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GenoPro: A practical solution for Psychologists

GenoPro offers a solution for gathering family and psychosocial information from your clients in an accessible format. As a result of using GenoPro, you will have a better understanding of the background and the issues present in a family unit, and you will be better prepared to help people find ways of dealing with their mental health problems.

GenoPro allows you to create psychosocial genograms that illustrate the emotional and social relationships in which your client is involved. Psychosocial genograms help psychologists acquire the objective and consistent information needed to view the client’s issues in the larger context of their marital relationship, family relationships and culture of origin. They allow them to incorporate family dynamics and psychosocial issues in client therapy. Genograms are central to the family history of each client and can serve many purposes in marital, family or individual therapy.

Family

Genograms created with GenoPro provide a visual display of the family and the complexities of family relationships. They provide a quick visual reference of various categories of family information that can influence the physical and emotional health of a client: family structure, pattern repetition in families, family relationships, and family balance and imbalance. For example, a genogram may demonstrate that a couple in marital counseling recently dealt with a stillbirth. Intervention and comforting support can make all the difference to the survival a marriage in this type of grief, but the risk factors are great. The parents may be dealing with feelings of guilt, and the dependent nature of the relationship disposes these parents to a variety of marital problems as they seek to cope with this great loss. Inquiring about family relationships communicates strongly to the client that you believe family factors influence mental health, that you are open to discussions on family matters.

Emotional relationships

Emotional matters play a key role in psychology. GenoPro allows you to visualize emotional bonds between individuals composing a family or social unit. Each type of emotional relationship is uniquely designed and color-coded for easy assessment of the level of cohesiveness within a family or a group. For example, a 13-year-old slightly overweight female who suffers from an eating disorder may have a conflictual relationship with her mother, a fitness instructor. The genogram may also show that her parents have a distant relationship. It has been demonstrated that eating disorders are pathologies with multiple causalities, and that in the families of many eating disorder patients, there are variable levels of communication difficulties among the members, and serious worrying about weight and body image by some members of the family (besides the patient). As a psychologist, the information provided by the genogram may prove to be invaluable in helping your client recognize some of the important factors that may have had a role to play in her disease.

Social relationships

GenoPro also allows you to include the social relationships in which your client is involved. You can illustrate the places they attend such as schools, churches, youth facilities, associations or senior residences. You can also illustrate the people and places that relate to the client’s life. For example, a 28 year old female client who suffers from inhibited sexual desire may come for therapy because her medical evaluation and lab tests did not reveal a physical cause for the problem. The genogram may illustrate that she grew up in a strict religious upbringing; she attended a Christian school and was an active member at her church. Upon discussion, she seems to have many insecurities regarding sex and may need some counseling and reassurance. With the use of genograms, your ability to connect seemingly individual problems to underlying family and social structures will allow you to have a helping practice that moves beyond a narrow focus on individual pathology and victim blaming.

Genetics

GenoPro allows you to understand the genetic disposition of individuals for certain diseases. The genogram graphically portrays inherited risk for specific health problems and suggests strategies for the assessment and care of these health problems. For example, a genogram may demonstrate that a 30 year old male with symptoms of bipolar disorder actually has a family history of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. This type of family history creates a genetic vulnerability which can significantly increase the likelihood of him developing the disorder. Other factors may be involved, such as stressful events or major life transitions, or past or present drug use, all things that may be displayed in a genogram. Displaying family illness patterns can pave the way for patient education about risky situations. Highlighting a family tendency of depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, or violence may encourage the client to be particularly aware of these issues in their own lives and may help you lead your client to empowerment and liberation.

Reports

Standard symbols and codes have been developed so that genograms can be read and interpreted systematically. GenoPro also allows you generate detailed reports with a simple click of the mouse. These reports will allow you to incorporate family dynamics and psychosocial issues in your counseling approach.

A practical solution

Genograms can be done during the initial session with almost every new client. Once you have included a genogram in their personal file, it can continue to serve as a "family scorecard" for subsequent sessions. The psychologist who scans a client's genogram before a counseling session can quickly review the basic family situation. Not only will you be able to make a careful risk assessment, but clients will be able use this tool as a lens to look at themselves in the context of their family. By using GenoPro, you will be able to quickly evaluate the context surrounding your client’s life and find ways, with the patient, of coping with, eliminating, or altering certain social behaviors and situations to promote overall mental health.



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