About this sample
About this sample
Words: 2122 |
11 min read
Published: Aug 4, 2023
Words: 2122|Pages: 5|11 min read
While conducting my genogram, I have expanded a piece of great knowledge of my family and the importance of genograms. There are various things to address within our family trends. The best way to organize this paper, in my opinion, is to split it up between the two sides. My mothers' side consists of my two grandparents who are alive and married, my mom who is divorced, her brother who is divorced, and myself. My great-grandparents are deceased.
A common trend in the generations is that they did not grow up wealthy. Mostly each person in this genogram on my mother’s side has financial issues. With that being said, none of them have gone to further their education beyond high school. My grandmother only attended middle school. My mother and her brother, Jack, have completed high school. I am the first person on my mother’s side with a Bachelor’s degree and a potential Master’s Degree. The parent-child relationships in this family are very strong. I am very close with my mother, her brother, and my grandparents. My mother and her brother are very close to their parents and the list carries on throughout the generations. This shows that our family truly values connections and building upon them. My grandmother, my mother, and I suffer from anxiety.
There is a history of heart disease in my family. My great-grandfather passed away from heart disease, my grandmother has stents in her arteries and I recently was diagnosed with heart problems. My grandfather’s father was an alcoholic. My grandfather drank frequently when he was younger and was developing alcoholic tendencies. My grandmother knew about her father-in-law's alcoholic tendencies and asked her husband (my grandpa) to stop. I believe my grandmother broke the trend of drinking in our family being no one in our family drinks alcohol.
My mom’s side is all Caucasian. My grandmother and grandfather are Polish and Italian. My mother is Polish and Italian. My father is full Italian so I would be considered 75% Italian, 25% Polish. Being Polish, my grandmother has given us a multitude of traditions that we participate in around the holidays. For example, around Easter, we make Babka bread and Pizza Rustica. While making this genogram, I found out the reason my grandmother makes these two things is due to her grandmother making it with her. This is a tradition that I am hoping to carry on towards my future family. My grandmother is very religious and attends church every Sunday which she has instilled in our family to attend church every Sunday. My mom is the caregiver to my uncle since he was recently diagnosed with cancer. The strongest patterns in our family are our strong faith/religion, heart disease, and our strong family relationships.
My dad’s side consists of him and his brother, his two parents (both with no siblings) and their two parents (both with no siblings). This shows that my dad did not have any aunts/uncles and either did my two grandparents. I find this quite interesting being my grandparents were the first out of two generations to have more than one child. Something common between the four generations is that each male in the generations has gotten a divorce. Another common denominator within the generation of males is that they were verbally abusive towards their ex-wives. This is an interesting psychosocial pattern being I wonder if this is because they grew up in a verbally abusive household and saw their fathers verbally abuse their mothers. Sometimes what people grow up in, they ultimately think is normal. There is a strong relationship between my dad and me but a weaker relationship between my dad and his dad. Also, my grandfather and his dad had a weak relationship as well. This displays that most of the father/son relationships on my father’s side are frequently conflictual. I think this played a role in why my dad developed a strong relationship with his child because he understood what it was like not to have an active parent in his life. My great-grandmother suffered from schizophrenia as well as my grandmother suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar and depression.
Due to her mental illness, my grandfather got a divorce from her, which I find very disheartening. My dad suffers from depression and anxiety. This has carried down to my generation being I suffer from anxiety. Mental health issues are a reoccurring issue in many generations of our family. Mostly everyone on my father’s side is very healthy, physically. Everyone lived a lengthy life and lived a healthy life. This reassures me making me think my father may live a healthy long life as well. My father’s side is not religious at all. They are all Caucasian and Italian. My Italian heritage allowed my father to grow up in an Italian Household. My father stated that being in an Italian household consisted of a 7-fish dinner on Christmas Eve and certain traditions regarding holidays. In conclusion for my father’s side, some of the strongest patterns are anxiety/depression, verbal abuse, divorce and health issues. Since I am an only child and a girl, when I get married, our family name will end, which I find very interesting too.
The family trends that we have maybe something that will carry into future generations. For example, my future children may develop heart problems, like the generations above myself and I have developed. There may also be a multitude of mental illnesses in my future generations being generations above me have a long history of mental illnesses. Since every generation on my father's side has been divorced, I am hoping to break that family trend and not get divorced. When combining my two families, some similarities are that both my mom and dad’s side do not come from a strong sense of education. Both of my sides are Italian and both have holiday traditions. My strong family connections come from my mom’s side while my health comes from my father’s side. I learned that on my dad’s side they aren’t very big into communication, which often I wonder if that is why divorce is more prevalent. Each side plays a role in who I am today.
My dad’s family had very minimal ways of relating being most of the relationships on that side are conflicted. My mom’s side is very communicative. This is a very huge strength because anytime there was an issue or a hurt feeling in their family, they were taught to talk about it. By talking about things in your family, you are further developing communication skills which you will need for life. This skill of communicating has been transmitted through myself intergeneration ally being I am a big communicator and will always talk through issues. Being my dad grew up in multiple generations that did not talk, my dad does not know how to 'talk things out' but instead he gets angry. I am concerned that this will affect mine and my father’s relationship in the future.
If my dad were to fuse the relationships with his parents, some family therapy theories that could be used would be strategic family therapy. Strategic family therapy involves homework that works on family communication and decision making (Bitter, n.d.). I believe this is the perfect fit because my father and my grandparents need to work on communicating and making decisions.
My parents got divorced because my father did not know how to communicate and my mother overly communicated, they never could see eye to eye. I believe that if my inner family (my mom, my dad and myself) went to therapy, maybe my parents wouldn’t have gotten divorced. If they had gone to therapy, a theory that may have been helpful would have been the systemic model. The systemic model focuses on the unconscious (what we don't realize we are thinking) communications and the meaning behind family behaviors (Nichols & Everett, 1986). Often, my dad was acting away based upon what he saw growing up. For example, he would be verbally abusive with my mom and my mom wouldn't be sure why her actions warranted such a large reaction. If my dad went to family therapy with my mom and me, the therapist could have identified why he was doing things based upon his unconscious. The therapist probably would have educated my dad that he was doing certain things because of the way he saw my grandfather act towards my grandmother. This could help my dad identify better-coping skills. As a child, I could have identified my unconscious behaviors and how I would get involved in my parent’s arguments because I “wanted to solve them”. My mother often played a role where she would act sad due to my dad’s actions or lack of actions. Each person’s role plays in the way our family system worked. By trying to edit these roles a little bit and develop coping skills, my parents potentially might have been able to stay together.
It was interesting working with my partner in identifying trends. We started by showing each other our genograms and then continued to describe them to each other. Since I come from a very small family on both sides, I found it enthralling to see how other families work. My partner had six siblings, he was the youngest of all 6 girls. He also told me that his mom came from all the girls in her family and his dad had an extensively large family. While we were describing them to each other, we pointed out different trends we may have found. My partner helped me identify trends in my family that I didn't necessarily notice. For example, my partner helped me identify that every male in my family has been divorced on my dad's side. I helped my partner identify that his whole family came from higher education. My partner never realized that every person in his family has a master's degree or higher. My partner then explained to me that his parents stress education to them, so this must be why. This was an interesting experience because I was able to take a deep look at how some other family systems work. I will never be an aunt being I am an only child, so I found it fascinating to see how many nieces/nephews my partner has. My partner seemed to be very open and very proud of his genogram. When it came time to do my genogram, I felt a little closed being mine was so small. My partner made me feel comfortable by acknowledging some of the assets my genogram has that he does not. It seemed as if my partner and I complemented each other and brought out the best in each other’s genograms. Some key insights I noticed is how although we can come from two completely different genograms, we both had some similarities on our genograms.
I am potentially hoping to work with the addictions population. Genograms are going to be a very useful tool in my future practice. As an intern at Barnabas Behavioral Health, I am very familiar with genograms. For example, I worked with my supervisor on a patient interaction that involved a genogram. This patient was addicted to prescription pills. This patient was concerned about the future risks in her family being she has a daughter who is a teenager. While we made a genogram, we found a pattern that mostly every female in her family has had some form of addiction whether it is alcoholism or substance abuse. We also found out that the females predeceased in generations before her were heavy smokers as well. Also, we identified that multiple family members have passed away due to addiction. This was a great tool to have being it helped the patient as well as myself identify certain patterns that have been passed down over time. This gave the patient some insight as to why she may have these addictive behaviors. This also gave the patient insight on things she may be able to help prevent with her daughter, being addiction has affected multiple parts of her family. “Since family patterns can be transmitted from one generation to the next, the clinician should scan the genogram for patterns that have repeated over several generations” (McGoldrick, n.d.). I feel like genograms are very useful tools not only for patients with addictions but for multiple populations. I can see how no matter which population I work with, genograms would be a beneficial tool to get an overview of the client's family and generations.
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