Genograms are like family trees in many ways. They use symbols and lines to represent relationships between parents and children across generations. Typically, however, a family tree only represents basic biological information, such as siblings, parent–child relationships, marriages, etc. A genogram provides more sophisticated levels of information that may be of use to medical or mental health professionals working with an individual or family. Genograms use a broader array of symbols than family trees to represent family relationships (e.g., cohabitation, divorce, love affair), emotional relationships (e.g., estranged, abusive, romantic, manipulative), diseases or health risks (e.g., substance abuse, cancer, diabetes), and even social relationships outside of traditional family spheres (e.g., neighbor, mentor, spiritual leader, coworker).
Genograms are useful to human and social services professionals because they provide a visual representation of relationships, emotional bonds, and patterns that exist in an individual’s or family’s past or present. They can be useful not only to help the professional identify the patterns but also as a great tool to help explain patterns to clients.
For this Assignment, you gain experience completing a genogram by constructing one of you and a nonfamily member.
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