A genogram is a graphic representation or “map” of at least three generations of a family. In addition to documenting typical genealogical information (names, dates of birth/death/ marriage/divorce, and relationships between family members), a genogram also describes key themes and significant issues within the family. These include medical, mental health, and substance use issues. A genogram also documents the nature and strength of the emotional relationships among family members, including elements of conflict, enmeshment, and broken relationships. For more information on genograms, refer to website to help you prepare for this assignment. You can also use any other resource for more information. Use of the software is optional. You may choose to use some other available software on the Internet or draw and scan your genogram in order to submit.

If you choose to use the software to complete your genogram, please be advised that the system will not accept the file. You may take a screen shot of the genogram and paste it into a Word document to submit to the instructor or submit the assignment as a PDF.

For Mac Users: The GenoPro software can be used on a Mac with an additional add-on. Instructions on this are available on the GenoPro FAQ website.

Part 1: Family Interviews and Genogram

For this assignment, you will examine your own family history from a counseling perspective. You will interview as many of your family members as possible to obtain information about your family history. Based on your interviews, you will construct a genogram for your family and use the genogram as one way of “mapping” substance use disorders and other emotional and mental health issues in your family. You will also write a narrative paper discussing the significant issues that you have identified. Please note, if your family does not have any substance use disorders or mental health issues talk to your instructor about the possibility of interviewing another family for this assignment.

1. Interview as many family members as possible to obtain sufficient information to construct a genogram.

2. In interviewing family members (and constructing information from direct personal experience), document information about known or suspected substance use disorders and emotional/behavioral issues. Identify how each person’s issues affected his/her personal and family life. This might include health issues, family dynamics, employment, legal history, treatment, and other social issues related to the person’s substance use and/or emotional functioning. Identify the emotional relationships among family members, using genogram symbols and notations.

3. Draw a genogram that reflects the information gained through your interviews. The genogram should include as many generations as you can get information for (a minimum of three generations) and should include, at a minimum:

a. The legal and biological relationships between family members

b. Vital statistics (dates of birth, death, adoption, marriage, and divorce)

c. Occupations of family members

d. Other significant psychosocial information about family members, especially information about mental/emotional problems, substance use disorders, legal issues, etc.

e. If you are adopted, you may choose either your biological or your adoptive family, depending on which provides the most detailed information for your analysis.

Part 2: Family History Paper (Topic 4)

1. Write a six- to eight-page (1,500-2,000-word) paper that assesses the significance of substance use disorders or mental health issues in the family represented Part 1.

2. The paper should reflect your understanding of the family dynamics and other issues covered in this course and should incorporate concepts and references as appropriate. Focus on key themes in your paper; do not simply repeat the historical facts that are evident in the genogram (e.g., names, family structure, and dates).

3. At a minimum, include the following:

a) The family history of substance use disorders and/or mental health issues.

b) Family themes or patterns that became evident through your interviews (including possible genetic influences, family dynamics, social factors, intergenerational issues).

c) Identification of points at which treatment was offered or received, or at which treatment/intervention might have had a beneficial effect, had it been offered.

d) Results/impact of treatment received.

e) Significant events which may have impacted a family member’s substance use, or which may have been a direct result of his/her substance use or treatment.

f) Identification of substance use and mental health risk factors for family members of your generation and future generations.

g) Professional Assessment: Look at the information you have gathered as if you were a professional substance use counselor. Do you believe that there are current substance use issues that warrant intervention in the family that you have described? If so, where would you direct educational, preventive, or treatment efforts? Explain your rationale.

h) Summary: A brief synopsis of what you learned in this project and its personal significance for you.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.