The Genogram help in couple therapy


I’ve started to share some useful facts about the Genogram, my favorite tool in psychotherapy. It helps me establish a good connection with my clients. The tool is designed to create 3 points of dialogue for many of the life situations my clients come to therapy with.


In couples therapy I use the Genogram to discover and highlight the attachment styles of each partner in the couple. Attachment style is how people attach to each other and how they experience relationships with each other.


You may have asked yourself the question, “Why do I always attract the wrong people?”


There are four basic types of attachment:


1. Secure or safe attachment – people feel safe and fulfilled in their relationships, they feel comfortable talking about their feelings, what they are experiencing and their needs. These people are able to maintain stability in relationships, but also to exit from inappropriate relationships in a healthy way.


2. Anxious Attachment: – people frequently have difficulty maintaining balance in their relationships, they find it difficult to identify and express their emotional states. They tend to cling emotionally to their partner and “claim” love from their partner in many ways (they often ask if they are loved).


3. Avoidant attachment: – people frequently avoid closeness in relationships, avoid staying longer or constant periods of time in emotional closeness or find it difficult to relate on an emotional level. Such people can carry through concrete, real situations and find it harder to get in touch with their emotional states. Emotions are unfamiliar territory for avoiders, especially uncomfortable ones that they have become accustomed to hiding. Avoiders will only feel the need to live emotionally or establish closeness when they are at a distance. In close proximity, they quickly consume the intensity of emotions and again have the need to emotionally withdraw from the relationship.


4. The disorganized style is the most difficult style. These people find it very difficult to ask for help and to self-regulate emotionally. They give in easily to stressful situations and react unpredictably. They find it hard to express love for their partner and are often insensitive to the other person’s needs.


With the help of the genogram and the right questions, we can identify attachment styles by asking about their relationships with their family, so that they can understand what influenced them in their childhood and what form that something took that left its mark on their emotional side. That something that prompts conflict actually has a name characteritics and can be influenced towards healthy change.