A genogram is a popular tool for counselors and therapists to help them delve into family therapy. A genogram provides detailed information on the interpersonal relationships within families and it incorporates past and present events that impact the family dynamic. As a therapeutic instrument, a genogram will help assess the circumstances and reactions of the people involved in a familial issue.

In crafting an intervention and creating healthy alternatives for reconciliation, a genogram also helps mend family relationships that otherwise may struggle to address and manage mental health and substance use-related disorders. Let’s look at how genograms are used successfully in counseling.

What Is a Genogram? 

A genogram evaluates the medical history and relationships between family members across generations. It also helps to reveal any generational wounds that may have strained relationships. Further, a genogram can also help identify hereditary patterns and psychological factors that play a role in the current state of affairs.

A genogram is essentially a graph or chart that represents the emotional connection between each family member. Certain areas of the graph differentiate marriage, divorce, separation and engagement from one another. Mapping out a timeline using a genogram graph will help a counselor or therapist get a better perspective on the family issues.

How Do Genograms Fit Into Recovery? 

Research suggests that family history accounts for approximately 40 to 60 percent of addiction risk. Genograms allow a counselor or therapist to look through past family history and the various hereditary and psychological factors that have an effect on the client’s state of mind.

These factors consider and provide a wealth of information, including:

  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Life events
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Social behaviors

Such factors often contribute to other underlying issues attached to mental health and substance use disorders. Therefore, genograms help locate the missing puzzle pieces in the overall picture of your health. Having this kind of information will also contribute to finding better treatment and therapy to manage mental health and substance use-related issues.

Uncover the Root Cause of Issues

Changes in behavior could be caused by problems unknown to even the closest of family members. For example, a child who once excelled in school could suddenly become moody, rebellious and unenthusiastic. They may also hesitate to disclose problems in the presence of a health professional such as a counselor or therapist.

Perhaps they witnessed the loss or absence of a parent, causing the other parent to raise them. In turn, this disrupts the family dynamic and could interfere with the stability of the family. The added responsibility could affect the attitude of the single parent and their children, introducing problems not present before.

Drawing a genogram allows the family and professionals to identify the reasons for the behavioral change and how it relates to or will contribute to substance use in young adulthood and beyond. Uncovering the root causes among families will help everybody confront their challenges and issues that feed negative thoughts and behaviors and therefore work together to correct these negative habits.

How it Helps Behavioral Changes 

Many patients feel powerless to take control of their mental health or substance use disorders because of the way they react to things relatives say or do. When mending family relationships, each member should avoid becoming confrontational. However, relational differences are often met with emotional reactivity, leading to unresolved issues. These issues continue to grow when not properly addressed.

Identifying behavioral patterns that repeatedly lead to the same problems helps widen a patient’s perspective. With this, a patient will become more open to changing their behavior, take control of their emotions and implement healthier communications and lifestyle skills.

Focuses on Strengths 

Evaluating familial relationships during counseling helps each member identify where they excel as a unit. Identifying these areas will help the family overcome trauma and other challenging situations. Genograms work to reignite communication within the family because the questions help promote conversation.

Regularly reviewing the genogram will aid patients in remembering and resolving past experiences that led to current situations. Doing so helps to empower family members by reiterating that they understand their family dynamics and that they have the ability to change things on their own.

Develops Active Participation

A significant element in the success of this therapy is not the completeness of the genogram but the family’s participation to work toward resolution. A genogram is only a reference point to help counselors and patients see the bigger picture. Further, participation among members is the necessary ingredient for achieving successful and lasting results.

A genogram can play a crucial role in family counseling as it helps reveal the status of the relationships between each member. Remember, addiction affects the entire family; therefore, at New Hope Ranch, we utilize genograms to help identify substance use disorders and the important contributing factors as they relate to the addiction. The comprehensive information gathered through genograms and family counseling, mixed with other forms of therapy and treatment, will ensure that you and your family are getting the care and resources they need to sustain recovery. Further, a large part of recovery relies on a healthy support system. Working with family and peers alike will allow you the peace of mind to understand that you never need to face your challenges alone. If you and your family are currently in need of support, get help today. Learn more about our programs and treatment options and reach out to New Hope Ranch today by calling (737) 600-8565