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Non-Paternity Event (NPE)

The DNA Test Results reveal what you did not expect.

Many of us have thought completing a DNA test may be “fun,” “exciting” and “interesting” to trace geneology or learn more about our ethnic heritage. Perhaps you received a DNA testing kit as a gift.

But what happens if you receive DNA test results that you did not expect, not merely about your ancestors several generations before, but about your own parents?

With more access now than ever before to technnologically and scientifically identifying data, it is becoming less uncommon for a person to learn that they had a different biological father or mother than the one they grew up with or thought they knew. This discovery can bring revelations of additional siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles, or even unknown health concerns.

The world of genetics refers to this as an NPE – a ‘Non-Paternity Event,’ or ‘Not Parent Expected’. If this experience has happened to you, please know that you are not alone and help is available! Our experienced therapists can support you on your journey to processing this event. Understanding the emotional journey involved in this process and learning to cope effectively is vital to your emotional well-being and overall mental health.  

A non-paternity event can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons include affairs, trysts (one-night stands), sexual assaults, medically assisted conceptions with donors, and/or adoptions.

If you’ve experienced an NPE, perhaps your first thought was disbelief. But once the information is verified, it is normal to have mixed emotions, as the foundation of identity and self-perception can be completely altered, without warning. This realization can trigger an emotional roller coaster of shock, denial, anger, confusion, sadness, grief, loneliness and perhaps eventually acceptance.


Family relationships may be significantly strained due to an NPE discovery, particularly if secrets were intentionally kept. This is absolutely understandable and a natural outcome.

Many families benefit from family therapy to help navigate these difficult or awkward conversations.

If an NPE discovery happens in mid-life, the parental parties may be deceased leaving you unable to get answers to important questions, especially those related to health and medical histories. In these situations, it is so important to process your feelings of loss.

You do not have to work through this process alone!

We have a number of Therapists with specialized training in helping you work through this information and navigate the emotional journey of shock, grief, and identity confusion. A trained professional can also help you address relational challenges that may have surfaced after the DNA results, including strategies for communicating with new biological family members and/or navigating difficult discussions with parents or children, etc.

Click the button below or call us today at 856-985-9091. We’d love to work with you.