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Community Genograms

Using Individual, Family, and Cultural Narratives with Clients

Sandra A. Rigazio-DiGilio Allen E. Ivey Lois T. Grady Kara P. Kunkler-Peck

176 pages
Teachers College Press

The graphic representation of client experience has long been acknowledged as an invaluable therapeutic tool. In this pragmatic book, the authors have brought the use of the most widely used graphic device—the family genogram—into the wider context of community and culture, to help counselors and therapists better understand individuals and families-in-context. For clinicians as well as clients, the community genogram is a practical and versatile tool that places emphasis on the positive strengths and resources that can be brought to bear in the therapeutic process.


  • Helpful practice exercises throughout the text designed to demonstrate the power of the community genogram to complement a host of individual and systems treatment methods.
  • A variety of visual models that clients and clinicians can adapt for their own use.
  • Chapters addressing the use of genograms in relation to issues across the lifespan, across generations, and across cultures.
  • A wealth of cases and interviews that illustrate ways to use community genograms with a variety of clients, in different phases of counseling and therapy, and involving service providers.
  • Questions and strategies that can be used to determine the significant relationships, events, and situations that have shaped the clients’ experiences over time.
  • A detailed analysis of one session, showing the nuances of using a community genogram to explore issues of identity, power, and oppression.
  • Suggestions for how to use the community genogram in the service of ongoing client assessment, treatment, and evaluation.
Author Bio

Sandra A. Rigazio-DiGilio is a Professor in the School of Family Studies/Marriage and Family Therapy Program, University of Connecticut, Storrs. She also is a licensed marriage and family therapist and psychologist. Allen E. Ivey is a Distinguished University Professor (Emeritus) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Kara P. Kunkler-Peck is a family therapist and special needs educator. Lois T. Grady is an independent consultant.