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The purpose of this assignment is to assist students to comprehend how a genogram is created and how to use the symbols to denote family relationships

Summary

  • Value: 30% of the final grade.
  • Due Date: on or before 11:55 p.m. AT on Sunday of Unit 2.

Learning Objectives

  • Analyze relational and family functioning across the developmental life cycle.
  • Analyze the effects and the influence of diversity and sociocultural factors on development across the lifespan
  • Demonstrate reflective thinking through application of theoretical concepts
  • Demonstrate effective communication through a narrative

Purpose

The purpose of this assignment is to assist students to comprehend how a genogram is created and how to use the symbols to denote family relationships, marital status, family issues, and family interactional patterns. It is important for counsellors to understand the genogram because it allows them to see hereditary patterns of behaviour and the psychological factors that impact family relationships and interactions.

Instructions

This assignment has two parts, the Genogram Drawing and the Written Narrative. The body of your Written Narrative paper (not including title page, references, etc.) should be 10-15 typed, double-spaced pages. Please do not exceed 15 pages of text, as there is only one of me, and there are many of you!

Genogram Project – Part 1: Genogram Drawing 

The genogram drawing should include:

  1. A minimum of two previous generations. This means the genogram must have at least three generations: The index person (which is yourself), the index person’s parents, and their grandparents. If the index person has children and grandchildren, they too should be included. If the index person is married or in a significant relationship, the significant other and his/her immediate family (his/her parents, siblings, any former marriages, and any children) should also be included. It is OK to leave out parents’ and grandparents’ siblings (the index person’s aunts/uncles and great-aunts/uncles), due to limitations of space. However, if there is a particularly important aunt/uncle in the index person’s life (e.g., they were mainly reared by that person), that aunt/uncle should be included.
  2. Symbols, as illustrated in Figure 8.3 of the Goldenberg and Goldenberg textbook, to indicate the nature of the relationships among family members. You may use some or all of these symbols. Be sure to draw a double circle/square to represent the index person (as shown in Figure 8.4; “Ivan” is the index person for that genogram). For more help with creating your Genogram Drawings, check out the websites previously listed.
    • You may notice that there are some universals, such as squares for males and circles for females; you may also notice some idiosyncrasies, such as different adaptations for transgender persons – almost all involve a triangle, but it varies a bit (some use one symbol for all LGBTQQIA issues, other systems differentiate). This is OK. I know this varies, and I won’t penalize you for using one system over another – the idea is just to become comfortable making a genogram the way you might use one in practice. If you are using any symbols that you believe may not be universally in use, just include a legend or key somewhere on your drawing, to make it clear to the viewer.
  3. Brief notes, on the genogram drawing itself, about people, events, etc. – next to the relevant person or generation. Examples include “John – father – distant relationship, alcoholism” or “Mary – mother – immigrated to Canada, 1965.” You may wish to call, write, or interview other family members to obtain the information necessary to complete this assignment; however, this is entirely optional. Drawings with no additional notes will not be graded as highly; showing relevant information next to the people or relationships they refer to is part of what makes this visual depiction of a family system so powerful. However, it is also important to be selective – choose to represent the information that you think is most important/influential in the index person’s development. The ideal genogram is not so cluttered with information that no patterns in the family system can be discerned.

Remember to place each generation on more or less the same level, horizontally. All members of the parents’ generation should be on the same level as one another, a tier above the index person’s generation; and all members of the grandparents’ generation should be on the same level as one another, horizontally, one tier above the parents’ generation, at the top of the page.

Genogram Project Part 2: Analysis

Based on your Genogram Drawing, write a paper about your interpretation following the outline below (the body of your paper, not including title page, etc., should be 10-15 typed, double-spaced pages):

Section 1: Background. Briefly describe the family in narrative form, beginning with the index person (if you are the index person, please use the first person “I”). Discuss the cultural and socioeconomic issues facing the family, major events or turning points that affected the family, and any other factors that might be useful in understanding the present-day situation for the index person.

Section 2: Analysis. Discuss your analysis of the genogram. Specifically address the following:

  • What intergenerational patterns, dynamics, and/or themes have you identified that influence you (or the index person) or others in the family? This analysis should be seen through the lens of Bowen’s 8 interlocking ideas or Minuchin’s structural theory. Please connect each pattern/dynamic you identify to this theory, and to specific concepts from within that theory.
  • How have cultural factors in this family affected the index person and the family system as a whole? How has this been similar or different, across different generations?
  • Note that this section of the paper is really the heart of the written genogram analysis. In Section 1, just provide enough of the story to support and expand upon your observations in Section 2. Section 2 is really the main focal point of the assignment, as it is the section where you analyze patterns and tie these to a major theory from the course.
  • Highlight analysis over self-reflection.
  • Please support your analysis with 3-5 peer reviewed journal articles only and in the last 7-10 years (properly cited using APA format).

Section 3: Reflection. Discuss your reflections on the process of completing this assignment. What did it mean to you? What did you learn?

 

    • Writing quality, including grammar and spelling, WILL count toward the final grade. Therefore, proofreading is strongly encouraged.
    • Many students who complete a personal genogram are emotionally affected by this experience. Although it is a good learning exercise, it can also trigger thoughts and feelings which may be unexpected or difficult. Please feel free to message/email me privately in the process of completing this assignment if you need further clarification or to discuss your experience in doing this project. Messages will be responded to within 24 hours. Please keep in mind that this is not a personal therapy paper, so although you may experience some emotional reactions and express them to the professor via messages, the content of the paper itself should be focused on your analysis of the genogram, connecting this with course concepts and theories.
    • Finally, have FUN! Most students report that it is a very revealing and enriching experience. Even if you have completed a genogram for another reason in the past, many students tell me that doing so again leads to new perspectives and insights, particularly as you have the option to focus in more depth on relationships you may not have focused on in your previous genogram experience. Throughout our careers as therapists/counsellors, there is always more to learn about family systems.

Structure

  • Required components: Title page and reference page.
  • Length of Assignment: The text body of paper (i.e., not including references or title page should consist of approximately 2500-3750 words, (i.e., 10-15 pages) double-spaced typed pages, Times New Roman font size: 12).
  • Format: Please, format your assignment in Word (files with extension .doc or .docx), or pdf.
  • References: 3-5

Considerations

Please access the course room materials to support assignment development.

Resources

Any sources used to support your written narrative should be cited using correct APA format. Although Wikipedia can be a useful starting place to gather very general information no Wikipedia references will be accepted as scholarly citations.

Use the Yorkville University Library and the EBSCO tool for academic search. It is important to select credible sources for assignments. This resource will assist students in determining which sources are credible: https://my.yorkvilleu.ca/ask/credible-source-guide/

Submission Notes

Please do not email your submissions to your professor, either before or after the due date; all coursework should be submitted through the online course (Moodle).

Evaluation

The following rubric indicates those areas you should be focusing on in preparing your assignment, and how the professor will weigh these components relative to one another.

Criteria % of Assignment Grade
Genogram Drawing (30%)
Appropriate coverage /12
Symbols /12
Use of notes /6
Narrative and Analysis (50%)
Section 1: Background /10
Section 2: Analysis /35
Section 3 Reflection /5
APA Format and Writing Quality (20%) /20
TOTAL /100
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