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Family Dynamics Through a Three-Generation Genogram

Family Dynamics Through a Three-Generation Genogram

Family Dynamics Through a Three-Generation Genogram


A genogram is structurally like a family tree but serves a different purpose. Imagine a genogram as a family tree with much more detail about how the family members interact with one another. For example, a family tree might show us that “Emily and Kevin are married,” while a genogram could tell us that “Jon and Jenny are married, but they are emotionally distant from one another.” A genogram becomes most valuable when it includes information about several generations. Patterns that are usually hard to decipher seem to jump out once they’ve been mapped on paper.

For this assignment, construct a three-generation genogram of your family to assess your family system and family culture. Your genogram is expected to be correct & professionally completed. Identify the patterns and significant themes in your family of origin using your knowledge of the family models discussed in class. Discuss how these patterns could influence or influence you as an individual, parent, and partner. In what way do you think your cultural background influences your work with families? Examine how your culture and family patterns may be a barrier or strength in working with families. Your genogram and discussion should be 2-3 pages (double-spaced).


Develop a genogram illustration that addresses the following criteria:

1. Choose a family (for this assignment, this can be your own family)

2. Draw three generations of genealogy, legal family, pets, and others who have played an integral role in the family, if applicable.

3. Use only standardized genogram symbols.

4. Show structure of family members: siblings, aunts/uncles, grandparents, remarriages, blended families (step-members and half-siblings), divorces, pets, close family friends, and god families.

5. List dates of birth/death, dates of marriage, and divorce. Include race, ethnicity, culture, place of birth, residency, cause of death, mental health, and substance abuse issues.

6. Identify family characteristics, i.e., family structure, type of marriage/parental union, length of the relationship, type of family, and authority pattern (who has the power).

7. Identify emotional patterns, i.e., close, conflicted, cutoff, distant, unknown, passive-aggressive (or fused & conflicted).

8. Identify family or generational values and issues and patterns: Occupation, education, hobbies, military duty, work ethic, family business, religion, addiction/recovery, incarceration, homicide, suicide, reunions, parenting style, mental illness, emigration from the country of birth, marriage within or outside the culture, sexuality, cancer, longevity, foster care, adoption, and child abuse. Every generation manifests its values and issues differently.

9. Identify social patterns, i.e., neighborhoods, communities, places of worship, work and education, and social clubs.


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Introduction: A genogram is a powerful tool used in family therapy to visually map out family relationships, dynamics, and patterns across multiple generations. In this assignment, I will construct a three-generation genogram of my family, analyze its structure and characteristics, and explore how these patterns may influence me as an individual, parent, and partner. Additionally, I will discuss how my cultural background influences my work with families, and examine how cultural and family patterns can be both a barrier and strength in working with families.

Genogram Construction:

  • Three Generations: I will depict three generations of my family, including grandparents, parents, siblings, and children.
  • Standardized Symbols: I will use standardized genogram symbols to represent different family members and their relationships.
  • Family Structure: I will illustrate various family structures, such as nuclear families, blended families, divorces, and remarriages.
  • Dates and Details: I will include dates of birth, marriage, and death, as well as information on race, ethnicity, mental health issues, substance abuse, and other relevant details.
  • Emotional Patterns: I will identify emotional patterns within the family, such as closeness, conflict, distance, and passive-aggression.
  • Family Values and Issues: I will highlight family values, occupations, education levels, religious beliefs, and any other significant issues or patterns.
  • Social Patterns: I will depict the social environments in which family members reside, including neighborhoods, communities, workplaces, and social clubs.

Analysis and Discussion:

  • Influence on Individual: I will analyze how the family dynamics and patterns identified in the genogram may influence my personal beliefs, behaviors, and relationships.
  • Influence on Parenting: I will explore how my family background shapes my parenting style, values, and approaches to raising children.
  • Influence on Partnership: I will discuss how my experiences within my family of origin affect my relationships with romantic partners and spouses.
  • Cultural Influence: I will examine how my cultural background impacts my work with families, including cultural competency, communication styles, and understanding of family dynamics.
  • Strengths and Barriers: I will assess how cultural and family patterns can serve as both strengths and barriers in my work with diverse families, highlighting areas for growth and development.


In conclusion, this assignment will provide a comprehensive analysis of my family system and culture through the construction of a three-generation genogram. By examining family dynamics, values, and patterns, I will gain insights into how my family background influences various aspects of my life and professional practice.


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