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Family of Origin
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Purpose of this assignment: This assignment has become a ?classic? assignment in the USC School of Social Work program. In order for you to help your clients and their familial patterns, you need to have done this work on a personal level as well. By understanding your family and who you are within this family context you are able to identify counter-transference reactions with your clients which is an ethical responsibility of social work practice. Many social workers believe, ?you cannot bring a client further than you have brought yourself?. By exploring and reflecting on our own experiences, including factors of resilience and risk, this assignment will highlight ways in which we can be more empathetic towards ourselves and others.
General instructions: This assignment requires you to apply the concepts and theories discussed in Social Work class to your family of origin. In order to complete this assignment you will need to conduct at least two interviews of family members. You may interview parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, or cousins. Please discuss confidentiality with your interviewees, get permission to use the interview material, and offer to change names if they so desire.
Instructions for paper:
Section one: (One page) Produce a detailed *Genogram of your family of origin covering at least three generations.
*For Genogram there are some websites are useful and free:
Genogram Software (Genogram Analytics) http://www.genogramanalytics.com/examples_genograms.html (this is Windows and Mac OS compatible)
Genogram Software (Wingeno) http://www.wingeno.org/download.html (this is Windows and Mac OS compatible)
Genogram Software (Genopro) http://www.genopro.com/genogram/
Section two: (3-4 pages) Please choose 3-4 items from the list below and conduct a systemic analysis of your family of origin from a structural and systems perspective.
1. Boundaries
2. Hierarchies, power
3. Subsystems
4. Alliances (coalitions, camps)
5. Rules (implicit and explicit)
6. Attachment styles
7. Family myths
8. Significant losses
9. Communication styles and patterns
10. Resources
11. Intergenerational patterns
You must give specific behavioral examples to back up your analysis. For example, it is not sufficient to state that there were strong intergenerational boundaries, rather, you should discuss the specific behaviors that demonstrated that those boundaries existed.
Section three: (2-4 pages) Select an underlying theme that may characterize your family which has influenced your empathy towards others. You may or may not have discussed it in section 2. For example, you may not have discussed immigration or poverty in section 2 but would like to make this your theme in this section. Research this theme and discuss how it impacts families in general and specifically impacted your family. You may create your own theme or select from the following list:
1. The effects of alcoholism or addiction on the family
2. Gay and lesbian families
3. Blended family issues
4. Single-parent family
5. The effects of violence or abuse
6. Poverty and the family
7. Family secrets
8. Legacies of loss
9. The role of ritual in the family
10. Birth order
11. Cultural themes
12. The effects of mental or physical illness on the family
13. Gender roles within the family
14. Family stories and the construction of meaning
15. Models of marriage
16. Enmeshment and disengagement
17. Emotional milieu within the family
In completing this section you will need to cite at least three scholarly articles and/or books that address the theme you are discussing. You will also need to give specific behavioral examples to illustrate your theme as it plays out in your family of origin.
Papers should be double spaced, APA 6th Edition, 12 point Times New Roman Font, 1? margins. Papers may be written in the 1st person and must include a minimal of 6 scholarly works (at least 3 in Section 3).

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