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Assignment 1
Family of Origin Paper (20 points) & Infographic (5 points) – 25 Points total
Purpose of this assignment: Understanding family functioning and familial patterns will be an
important foundation in your ability to help your clients work through family problems. In order
for you to help your clients better understand their familial patterns, you need to evaluate and
assess family systems on a personal level as well. By understanding your family and who you are
within the family context you will be better prepared to identify countertransference reactions
with your clients, which is an ethical responsibility for competent social work practice. Many
social workers believe, “you cannot bring a client further than you have brought yourself”.
Therefore, this 7-11 page paper will help you to explore and reflect on your own experiences,
including factors of resilience and risk, this assignment to highlight ways in which you can be
more empathetic towards yourself and others in your work as a social worker. *Your paper is
regarded as privileged information and the information will be kept confidential.
Part 1: Family of Origin Paper (20 points)
Instructions for paper & Headings Required:
Section one: Family Origin (2-3 pages)
(a) Produce a detailed genogram of your family of origin covering at least three generations.
Please include names and ages. The genogram must include a key. At a minimum it should also
include sub-systems and alliances between family members. Boundaries between you and each
of your family members (diffuse [or enmeshed], rigid [disengaged], or clear, etc.) must also be
documented.
(b) Include a 2-3 page narrative (e.g., a bio-psycho-social-spiritual background story of your
family). Include identification with or membership in one or more racial/ethnic/cultural/religious
SW607 Spring 2022 C.Hamilton syllabus
groups, their lifestyles, socioeconomic class, education, professions/jobs, oppressed group
membership, members of at-risk population(s), where they have lived, grew up, etc. Include
other information that may be relevant: adoptions, pregnancies, separations, current locations,
etc. Use general genograms instructions to guide this section.
Section two: Subheadings required for the three topics you choose below (3-5 pages) Write
and discuss a brief illustration from a time in your childhood which exemplifies how your family
system typically operated. What was/or has its impact been on family/functioning. Family topics
you may cover include (choose 3 of these):
1. Boundaries (within the family as well as between the family and the world)
2. Family Roles (formal/informal) that each family member played in your family, how satisfied
were members about these roles and/or role changes?)
3. Subsystems (Relationships: hierarchy, triangles, alliances, subsystems. How did any factions
within your family help/hinder the family cohesion?)
4. Balance of Power (Who held it, who was subjected to it, how was power expressed/exercised,
and did power have any relation to any core problem/issue/dysfunction/strength?)
5. Rules (spoken and unspoken)
6. Family Norms
7. Communication style and patterns; Avenues of Communication (How were thoughts, feelings,
and conflicts expressed by each family member? Directly, indirectly, implicitly to some extent,
did young adults or children have a say in family decision making? Did members avoid talking
about problems, or did they openly discuss them whenever problems arise, or are they expressed
passive aggressively, etc… Was there anything taboo in your family, and not openly/comfortably
discussed or mentioned out of shame, embarrassment, etc.?)
8. Resources/ resiliency factors (What strengths did your family and each family member
possesses in terms of being able to address a core problem/etc. Think strengths based practice,
and the numerous sources of strengths that clients and their environments may provide them)
9. Intergenerational patterns
You must give specific behavioral examples to back up your analysis. For example, it is not
sufficient to just state that there were poor communication patterns, rather, you should discuss
and provide examples to the specific behaviors that demonstrated how those communications
played out and were maintained.
In completing this section, you must use at least three scholarly articles and/or books that address
the concepts you are discussing.
Section three: Reflection (2-3 pages) Write a reflection on how it was for you to look at your
family through a social work systems lens by reflectively answering the following questions:
• What have you learned about yourself as a member of your family?
• What have you learned about yourself as a social worker who will be engaging with families of
similar systems?
SW607 Spring 2022 C.Hamilton syllabus
• How has this research increased your understanding of families in general?
• Identify one or more myths you previously believed about family systems that you now know
is/are no longer valid?
• What new knowledge did you gain about families that will impact your future as a social
worker?

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