Genograms are widely used in family therapy as a way of visually mapping out systems and recurring family patterns. Creative genograms enable families to phenomenologically self-define recurring themes and issues, thus combining both historical, but also, experiential data on the same page. This participatory research gathers the self-defined, phenomenological experience of family social workers who experienced creative genograms firstly on themselves and then administered it with their clients: Examples are analyzed within the text. The findings point to the usefulness of including creative genograms in family social work contexts to intensify information, engagement, and stimulation and to re-perceive calcified problems through new visual terms. Challenges were the unfamiliarity of art language and fear of being “diagnosed” through art. Ways to overcome these challenges and to utilize the benefits were discussed. A theoretical understanding of social versus psychological art is outlined. The specific tool of the creative genogram enabled us not only to provide a clear directive tool for family social workers but also to demonstrate the ways that social art corresponds to and can enhance the aims of family social workers in more detail.
- art therapy
- couple and family therapy