Play Therapy Genogram - Cycle of Abuse

by Play Therapy Student
(Mercer University)

Play Therapy Genogram - Cycle of Abuse #1

Play Therapy Genogram - Cycle of Abuse #1

Using genograms in play therapy is a great way to gain insight into the family unit. The counselors gain insight into familial issues that maybe the cause of clients presenting problems or issues prohibiting progression. Most importantly, the client gains insight on self.

As an adult of childhood abuse, my play therapy genogram helped me to understand some of my personality traits as well as my siblings. I learned that my family was cursed by what I have termed generational cycle of abuse, meaning a form of abuse is passed on from generation to generation.

As a class project to make my play therapy family genogram, I decided to use the colors of psychology to denote the personality traits in my family. As I completed the assignment, I could see how certain traits seem to be passed on from one generation to the next; in other words, how childhood abuse effects adulthood.

Look at my play therapy genograms attached as I take you through my family cycle of abuse:
I began with my grandparents. My grandpa is red. Red in colors of psychology can symbolizes danger and aggression. Grandpa was physically abusive towards Grandma and all his 9 of their children. My grandmother is brown and blue. Brown symbolizes neutral and sadness; blue is symbolic of depression and sadness. At times, my grandmother was verbally abusive but for the most part she was always seemed so sad. . For time sake, I’m only focusing on my mother.

My mother is red, black, and orange. Black symbolizes mystery and fear; and orange is symbolic of overbearing behavior and as stated earlier red symbolizes danger and aggression. My mother is the youngest of the 9 children. My mother was physical abuse by her father. She told horror stories regarding the abuse that she endured by the hands of her father: physical assaults, derogatory remarks, etc. My mother has 6 children with various fathers. She was a single parent working to support the six of us. Although she was overprotective of her children, she abused them physically, verbally, and emotionally. My mother’s abuse impacted my siblings and me negatively. My siblings are either aggressive, depressed, or a mixture of the two; plus my siblings abuse their children.

I was determined to break the cycle with my child. I never attacked my child physically or verbally. Only after completing the play therapy genogram that I discovered that the generational cycle of abuse managed to exist in me. Even though I didn’t physically or verbally abuse my child, I was emotionally abusive by neglecting his emotionally needs or being emotionally detached.
Thanks to the play therapy genogram I gained insight into my own behavior and how I treated my child. Steps have been taken to strengthen our relationship.

I am an advocate for using play therapy genograms to identify family dysfunction.

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Disclaimer: This website and its content is intended for trained licensed mental health professionals and school certified mental health professionals to use for their clients / students at their own discretion.

*If you ignore the disclaimer above are using these techniques on yourself and you feel any discomfort or upset it is highly suggested that you seek out a licensed  mental health professional immediately.

"Beyond Art Therapy" is the concept from Dr. Stangline that combines all creative fields in therapy. It is not the traditional "art therapy" but goes beyond to include sand tray therapy, play therapy, mindfulness, meditation, color therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a vast majority of other therapies.

For any other type of mental health emergency call your local 911 / Police Number immediately.

Dr. Stangline does not offer advice / suggestions to anyone who is not a professional mental health provider, or a student who is studying this field and has questions about mental health programs of study.

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