Search NSGC
Search NSGC
Find a Genetic Counselor

What Happens During an Appointment

  • What will happen during an appointment depends on what type of genetic counselor you are seeing and the reason for the appointment.
  • You can expect that during your appointment, a genetic counselor will review your reason for referral, and determine what questions or concerns you might have.
  • A genetic counselor will also ask detailed questions about your personal and family medical history.
  • A genetic counselor will also review what tests are available, what those tests may show, and provide guidance to help you decide whether testing is something you would like to pursue.

Most people will meet with a genetic counselor face-to-face for one or two visits, possibly more often depending on your needs and situation.

You can meet with the genetic counselor alone, with your spouse or partner, a family member or a friend. Not only are you welcome to bring someone with you, it is encouraged. It’s always helpful to have someone else who can listen, take notes and ask questions you might not think of.

The length and content of a genetic counseling appointment varies between different clinics and specialties, and depends on the reason for the appointment.

During your meeting, your genetic counselor will most likely:

  • Take a full comprehensive family history, asking targeted questions about you and your family member’s medical history.
  • Discuss the reason for the visit and why you were referred.
  • Help you determine if testing is right for you or your family based on your needs and values.
  • Guide you through the decision making process.
  • Work with laboratories to ensure the correct testing is being performed.
  • Discuss prevention, disease management and possible next steps if test results are positive.
  • Provide emotional support during what can be a challenging and confusing time.
  • Offer resources and advocacy for more information if desired.