetic counselors do not:

  • Require you to have genetic tests – Genetic counselors inform you about your options, answer questions and provide information and guidance about genetic testing you can consider. They do not force testing on you. In fact, in some cases, they help you understand that test results may not provide you with a clear answer.
  • Practice as licensed therapists – Although they counsel and guide patients regarding their options for genetic testing, they are not licensed therapists. Genetic counselors can help you get through a difficult time, but they are not psychologists.
  • Recommend you don’t have children – Genetic counselors provide information that you can use to make your own healthcare and lifestyle decisions, and will provide insights and guidance if needed or requested.