Genogram 101

Learn how to make an easy, yet highly effective genogram with your genogram therapy clients! This simple genogram will really get your therapy sessions going. Try this unique genogram today! See copies of the genogram below and feel free to print these out and use them with your clients.

Creative Genograms to Use in Therapy: 

A genogram is basically a family tree and represents the relationships between families and family systems. The actual genogram was developed by Monica McGlodrick and Randy Gerson in 1985.

This creative genogram is more extensive than the family tree, as it looks deeper into the psychological relationships within a family system past and present. When I use this genogram on a client I am shown the client's unique perspective on their family system.

I also see the history and family traits that have played a part in shaping the belief system of my client when I use this genogram.

Genograms are now extensively used in the medical and mental health fields. One can trace genetics, disease, addictions, and mental illness by using a genogram.

Family patterns can also be traced when using a genogram. A therapist can help a client identify family abuse, emotions, social behavior, attitudes, and beliefs with a genogram.

The genogram used in therapy and the medical field can be quite extensive. If you have never used a genogram before it can be a bit overwhelming.

With the Creative Counseling Genogram method one can explore and use the genogram with clients in a more creative and effective manner. I usually use a genogram activity with clients after the first two, or three, sessions.

This genogram activity works well when used in conjunction with the family portrait (See Family Portrait in Art Counseling on this site.).

I utilize miniatures in my genogram. I start out with the family of origin in the basic genogram. The client picks miniatures to represent family members to add to the genogram.

These miniatures in the genogram can be animals, or symbols. One of my clients used a spider to represent her father in her genogram. This told me a lot about her relationship with her father. This is a quick and easy genogram to use.

I then use more extensive genograms such as the Solar System Genogram, Legacy Genogram, and Future Family Genogram in future sessions.

Genograms can also be used in sand tray therapy with miniatures. Clip art is another great way to do a genogram. Ask your client to seek images on the internet and cut them out to paste on the genogram. A quick and easy way to do a genogram is to have the client draw images on the pre-printed copies of the genogram. See genogram pictures below. 

One does not have to follow the "rules" when they use a genogram in Creative Counseling. The client leads the way with how they want the genogram to be presented.

he basic idea of the genogram is to understand and identify with the client's perspective of their unique family system. Then the therapist can question and possibly confront the view of the client with the family system once they fully understand the client's perspective in the genogram.

The therapist needs to let go of "control" when working with the client, especially when using the genogram.

One of my students used the "Legacy" genogram and was able to identify a family helping trait. His great great great grandfather lost his life because he was trying to stand up to a bully. This student was able to see this pattern of behavior in his grandfather, father, and himself all by using the simple genogram.

I recommend using the genogram several times throughout therapy to see if any family dynamics have changed with the onset of therapy. Keep the genogram copies in a file. Make a copy for yourself and give the original copy of the genogram to your client. 


See More Creative Genogram Ideas:

The below links can show you different ways of doing the genogram in a creative way.


Creative Play Therapy Genogram to Solar System Family Genogram 

Creative Play Therapy Genogram to Family Legacy Genogram 

Creative Genogram to Basic Family Genogram 

Creative Genogram to Creative Counseling 101.com Home 


Genogram Print Outs:

Basic Female Genogram: Start with this and add male and female symbols as needed. Females are circles, males are squares.

Male Genogram: Again, add symbols as needed. Males are squares, females circles.

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