Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Family Systems and Genograms

One of the elements of virtually every CPE program is a study of family systems. I have been blessed in that both of my CPE programs (the intro-level unit four years ago and my current residency) have placed an emphasis on understanding and applying family systems theory. What is "family systems theory"? Simply put, the way humans work in relation to each other and as part of a "system"...be that your family of origin, family by marriage, or community of faith. Because I am a colossal family systems geek, you will undoubtedly see more blog posts on this topic.

Anyway, one helpful exercise to understand your own family system (and the patterns present in it) is to construct a genogram. I describe this as, "a family tree on steroids." It's a family tree with special attention and detail paid to emotional relationships between the family members. It's also common to identify physical/mental/social conditions of each family member and identify any patterns that arise. Once you've completed this fun exising of family skeletons, you present it to your peer group and supervisor. One thing I've learned; EVERY family has issues/scandals. If it appears otherwise, then either the person presenting the genogram is covering them up OR the family system itself is covering up those issues.

I'm presenting my genogram next week, as is everyone else in our program. Nine genograms in five days; should be fun! As I've been analyzing my own family (for the second time, since I completed my first genogram four years ago), I've noticed a lot of interesting/disturbing patterns that I maybe didn't notice the first time (or have forgotten about) as well as issues I had previously identified. Quite fascinating.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Welcome to RevGalBlogPals! Glad to have you here!

mompriest said...

I am introducing your blog to the RevGals blog site this morning. Great ways to get to know the community are to play the Friday Five Meme, participate as relevant in the Saturday Preachers party, and leave comments on other blogs. Welcome!

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

welcome to revgals...

genograms... i haven't thought about those in years... maybe tonight if i'm doodling on a legal pad, i'll start mine again... but then again...

Mary Beth said...

it is fascinating! I was 15 when I last did one. Probably time to do it again!

Welcome to RG!

God_Guurrlll said...

I'm all about family systems. I've done my genogram dozens of times in the last couple of years intersecting my genogram with the various folks I am working with to get a larger perspective on how we interact with eachother. Also the foundation of my marriage counseling is genograms of the couple.

Welcome to revgals. Good to have you here!

Jan said...

Welcome to RevGals!