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Genograms Exploring your family genogram is the first step in the family systems approach to therapy.

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Presentation on theme: "Genograms Exploring your family genogram is the first step in the family systems approach to therapy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Genograms Exploring your family genogram is the first step in the family systems approach to therapy.

2 Genogram A genogram is a symbolic picture of your family tree. It shows important dates and characteristics of your siblings, parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and other relatives.

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5 Genogram Hints for Building Your Genogram y.asp

6 Genogram: Pass it On! We repeat what we experience. Another way families reduce tension and remain stable is to pass uncomfortable energy down the line. So, for example, if your dad was incested when he was three, he probably does not remember it. However, the unresolved feelings remain, stewing and festering. These feelings may later emerge such things as depression, rage, drug or alcohol abuse. Unless dad heals these issues, his children probably will acquiring them from him.

7 Genogram: Get the Facts Talk to aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents to get the information you need. As you make contact (face to face, by phone or letter) with the people in your family you rarely talk to, things will begin to change in your own life and in your relationship with your parents.

8 Geneograms: Patterns The first goal here is to look for patterns of behavior. Chances are you'll find a relative who suffered from the same problem(s) that are troubling you. These kinds of patterns can be comforting. Let’s imagine you just divorced an alcoholic spouse. Does every woman on dad’s side of the family marry an alcoholic?

9 Genograms: Cut-Offs The second thing to look for is cut-offs. Did your father never mention his childhood? Did your mother get in a fight with her brother and not speak to him for over 30 years? Situations like this are rich storehouses for unspoken family rules. As you make contact with cut-off parts of the family, energy earthquakes occur in the family system. The assigned roles in every family can exist only if the family structure remains in stasis.

10 Genogram: No more cutoff Calling your long-lost auntie disrupts the stasis or stability of the system. The rigid role structures loosen or dissolve. You free yourself to create something new for yourself in your own life and in your relationship to your family. Your personal role in a rigid family structure can become more fluid and dynamic as you get to know other members of the family tree. Perhaps in your immediate family you are seemingly stuck in the role of the “mess-up." In connecting to your greater family, you may find that you can become closer to your true self.

11 Genogram: Subsystems These relationships are complex. There are ongoing subsystems. Subsystems make up the whole system. Tensions in life are translated into family tension. If the family has difficulty dealing with stress or lacks extended family support, then the family may hold more tension. Tension changes family interaction patterns. There are four different relationship patterns that may be highlighted: Marital conflict Dysfunction in one spouse Impairment of one or more children Emotional distance


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