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HSMF 601

Family Genogram Project Assignment Instructions


The genogram resembles a family tree; however, it includes additional relationships among individuals. The structure of a genogram is by and large determined by the imagination and creativity of its author. Some of the most common features on a genogram are information related to the number of families, children in a given family, and the birth order of the family members—including the number of births and deaths. This instrument facilitates the practitioner and his client’s identification of an understanding of patterns in family history. The genogram also does a better job than a pedigree chart in mapping out relationships and traits. For this assignment you will create a genogram of at least 2 generations of a fictional family system to identify patterns, relationship characteristics, family strengths, etc.


After completing the Learn items for the Module: Week, read a well-known novel, biography, or watch a film (e.g., The Prince of Tides or The Great Santini by Pat Conroy, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos, or Dreaming of Cuba by Christina Garcia, Jazz or The Bluest Eye, Beloved, or Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Atonement by Ian McEwan, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen), and prepare a genogram of the protagonist’s family.

Upload the completed genogram that emphasizes the relationship patterns (e.g., triangles and cutoffs) across generations. Discuss how the family of origin and the protagonist’s degree of successful differentiation (or resolution of reactivity to the family) shaped the protagonist’s life and other people in contact with him or her.

Part I (GenoPro Genogram Software)

Please see the Family Genogram Project Assignment page under the Family Genogram Project Resources for a link to download the GenoPro software program. You do not need to purchase the software. If you have an Apple brand computer please read the supplemental material for those with a MacBook.

Index Person: In constructing the genogram, identify the “index person” and complete the genogram on the family you chose.

Focus: The focus of this genogram will be on family strengths and resilience, family patterns, rules or ways of being, and the overall health of the family. Of course, you should also address any issues and concerns that may be discovered; however, do not make the genogram problem-focused, even though this is typically how it is used in counseling.

Construction: Two preceding generations—that is, the genogram must include the index person, his/her parents, and his/her grandparents (three generations, in all). It would also be imperative that, in the event of the index person being involved in a marital or significant relationship, mention must be made of the significant other involved, including their immediate family such as their parents, siblings, and children. In the case where the index person is either a parent or a grand-parent, his/her children must be included in the genogram.

· Use the symbols as illustrated within the GenoPro software to indicate the nature of many of the relationships among family members. Be sure to indicate the index person by drawing a double circle or double square around the person. Do not forget to include the current date on your genogram.

· Use the relationship lines to indicate significant relationships within the family system. Do not use the “normal” line provided by GenoPro. This only crowds the graphic and makes it difficult to read.

· Include a legend at the bottom right corner of the genogram document. The legend must only include items represented on the genogram.

· In order to make it easy to understand, ensure that there are notes on the genogram graphic regarding people, family events, etc., in their appropriate places (for example, on the side of a relevant person or generation). It would also be a good idea to include labels (a word or two will do) about each family member’s strengths—especially those that are either known by the index person or have a relevant connection to them.

· GenoPro gives you the freedom you need to manipulate your genogram to allow enhanced viewing on a computer system. You can shorten or lengthen lines, move entire family units around to maximize space, and more. Your objective is to work with the graph to create a genogram that is easy to view and can be understood at a glance.

Analysis: Once you have completed the genogram, you will need to interpret the family map. Analyze the genogram and who the index person is in the context of the family based on race/ethnicity, culture, class, gender, spiritual tradition, family life cycle, etc.

Part II (Microsoft Word document)

Written Narrative: After analyzing the genogram graphic following the guidelines above, state your interpretation of the index person in clear terms. Do this by writing a paper that describes the contributions that religion, gender, race, culture, etc., and the index person’s unique family history have made to their personal identity. Do not forget to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts learned in this course. Apart from the quality of your written work, you will also be graded on your ability to widely, deeply, and accurately analyze and utilize theoretical concepts in describing the family’s interactional process.

This paper should be between 4-6 pages of content. You will not need an abstract; however, you will need a cover page. A reference page must be provided if you use citations and you should use citations.

The following outline must be used for your paper, using current APA format:

I. Briefly introduce the family. Discuss the sociopolitical, cultural, economic, spiritual, etc. issues in your family. Do not spend a lot of time describing demographic details that can be observed on the genogram. (no more than one page)

II. Using the data gathered and the analyses you have made based upon the genogram and other resources, address the following questions (3-5 pages):

A. What do you understand about the index person within the context of this multigenerational family?

B. How do the cultural, historical, and personal characteristic aspects of the information impact your understanding of the index person?

C. If at all, what are the family lifecycle-related issues in the past or present that have influenced the family and/or interface with question D?

D. What intergenerational dynamics, patterns and/or themes that you have identified influence the current family? Please open the “Introduction to the Genogram” link in the Family Genogram Project Assignment description, scroll to “Interpreting Genograms,” and then draw a conclusion about your analysis.

E. What areas does the person need to work on in order to become a better spouse, parent, counselor

F. What family roles do you see demonstrated? (please see the family roles article for more details)

G. Make sure to include a conclusion that synthesizes the picture of the family and articulates three areas of growth for this family.

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.

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