For this assignment, choose a family subsystem (see examples below) from the extended family depicted in the movie Parenthood, and create a three-generation genogram for the extended family.
You could choose a cohabiting family as a whole, such as Helen, her children, and Tod; or a system such as Frank, Marilyn, Larry, and Cool. You could also select a more traditional cohabiting family unit such as Gil, Karen and their children. If you are up to the challenge, you are also welcome to assess some less obvious intergenerational or interfamilial subsystems, such as: Gil and his brother Larry; Gil and his father; Gil, Larry, and their father; Gil, his siblings, and their parents; Frank, Larry, and Cool; Marilyn, Helen, and Julie; and so on. As you may discover, a thorough analysis of any conglomeration will have some degree of overlap with other familial systems as other relationships and patterns in the extended family may need to be analyzed to understand the dynamics occurring within the relationships in focus.
Use standard symbols from the Genograms textbook to show a variety of family relationships within the chosen subsystem and in the larger extended family. The genogram should include:
1. The delineation of family relationships (close, overly close, conflictual, cut off, and so on) using standard genogram symbols as provided in the Genograms textbook or in the suggested software applications.
2. Information such as, but not limited to, chronic or terminal illnesses, ethnic backgrounds, alcoholism, suicides, mental illnesses, and occupations using standard genogram symbols. For symbols not provided with the recommended resources you are allowed to create symbols (if applicable to your method of genogram construction) that depict information about the family’s cultural context. Examples include race/ethnicity, employment and socio-economic status, and other personal details. Such efforts should not be redundant and duplicate symbols that are already established. If you don’t know, ask your instructor.
3. Include relevant information to describe the family system, particularly information that helps the viewer better understand some of the prominent relationship delineations or dynamics in the family. For example, page 178 in the Genograms textbook provides a great example of a segment from a larger genogram. In the example, the additional descriptive information is used so the viewer can understand how and why the relationship is cut off.
Write a 6–8 page paper discussing the family subsystem you have chosen in the context of their extended intergenerational family. You may want to begin by engaging similar concepts and analyses that you carried out in your Unit 4 discussion posts and peer responses. Analyze the chosen subsystem with consideration for the effects of the whole extended family system.
Your paper should:
1. Analyze the chosen family unit or family members in relation to the larger family system, examining intergenerational themes, relationship patterns, and life-cycle transitions.
2. Discuss strengths and weaknesses or red flags that have been passed along.
3. Discuss two different family therapy models you are interested in learning more about, which might be useful in helping this family subsystem, and briefly describe each one (no more than a paragraph each).
Note: It would be to your benefit to consider constructing the genogram and analyzing the family unit or subsystem in question at the height of its respective crisis. As the film potentially reveals how each family unit (and the larger family) resolves their issues, consider the information you discuss about the family as though it were discovered through the process of working with this family and developing their genogram in-session.
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