The Genogram Casebook


The Genogram Casebook: A Clinical Companion to Genograms: Assessment and Intervention

published by W. W. Norton, 2016.


Given the increasing popularity of genograms in the training and practice of social work, medicine, psychology, nursing, counseling and many related fields, including education, there is a need for a clinical primer that articulates exactly how to use genograms in practice.

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This book is a companion to Genograms and The Genogram Journey, but it focuses specifically on clinical issues of everyday practice: engagement, mastering resistance, de-triangling, dealing with conflicts, and helping clients repair cutoffs. The Genogram Casebook assumes the reader is already familiar with the graphics of genograms and the various patterns they show, through Genograms: Assessment and Intervention, and with the possibilities of reconnecting with your family through the exploration of your own genogram, as laid out in The Genogram Journey: Reconnecting with your Family. Here we explore the use of genograms for engaging and working with clients in therapy.

This book is also a companion to several videotapes, including Harnessing the Power of Genograms (available at www.Psychotherapy.Net), which demonstrates a first session with a client who comes to therapy not seeing his genogram as relevant to his presenting problem of distancing from his wife. It draws also on the multi-session demonstration of working with a remarried family Legacies of Unresolved Loss: A Family Systems Approach, another example of using a genogram in clinical work with a family that has come to therapy not seeking to understand their genogram but rather to resolve the issues of their teenage daughter. In fact, the genogram becomes pivotal in understanding and mapping out the moves to help the family resolve their issues and move on. This book is a companion also for the video Assessment and Engagement in Family Therapy (also available at www.Psychotherapy.Net), an illustration of engaging a Latino immigrant family over the first several clinical sessions. Excerpts of transcripts of several of these video clips are offered in the text.



“With clarity, depth and heart, this book shows us how the genogram can be used to engage clients, master resistance, restore broken connections, and help our clients (and ourselves) resolve issues and move forward. The genogram Casebook is so rich in theory and practical advice that as soon as I finished reading it, I started again.”

HARRIET LERNER, PhD., Author of The Dance of Anger


“Monica McGoldrick has long been a leader in developing, perfecting and utilizing the genogram in understanding and working with complex and difficult family relationship issues. With the publication of her long-awaited Genogram Casebook, she is at the very acme of her expertise and career. Her superbly detailed, clinically rich casebook is a must-read textbook on how the genogram can be skillfully and insightfully used to help individuals, couples, and families explore and resolve some of their most difficult relationship issues. This book should be an essential companion, instructor, and wise supervisor for therapists at all levels of experience.”

DeWITT BALDWIN, JR. M.D., Professor emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Nevada Medical School.


“The Genogram Casebook is like having a personal conversation with Monica McGoldrick. She makes Bowen theory come alive as she shows how to help clients move beyond their immediate situations to connect with a broader sociohistorical sense of self. The goal? To be able to create the kind of connection our clients want in life. This book is so very helpful—full of wisdom and step-by-step advice for how to build relationships founded on self-responsibility and openness to learn about another.”

Carmen Knudson-Martin, PhD, Professor and Director, Marriage, Couple & Family Therapy Program, Lewis & Clark College


“Today genograms have been fully integrated into most family systems models and are an essential starting point in couples and family therapy. McGoldrick’s Genogram Casebook, however, is not just a manual about how to use genograms. It is literally the best guide for how to do family practice I have ever seen. Grounded in the ever-evolving Bowen family systems model, to which McGoldrick is a major contributor, this casebook takes the reader on a therapeutic tour from personal/professional preparation through engagement and assessment, to multiple models and examples of highly effective treatment. This is now the textbook for how to conduct family therapy.”

James Robert Bitter, Professor of Counseling, East Tennessee State University

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