Genograms are amongst the youngest members of the diagramming family, with a starting use in 1985. Although they are used to describe families and blood relatives connections, genograms greatly differ in look and purpose from the family tree diagrams. The main task of genograms is to visualize the relationships between the members within a family on a very deep level, as well as the genetic diseases which may be transferred from/to a family member.
Types of genograms
Despite that genograms are not strictly categorized on different types, most of them contain three layers. The first layer describes the basic information related to the people in the family - marriage, divorce, children, etc. The second layer usually contains information on diseases such as heart condition, diabetes, etc. The third layer adds additional clarity of the emotional bonds and relationships, including who was in love with whom, who is obsessed by someone else, who is abusive mentally and/or physically, etc. While in some genograms all layers co-exist, sometimes diagrams are drawn separately for each of the above-mentioned purposes. Let's look at them in further detail.
Basic genogramsThe most basic layer of the genogram contains the family members and the way each person is related to the rest. Unlike family trees, however, genograms contain additional information including the way people are related. This is done by specific symbols and connectors, telling the viewer if a child was miscarried, if there was an abortion, if there are twins, if someone is adopted, etc. The connector lines and shapes can also tell who is living and who has passed away, if people are married or simply living together and more. Here are some examples of the shapes and their meanings:
All Basic Shapes
Health information genogramsGenograms with health information are often drawn to serve as a starting point for diagnosing a disease or even for predicting a possible illness that a child may inherit genetically. They are often used by psychologists, psychiatrists, and physicians. The predefined symbols of genograms contain basic information whether a member of the family has a physical or mental illness, or even if there is a suspicion of a drug or alcohol abuse. If needed, the creator of the diagram can add additional, custom-made shapes that contain more specific information and describe them in a legend. Common custom shapes are ones, defining heart conditions, diabetes, and others.
All Health Shapes
Relationship genogramsThe relationships layer of genograms is usually added to give more in-depth information about the relationships between different family members. It can help a therapist learn a lot about a family and see behavioral patterns, their origin and spread amongst the members, as well as predict problems that may occur in the future.
All Relationship Shapes
ExampleTo get a complete idea of a genogram, you can have a look at this example below.
Pre-made visual Genogram templates to uncover family relationships patterns
Free Genogram Template For Word
The easiest and most powerful Genogram software in the world. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, to create Genogram is always simple and fast with Visual Paradigm. Visual Paradigm’s Genogram software features a rich collection of tools, symbols and templates that helps you create Genogram.
- Visualize your client’s medical, social, psychological and family relationship history
- Gather medical and psychological information for solving medical problems
- Explore the quality of relationships and behavioral patterns of patients
WinGeno is a free computer program to create diagrams of family constellations in form of genograms. The representation of particulars family members depends on the established symbols. WinGeno does not represent social nor emotional relationships. Supported systems: Windows 7 SP1 and higher, Mac OS and Linux. Genogram-Maker Millennium 3.0 is free to download from our software library. Our antivirus check shows that this download is virus free. The most popular versions among the program users are 3.0 and 1.1. The program's installer files are generally known as GenogramMaker.exe or rtdrvmon.exe etc. Free Genogram Maker is a lightweight and easy to understand piece of software that was developed to offer you an accessible method of creating your family tree, allowing you to go as far as four. Create Genograms online. VP Online is the easiest Genogram software on the market today. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, to draw a Genogram is always simple and fast with VP Online's rich set of Genogram tools, symbols and templates. Plus, you can draw and discuss Genogram anywhere - VP Online is an online diagram software that runs on any device, any browser.
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Guide and Best Practices
Much like a family tree, a genogram visualizes relationships and the quality of those relationships between family members. It helps identify patterns of behavior and connections across generations.
How to make a genogram
- Determine the type of family information you want to gather from your clients. And then identify the generations you want to represent in your genogram.
- Based on the kind of information you want to learn, prepare a set of questions to ask from each member in the family.
- Questions should focus on gathering information on family relationships, the quality of family relationships, medical conditions and important events. You can also find more information on family books, from internet research, medical records, etc.
- Thoroughly analyze the unions between family members. For example, marriages, divorces, children etc. Try to understand the status of the emotional relationships they have with each other.
- Using a Creately genogram template, visually represent the information you have gathered. Use squares to represent male family members and circles to represent female ones.
- Start the genogram with the oldest generation. Using the relevant genogram symbols for family members and relationships, convey the family interactions.
- Once you have completed the genogram, study it to identify patterns. You will be able to gather information on family history of illnesses, relationship issues, etc.
- As required, you can invite your client to edit the genogram by sharing it with them. Or you can download it as a PDF, image or SVG to add to presentations and documents, or take print-outs.