A genogram (pronounced: jen-uh-gram) is a graphic representation of a family tree that displays detailed data on relationships among individuals. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to analyze hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships. Genograms allow a therapist and his patient to quickly identify and understand various patterns in the patient’s family history which may have had an influence on the patient’s current state of mind. The genogram maps out relationships and traits that may otherwise be missed on a pedigree chart.
Genograms contain a wealth of information on the families represented. First, they contain basic data found in family trees such as the name, gender, date of birth, and date of death of each individual. Additional data may include education, occupation, major life events, chronic illnesses, social behaviors, nature of family relationships, emotional relationships, and social relationships. Some genograms also include information on disorders running in the family such as alcoholism, depression, diseases, alliances, and living situations. Genograms can vary significantly because there is no limitation as to what type of data can be included.