The Family Genogram
March 31, 2013
THE FAMILY GENOGRAM
A genogram can be a valuable tool, for a counselor who is trying to figure out family issues and how family members relate to one another. It can help the counselor narrow down or pinpoint exactly where certain dysfunctional characteristics began in a family. “The genogram is a tool used to collect and organize important data over at least three generations (Bitter, Long, & Young, 2010). This is a great way to let the counselor see how each member copes with the dysfunction. Genograms are used to screen and observe family problems as they arise within the multi-generational family system (Butler, 2008). This assignment proved quite challenging for me. I do not have a family-of- origin, due to being in the foster care system. I did not have dependable adults in my life, so most of what I learned was through the mistakes of others. Each time I started to build a connection, it would eventually stop. This is because of my stay in the foster care system. About every two years, I moved to a new foster home because the foster parents wanted smaller children. So my connection with that set ended, and I would have to begin a new one. It was also limiting in telling ways I could use the genogram. I might encounter clients who also would not be able to complete their genogram due to displacement, adoption, or family death. I did realize that I still have some things to work on within myself. I still have some coping mechanisms that I need to move away from in order to become a well-adjusted individual (Butler, 2008). Certain issues that do arise in my life cause an instinctive response. I have to remember not to revert to my old “triangular patterns” (Bitter, Long, and Young, 2010). I do no want to take those feelings into any counseling sessions I have with others. Bitter, Long and Young (2010) stated, “A genogram is a family map that outlines both...
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