Use the appropriate symbols and follow the four relationship rules to create a genogram. Use a square to represent males, and a circle for females. Draw a solid red line between married, divorced or separated parents, and use a perforated blue line for parents living together.
Place the male parent's name on the left of the diagram and write the mother's name on the right. Parents who marry more than once should always have their names placed closest to the first spouse. In families with more than one child, place the eldest child on the left. In cases where spousal relationships are unclear, assume heterosexual relationships. Enter birth and death dates in the circle or square of a parent. Use color codes and symbols inside the squares and circles to represent medical conditions and substance abuse.
A genogram is similar to a traditional family tree, but it includes more than just genealogical data. Genograms provide graphical depictions of familial relationships, and may include background information such as emotional relationships, chronic illnesses, depression, alcoholism and major life events.
Professionals in social work, education, psychology and medicine use genograms to gain insights into family history that may affect an individual's current mental and emotional status.