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GenoPro : A practical solution for Social workers

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 social workers acquire more objective and consistent information from the client, underlining key issues to discuss in client counseling. Genograms are central to the family history of each client and can serve many purposes in client care.

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 16-year-old female client dealing with suicidal thoughts lives in a family ridden with conflict, her parents having recently divorced. 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. Your clients may feel free to bring up concerns about sensitive issues such as domestic violence more quickly than they would have otherwise done so.

Emotional relationships

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 78-year-old widowed woman who is having difficulty with independent living and who has a son with whom she has a hostile relationship and an estranged daughter who lives overseas will require social assistance and placement in a community care centre as family support cannot be expected.

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. For example, a 26-year-old male client living in a rehabilitation center because of his alcoholism will require less intervention on your part than a 28-year-old gang member attending AA meetings. You can also illustrate the people and places that relate to the clients work. 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.

Family patterns

Displaying family patterns in a genogram can pave the way for client education about risky behavior. Highlighting a family tendency of alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, 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. A genogram indicating that a teenage client with no sense of consequences has a natural mother who was an alcoholic will help you be on the lookout for other of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome symptoms. These patterns may also show unresolved problems that require attention such as bereavement or neglect.  

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. Not only will you be able to make a careful family risk assessment, but clients will be able use this tool as a lens to look at themselves in the context of their family. Once you have included a genogram in their personal file, it can continue to serve as a "family scorecard" for subsequent sessions. The social worker who scans a client's genogram before a counseling session can quickly review the basic family situation. For example, the needs of a household where the father is incarcerated and has a history of domestic violence will be quite different from those of a single-parent family in financial crisis. By using GenoPro, you will be able to quickly evaluate what needs can be satisfied by family resources, and what social resources will need to be provided to the families in need.

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