Genograms are a tool which provide a simple representation of the make-up of a family. They are also known as family trees and represent a good way to work with family members differently, as well as promoting discussion about the more extended family members and support that they may or may not provide.

Genograms can be an effective way of engaging collaboratively and dynamically with service users and carers to share, describe and explore their family histories and relationships. People can be encouraged to share memories and anecdotes about relatives and think about patterns that emerge over generations (e.g. of divorce, suicide, miscarriage or abuse).

SCIE (2012)

An example of a simple genogram is shown below.  As can be seen there are particular symbols that are used, and these are described below the example (it should be noted that this is a fictitious family).


In this example therefore we can see three generations of the same family, and where possible the information includes dates of birth.  Using the key (below), we can see that the maternal grandmother had two enduring relationships, one of which ended in divorce, and one transitory relationship.  The mother has had three relationships resulting in three children, the father of the youngest not being known.  Where it is shown that relationships have ended (through separation or divorce), the lines that show this can also be used to show who the child(ren) from the relationship live with.  Therefore in this example it can be seen that Jeremy Hall's marriage to Samantha has come to an end, but that their son, Robert, lives with his father.

A dotted line around all the people who live in the same household can help further.