Not surprising, the completion of this Genogram exercise has been both an enlightening and distressing experience for me. Confronting my mother's recent death in print is immensely painful particularly because she was so young and vibrant just prior to her passing. It reminds me how tortuous the bereavement process can be when we loose family members who are the cornerstones of our daily history. It is a loss that will undoubtedly influence and impact upon my abilities as a counselor. As I am now aware, our culture is very deficient in handling end of life issues and assisting others confronting the "dynamics of death". Hopefully, I will learn the necessary tools to guide others through this common experience with dignity and sensitivity.
On this same note, the chart also buoys my spirits by reminding me of the tremendous value of intergenerational bonds. I have learned many coping strategies for dealing with life's tragedies from my maternal grandmother who survives her own child's death. Though we are from completely different generations and raised in different countries, we have an adult friendship of immeasurable value. Her wisdom, experience and faith continually teach me the importance of seeking out and drawing upon positive influences in our lives during the times of crisis.
I note with some regret two issues of concern. First, I have several family members who suffer from mental illness. I am reminded of how debilitating this can be and how inspiring it is to seek out help regardless of the perceived stigma. I also note with some regret that I characterize my relationship with my father as distant by my own choice. With some trepidation, I explored this relationship with other family members. To my absolute surprise, I soon realized that there is simply not enough space on any genogram chart to denote the number and degrees of conflictual relationships my father shares with his relatives. Though this is far from comforting, it...
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