“There’s a Whole Different Way of Working with Adolescents”: Interviews with Australian Genetic Counselors About their Experiences with Adolescent Clients
- 669 Downloads
Adolescence is a developmental period marked by unique physical, psychological and social changes. Guidelines about working with adolescents are available to health professionals in other fields, yet few resources are tailored specifically to genetic counselors. The current qualitative study explored the experiences of genetic counselors who work with adolescent clients to determine whether challenges exist and if further training and support are needed. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 genetic counselors from Australia. Interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis from which 7 key themes emerged: 1) Adolescents: A distinct client group? 2) Characteristics of adolescents; 3) Strategies for working with adolescents; 4) Confidentiality; 5) Parental involvement and presence in sessions; 6) Benefits of working with adolescents; and 7) The effectiveness of past training and education. The findings hold important implications for clinical practice and may inform future training programs and guidelines for genetic counselors internationally.
KeywordsAdolescent Youth Minors Genetic counseling Professional development Qualitative research Interview
Rony Duncan is partly supported through a Fellowship from the Invergowrie Foundation. This study was supported by the Victorian Government’s Operational Infrastructure Support Program. This study was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Genetic Counselling, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
- Austin, S. (2010). Developmentally based approaches for counseling children and adolescents. In B. S. Leroy, P. M. Veach, & D. M. Bartels (Eds.), Genetic counseling practice: Advanced concepts and skills (pp. 253–280). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Children’s Hospital Boston (2010). Children’s Hospital Boston Transition Toolkit. Retrieved April 3rd, 2013, from http://newenglandconsortium.org/for-families/transition-toolkit/.
- Chown, P., Kang, M., Sanci, L., Newnham, V., & Bennett, D. L. (2008). Adolescent health: Enhancing the skills of general practitioners in caring for young people from culturally diverse backgrounds. GP Resource Kit (2nd ed.). Sydney: NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health and Transcultural Mental Health Centre.Google Scholar
- Duncan, R. E., Gillam, L., Savulescu, J., Williamson, R., Rogers, J. G., & Delatycki, M. B. (2009). The challenge of developmentally appropriate care: predictive genetic testing in young people for familial adenomatous polyposis. Familial Cancer, 9, 17–35.Google Scholar
- Ford, C. A., Millstein, S. G., Halpern-Felsher, B. L., & Irwin, C. E. (1997). Influence of physician confidentiality assurances on adolescents’ willingness to disclose information and seek future health care: a randomised controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 1029–1034.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Joint Adolescent Health Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. (2008). Working with young people: A training resource in adolescent health. Sydney: Royal Australasian College of Physicians.Google Scholar
- Martin, A., Volkmar, F. R., & Lewis, M. (2007). Lewis’s child and adolescent psychiatry: A comprehensive textbook. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
- Society for Adolescent Medicine. (2004). Confidential health care for adolescents: position paper of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35, 160–167.Google Scholar
- Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. California: SAGE Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Sullivan, J., & Mcconkie-Rosell, A. (2010). Helping parents to talk to their children. In C. L. Gaff & C. L. Bylund (Eds.), Family communication about genetics: Theory and practice (pp. 227–242). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Veach, P. M., LeRoy, B., & Bartels, D. M. (2003). Facilitating the genetic counseling process: A practice manual. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Weil, J. (2000). Psychosocial genetic counseling. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar