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Part 4: More than Prefield - We Therapists Must Use Genetic Information

heritage

A major outcome of our therapy is to help missionaries build life and coping skills for which genetics may have a major informing role. So, I am seeing a lot of impact here.

Thanks for this review. I agree that at first glance, GINA has nothing to do with my practice as a psychologist, in its own independent world. However, very few of us, especially those of us who consult with other organizations, like missions, work completely alone.  

Typically, I, or my staff, work with referring agencies in helping them educate, prepare, or restore their staff for cross-cultural service. A major outcome of our therapy is to help the missionary learn skills to take back into ministry for stress management, anxiety reduction, family communication, anger management, etc. Each of these could have a genetically informed role. So, I am seeing a lot of impact here.

Thinking of assessment, our goal is to understand and forecast arenas where a candidate may have “issues” in the future. Past history of something is always a useful predictor of future behavior. Once again, this could have genetic interplays.

Basically, I am thinking that GINA could take all the guts out of a very valuable service. In the interest of protecting certain information, a mission is prevented from helping and protecting a missionary from harm. This is really, really, bad news.

Now, I think that I probably overstated this a bit, but I have done so to see if there could be a work around on this. It is my belief that we have not done the heavy lifting to determine what exactly we need in terms of missionary behavioral characteristics. Therefore, we don’t know the correct, and legal, questions to ask and information to use. How stressful is a particular assignment, when compared to others? Do we really discriminate between assignments on health and behavioral characteristics of the candidate? Do we even have norms, which define or explain these differences? Not now, we don’t. One good outcome of this might be to force us to start doing what I am suggesting above.

More Blogs in the "GINA" Series: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8

Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion

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