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TitleDevelopment, Experience and Expression of Meaning in Genetic Counselors' Lives
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Expectations for Open-Ended Responses

Study Title: Development, Experience and Expression of Meaning in Genetic

Counselors’ Lives: An Exploratory Analysis

Generally speaking, I believe that the interviewees are going to present as

thoughtful in their responses to questions based on their motivation to self-select into the

interview in the first place. I also believe that they will be notably intelligent and

articulate in their responses based on their shared graduate-level education.

I also believe there will be some notable themes in participants’ responses to the

interview questions themselves due to the dual nature of the genetic counseling

profession itself; namely the scientific and patient-centered aspects of the field. Related

to the scientific domain of genetic counseling, I suspect that many participants will speak

to their interest and/or passion for hard sciences. This may take the form of a general

desire for knowledge and an appreciation for one’s ability to understand and/or

communicate facts based in biology and genetics. Related to the patient-centered domain

of the counseling work, I suspect that many participants will speak to the importance of

relationships and helping others on their overall sense of meaning. While my guess is that

most people (even outside of the genetic counseling field) would note relationships and

helping others as meaningful, it is my belief that the participants having chosen to work

within this helping profession specifically will make this obvious within their responses.

Similarly, I believe that their status as genetic counselors will make participants likely to

speak to the importance of empathy and patient stories as being integral to their sense of


I also have a few expectations for participant responses based in my own

professional experiences as a counselor, albeit within a more traditional mental health

(i.e., non-genetic counseling) domain. For example, I feel my own personal sense of

meaning challenged when I work with clients with values very different than my own and

when I feel limited in my ability to provide concrete help to my clients. Consequently, I

believe that these same types of scenarios will be prevalent in genetic counseling

participants’ patient anecdotes. Also, as I feel that I have become more open-minded and

developed an increased tolerance for ambiguity in my own counseling work as compared

to when I first entered the profession, I suspect more seasoned genetic counseling

participants will talk about how they have an increased ability to go with the flow with

stressful patient situations and to see the bigger picture (i.e., beyond any one fundamental

truth) when working with diverse patients.

Researcher: David Wells

Date: 10/17/2013

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