Our team excels at creative ways to build bridges with our families. Vanessa announces a new game for the family to play. “We are going to map out a genogram today, I’ve brought paper and crayons so we’re gonna do a little bit of drawing. Maybe, you can help us Ella?”
Mapping out a genogram is a technique that allows the family to participate in creating their family tree and identifying where abuse, adversity and traumatic events have occurred. Vanessa clears a spot on the worn and stained carpet for a large piece of drawing paper. The red crayon signifies abuse, green is mental health, blue is sexual abuse…” and the list goes on, filling out a sad color wheel of traumatic events and circumstances that may surround the life of each individual around this child.
In the center of the page a little stick figure is drawn representing Ella, they draw a circle around the child a tree branching off in each direction one for mom one for dad. As the family tree takes form all the colors explode on the page. Sexual abuse, assault, homelessness, drug abuse, alcoholism, rape, bipolar disorder, mother, father, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, great grandparents the list goes on no one unaffected by the generations of trauma in this family. By the end of the exercise, fireworks dance around the little girl in the middle of the circle.