How do I create a genogram template?
Make a family genogram (family picture) that includes three generations of your family with you at the base of the genogram. Include everyone who is part of your family, whether by blood or relationship; include such things as dates of birth, death, marriage/domestic partnering, separation, and divorce. Then begin to include other pertinent information such as: occupations, levels of education, substance use/abuse histories, histories of trauma, religious affiliations, mental illnesses, locations, and relocations. Other relevant dynamics may also be included, as they are deemed useful to you or your therapist. Some people find it useful to speak with family members in order to learn more about their family history.
Follow these steps when compiling your personal Genogram for your family:
- Introduce the Genogram/Family Tree to the people that are involved (family);
- Use standard shapes, such as squares for Males, Circles for Females, triangles for unborn children, miscarriages & abortions (if applicable). Connect with lines for relationships.
- You can begin at the bottom with the client family or the top with the Great Grandparents or oldest know relatives.
- Ask for as much information as the client can provide: birthdays, dates of marriages, divorces, or death.
- For living relatives ask if there was ever a reason I would need to contact him/her how could I reach them (address, phone #)
- Inquire about themes and family patterns: serial relationships, drug/alcohol dependency, violence, etc.
- Also look for strengths: lasting marriages, education, and cultural ties.
- Put age inside the symbol and date of birth to the side or off to the side.
- Use exact dates of marriage, divorce, and separation if available.
- Put children in order of birth—oldest to the left.
- You can download these examples to assist you.
For thoughts on the use of Genograms please download this PPT template now.
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