Many would argue that the first step of building an understanding about any person is to have a clear idea about the relationships of those around them. In the behavioral health field, it can be difficult keeping track of various clients’ connections and familial relationships over time. For example, an individual who has spent years within the child welfare system, and doesn’t have much of a solid foundation, might want to assess and identify their supports and acknowledge those connections meaningful to their life.

Allowing service coordinators to create a meaningful depiction of a family, natural supports, or relationships around a person(s) life, would allow them to better understand that person’s story and tailor services to their clients’ needs. What if a client seeking help could appraise their own relationships and significant life events to create a single visual representation of their story, thus making it easier to discuss their relationships with others? Genograms offer an opportunity for behavioral health coordinators to work with their client(s), or together with families, to construct a picture about the people, relationships, or events deemed significant. It is pictorial illustration that goes beyond a family tree by allowing individuals to explore behavioral, psychological, and hereditary patterns, relationships, and history. These illustrations can be focused on an individual’s relationships, or specifically geared toward families and the bonds or events that lead them to seek behavioral health services.

Research demonstrates the utilization of genograms can work as part of the therapeutic process among families, or individuals, seeking behavioral health support. By allowing an individual to document historical or present events and relationships, participants can outline meaningful connections among others and keep track of changes pertinent to their healing. Genograms promote the client’s self-understanding leading to more efficiently guided care. Not only does it involve families to work together and diagram those relationships, but genograms allow the coordinator to see how the relationships work among family members. This works by achieving a better understanding of the dynamics involved within each other and can further understand and help their clients.

Overall, relationships are meaningful to every one of us and are a critical aspect of the decisions and events that transpire in our lives everyday. Being able to visually trace and quantify those critical people, and moments, can allow us as individuals to better understand the events that have led us to this moment today and help plan for a better future tomorrow.

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