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.