Some may have heard the term family genogram in the context of a traditional family tree. However, creating a genogram is about showing family relationships and family members. By showing these family members, one starts to develop a family history.
While it may seem like a fun hobby for some, it helps with family therapy and processing emotional relationships. Many also see creating a genogram to preserve family history as a sign of respect.
Family Genogram – When this all started?
Dr. Murray Bowen used the concept of tracking family relationships and including them as a source of family therapy. He developed the importance of the family diagram and the eight ideas around it. The eight concepts introduce family systems as a concept, and family systems are complex emotional relationships.
These dynamic relationships are also solid and can lead to issues down the line. That’s because of the bond between family members, and these issues can be debilitating later in life. As a result, family therapy may become necessary or social work needs to be introduced. These are done as a way to recuperate from the family systems and negative abuse from them. It all starts with genogram maps and creating a genogram.
Once created, you can see the family history and see if there’s a pattern of negativity. For example, are there many breakups and divorces? Are there untimely deaths or separations due to war? Whatever the reasons are, you can work to track these with genogram symbols as you build your genogram maps.
The relevance of Genogram Symbols
When creating a genogram, diagram software will come with genogram symbols to help categorize better. You want to make sure your genogram includes the right symbols from the start. Basic genogram symbols help to depict items such as gender and birth. As you evolve the genogram maps, you can also show relationship status.
This can include information such as marriage, separation, or divorce. When looking at the overall family history, a pattern can start to form. It can show how past family relationships affect family members and how they act going forward.
The complexity of genogram symbols can help convey the actual family relationships. It’s not just about building a family tree or organigram. It’s about showing if there was abuse, manipulation, neglect, or conflict. It’s also meant to show the positive aspects such as friendships, love, Harmony, and other indicators. This methodical approach helps to build complete family systems, and then the social work can begin.
Getting to the root of family therapy
After creating a genogram that’s complete, a genogram assessment and intervention can begin soon after. Many topics can be covered, from current substance abuse to a lack of ability to form relationships. It can also help to start showcasing hereditary psychological patterns. By looking at the family history, you can make some assumptions. Social work programs look to see this as a way to provide the right type of treatment.
Often we find ourselves struggling, but using genogram maps, can help paint the picture of why. For example, it could show a substance problem with a grandparent that was continued into the parent. It may also show fractured family histories that lead to difficulties with emotional relationships.
The level of detail you can take with a genogram is immense, and you’re able to also update it frequently. So you want to see if patterns and assumptions you make continue with the family organigram and help with accuracy. These patterns can show where the root cause of the issue comes from, or how to avoid negative outcomes.
A family genogram can help with your health
Creating a genogram isn’t just about finding out if you’re going to suffer psychologically. A list of genogram symbols includes genetic and hereditary symbols to track throughout the family. Following the family history of who’s had cancer, heart disease, or even diabetes helps to see what you may be prone to as well. These hereditary patterns can help with a medical professional diagnosis and self-treatment for a healthier lifestyle.
So family relationships are also important when trying to chart medical histories. You want to know what you may be prone to physically. Any good genogram includes this type of information on top of the social and psychological components. This is what primarily jumpstarts family trees to be built in the first place.
Not only do we want to connect with those from our past. We want to also know more about who we are on the inside. The psychological component is important, but knowing these medical histories also has its perks. It gives the chance to take preventative action when possible and know when something is wrong, and what it could be.
Use the right tools
Creating a genogram shouldn’t be difficult, as all it takes is understanding genogram symbols and the right diagramming tool. Diagram software should have the right genogram symbols and options to connect family history. You can find a sample genogram on Mindomo as we work to provide sophisticated diagram software. We aim to provide a one-stop shop for all your diagramming needs. Our genogram maker will help you map out your family history. You can create it from scratch or use one of the family tree templates available.
Family genogram templates
Mindomo offers two easy to use family tree templates you can use and share with your family.
Family Tree Template
The family tree template has a simple structure you can use to fill it out and customize it as you wish.
Genealogy Chart Template
The second template offers a different layout to add your family and ancestors.
By building out your genogram maps online with Mindomo, you can also easily share them with family members. This can help your family members to go to their own family therapy or work on their own emotional relationships. They can also have a good set of medical histories, as the genogram includes this type of information. You can even share and have others help to include information that you may not have readily available.
We offer alternatives for those who feel a genogram mapping may be too difficult a task to start out with. For instance, you can simply start with a hierarchical tool to gather family member information first. This starting point can then be adapted with new information as it comes by. Eventually, you will have built your genogram map in this iterative way.
Keep it smart, simple, and creative!
The Mindomo Team