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Tele-genetic Counseling (G6PD Deficiency) 


This project explores tele-genetic counseling in the context of genetic counseling in Hong Kong. Tele-genetic counseling is genetic counseling mediated by distant technologies, such as telephone or the internet (Abrams and Geier 2006). The project builds on previous work involving face-to-face genetic counseling, and is motivated by the need to explore new modes of counseling due to a growing demand for genetic counseling services coupled with the limitations of the available workforce, particularly in highly populated areas such as Hong Kong. 


  • To use established discourse analytic methodologies to examine tele-genetic counseling in Hong Kong. 

  • To explore the complexities and challenges of tele-genetic counseling and how they are mediated by participants of these encounters, particularly how a distant mode of communication impacts client decision-making, and how counselors manage information delivery and maintain a non-directive stance. 

  • To summarize the results of the study in a workshop for the genetic counseling community in Hong Kong. 

  • To maintain a database of tele-genetic counseling for the purposes of research and training genetic counseling professionals. 


  • The project took a communication-oriented perspective to investigate genetic counselling provided by distance (via telephone). In genetic counselling professionals meet with clients at risk of or diagnosed with a genetic disorder and discuss that disorder, clients’ risks and available testing. 

  • While face-to-face counselling has been widely researched, the distant mode has not received much attention. In addition, until recently there has been little research on counselling in non-English dominant contexts such as Hong Kong. The project has shown that while in counselling by telephone the participants do not have access to non-verbal means of communication (e.g. gestures), they employ a range of linguistic/ communication strategies that help them meet the aims of these consultations. 

  • The project has identified some major themes of tele-counselling, such as communicating risk and uncertainty; responsibility (professional and parental); explanation- and advicegiving; decision-making. It has investigated the issues of professional roles and responsibilities; and the specifics of counselling in the designated non-English dominant context. 

  • The projects findings have been disseminated at local and international events (for language scholars and professionals) and published in prestigious international journals and edited collections. The findings have also been incorporated into teaching and training activities for medical students and professionals.   

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