Genogram is a special diagram that holds detailed information on family members with great emphasis on emotional connections. More than tracing a person’s lineage, it reveals the family’s medical history and values upheld within a family that may have an influence on an individual’s attitude. With it, you can better understand if someone needs medical attention and determine behavioral patterns to improve one’s life. Genograms may look complicated at first but it’s easier than you think. Below we will explain the symbols, rules, and show family genogram examples to give you an idea of creating one yourself.
Genogram Tutorial, Examples and Tools
Similar to other diagrams, a genogram comes with figures that make up this special diagram. Each symbol has a function that you need to remember in order to build a coherent genogram. You may refer below to understand the symbol and their roles.
Square– a gender symbol for males
Circle– represents the female gender
Triangle– triangle shape represents pregnancy. You can also show miscarriage in a genogram example with a diagonal cross on top of the triangle. For abortion, you will only add a horizontal line along with the diagonal cross.
Straight line– a symbol that represents natural/biological child
Broken line– a symbol for adopted child
Dotted line– a symbol use for foster child
Note: There are also members in other family genogram examples in which gender is unknown. The usual symbol used for it is a question mark. Moreover, multiple births like twins and triplets should join siblings with a line connecting the two.
Genogram Building Rules
There are general rules that will guide you in building a genogram to effectively show social and emotional connections within a group. This is particularly helpful as the diagram gets complex and avoid any confusion. Without further discussion, here are major rules to keep in mind to layout a genogram example yourself.
- First of all, the male parent should be placed on the left side. On the other hand, you should place the female parent on the left side and they are connected using a horizontal line.
- Underneath the family line is where the child/children should appear. The order will be left to right, from oldest to youngest.
- If a spouse had multiple partners, the first partner must always be closer to him/her. In any genogram example, follow the left to right order rule.
- Suppose that a relationship falls under the category of male-male or female-female, always assume it is a male-female relationship then follow the same rules to avoid ambiguity.
Genogram Templates Free to Download
Now you gained knowledge about the basic symbols and general rules for constructing genogram. It’s time to apply what you’ve learned. However, if you are still unsure where to start, we have prepared some different genogram template free examples that you may use as reference.
Family relationshipDownload this example
This figure displays a simple example of a family relationship diagram using a genogram. As you can see, there are two families at the very top. It includes grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunt, niece, and nephew. Supposed that you have a family line here, you will see in this family genogram example that you have 2 siblings. The youngest sibling already has offspring who became your nephew and niece.
Emotional relationshipDownload this example
Another diagram is an emotional relationship that will enable you to identify the current status of members with each other. Using the same genogram, we add symbols that define each emotion of one member to another. Here you will see emotions like harmony which is a straight green line, a conflict which is two red broken lines etc. There are a lot more emotional bond symbols that you can add to your genogram depending on situation of one’s family.
Medical genogramDownload this example
A medical genogram is another helpful genogram example that allows you to understand the hereditary patterns and other health-related factors. In this template, you will see from a family who had heart disease and the carriers over generations. If you would also notice, there are red shades at the top corner of each symbol. This denotes heart disease while the red center shape indicates heart disease carrier. Also, there’s a green shade that represents who among the family had diabetes and carriers of the disease.
Using a genogram, you will be able to describe relationships of family members and understand dynamics over generations. You can think of it as an in-depth family diagram of your family history to analyze one’s action or trace genetic diseases. Meanwhile, genogram may look complex but is worthwhile after learning some of the basic rules and symbols and looking at some genogram template free examples.