Constructing and Interpreting Interaction Patterns


Welcome to the world of genograms! We're glad you're here to learn more about family patterns of communication and how those patterns are manifest across three or more generations.

This web site will develop insights into communication patterns, guide you through the basics of genograms, and then help you understand and interpret actual genograms. This site will also explain how to create your own genogram and how to adapt genograms using additional symbols.

Genograms represent intergenerational family maps. They usually depict family members, the relationships among them, and information about the family members and their experiences. A genogram builds from members' demographic information and also includes information such as critical events in the family's or members' history and major life-cycle transitions. Through symbols and notations, genograms allow someone with a trained eye, such as a counselor or health professional, to quickly grasp the key elements in the lives of family members, the intergenerational transmission of many relational patterns and other factors such as illnesses or unique talents.

Follow the navigation links to the left to begin.

Kathleen M. Galvin, Northwestern University
Carma L. Bylund, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Brandon Grill, Northwestern University

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© 2010 Kathleen Galvin