Genetic Counselling and the Community

Subject GENE90005 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Classroom and community agency.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 18 hours tutorials. 2 days per week x 8 weeks community placement.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: N/A
Non Allowed Subjects: N/A
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the 3 Disability Liaison Unit website : 4


Ms Margaret Sahhar


Ms Margaret Sahhar,
Subject Overview:

This subject will facilitate understanding of the wider community issues and how these influence genetic counselling. Discussion will focus on multi-cultural issues and conflict between these and the Australian context of genetic counselling. Ethical issues inherent in genetic counselling and predictive testing will be explored. Issues of disability within families and the community will be explored. Students will complete an 8 week supervised placement within the community, over 2 days per week.


This subject is designed to enable students to:

  • Understand the issues and problems in accessing genetic programs in the community eg screening, predictive testing.
  • Articulate and critically evaluate the impact of culture in accessing community programs and genetic counselling interviews.
  • Reflect on the ethical issues in genetics and in genetic counselling in particular.
  • Articulate the process of community referrals for families and individuals.
  • Understand the rationale and principles of models of counselling within selected predictive testing programs
  • Observe and participate in selected interviews within a community setting.
Assessment: Assessment on 5 point scale at end of placement – 50%
Reflective essay on placement – 2000 words 50%
Prescribed Texts: A book of selected readings will be available. Texts also available in Library at GHSV.
Recommended Texts:

Doka, K.J. (1989). Disenfranchised Grief: Recognizing Hidden Sorrow, New York: Lexington Book.

Herbert, M. (1996). Supporting Bereaved and Dying Children and their Parents, Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research Ltd.

Kubler-Ross, E. (1983). On Children and Death: How Children and Their Parents Can and Do Cope With Death, New York: Touchstone.

Wright, B. (1992). Skills for Caring: Loss and Grief, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Observe and practise the principles of how to work in a respectful and ethical way with people who come for counselling.
  • Identify and analyse theories of counselling that can be integrated into clinical interviews and genetic counselling practice.
  • Make appropriate community referrals.
  • Communicate effectively and understand the principles of establishing a relationship.
  • Locate, critically evaluate and use relevant literature and professional information to inform the practice of genetic counselling.
  • Understand issues of disability within the family, the community and the impact for the genetic counsellor.

Community Placement

• This placement is designed to enable students to:
• Understand the role of community agencies in the practice of genetic counselling.
• Understand and reflect on the diverse experience of families with a community agency and the complex, individual factors that influence this experience.
• Articulate the process of community referrals for families and individuals.
• Understand the complex factors that impact on family functioning, within the community.
• Reflect on individual difference in families and the responses within families to various situations.
• Reflect on and articulate the role of the genetic counsellor.
• Observe and participate in selected interviews in a community setting.

Generic Skills:
• On completion of the placement, it is expected that students will be able to:
• Understand the role of various community agencies, and referral patterns.
• Identify the complexity of individual and family responses to disability, chronic illness and grief.
• Begin to understand the family with the society, and the impact of various factors on family and individual functioning.
• Consider the need for assessment of individual experience and the impact of this on a genetic counselling interview.
• Observe the professional practice and roles of various professionals in a community setting.
• Understand the role of the genetic counsellor in relation to other professionals in the community.
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Genetic Counselling
Master of Genetic Counselling

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