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    Genograms: Family Therapy Essay

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    1. Title of Assessment: Monica McGoldrick and Randy Gerson developed the genogram in 1985 in the book Genograms: Assessment and Intervention. A genogram is a pictorial diagram which can show anything from family relationships to medical history. Genograms allow individuals to identify patterns of behaviors and hereditary tendencies. 2. Primary Purpose: The primary purpose of genograms is to engage the family in visually summarizing and illustrating familial relationships and patterns of behavior within a family system in support of family assessment and intervention planning.

    They have been known to record family problems, medical issues, psychological issues and personal relationships going back at least three generations of the family. Important factors include age, sex, ethnicity, religion, race, sexual orientation, migration information and class to be able to make accurate diagnoses. 3. Target Population: When using a genogram as an assessment tool, the target population usually includes families that have experienced some unexpected stressor or a new experience.

    Experiences leave the family shaken up as a unit and alter the nature of family relationships. These families that aren’t able to reorganize or adjust their structure and relationships are eligible for a genogram assessment. Healthy families are usually able to reorganize their structure and relationships to accommodate new circumstances. Some of these families may be characterized by relationship difficulties, such as conflictual or being distant, which involves isolated separateness of family members from each other physically or psychologically (Gladding, 2002).

    Other relationship difficulties may be defined as cut off, where members avoid each other because of unresolved emotional attachment and Fusion or fused relationships, which is defined as the merging of intellectual and emotional functions so that an individual does not have a clear sense of self and others (Gladding, 2002). Family roles and boundaries may be weak, coping with stress may be a challenge, and families may perceive themselves as lacking control of their lives. 5. Description of “Scoring” Procedures:

    There is not necessarily a scoring procedure with genograms, although there are different symbols that may be used to represent different things. These symbols represent basic information such as sex, marriage, divorce, and separation. They also represent birth identification symbols such as pregnancy, adoption, twins, abortion, stillbirth, miscarriage, or unknown gender. Relationships are also represented by these symbols. They tell whether family members are close or conflictual, if there is a close bond, abuse or enmeshed relationships.

    Condition symbols show present ages, death, alcohol or drug addiction, mental or emotional conditions and identified patients (initial patient of whoever is making the genogram). 6. Score Interpretation-approach to scores and meaning to scores: Interpretation of the information obtained through a genogram is interpreted by both the therapist and the family by looking for multigenerational patterns (fusion, cutoffs, conflict, psychical abuse, drug abuse, incest, medical issues, etc. The therapist instructs individuals to search for ‘clues’ as to where the various pressures on the family have been expressed and how effectively the family has adapted to stress (Gladding, 2002). In observance of these things, therapist teaches the family to rise above unexpected stressors by modeling what a reasonable, neutral, self-controlled person is. Insight from the therapist and the family collaboratively leads to relevant and supportive intervention plan that is compatible with the families’ goals.

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    Genograms: Family Therapy Essay. (2018, Oct 21). Retrieved from

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