Constructing and Interpreting Interaction Patterns


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

Studying this website will lead you through the basics of genograms, develop your knowledge of family communication patterns, and then guide you through examples and models to help you understand and interpret actual genograms. This site will also explain how to create your own genogram and how to adapt genograms using traditional symbols and a few additional symbols.

Genograms represent intergenerational family maps. They (1) depict family members across generations, (2) reveal the relationships patterns that exist between and among those members, and (3) provide information about specific family members and their experiences. A genogram builds on members’ demographic information and adds information such as critical events in the family’s or a member’s history and major life-cycle transitions. Through symbols and notations, genograms permit someone trained in genogram analysis, such as a counselor or health professional, to quickly grasp the key interaction patterns that cross generations as well as other factors such as illnesses, divorces, or unique characteristics.