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April 28, 2009

Genograms & “Rachel Getting Married”

I did a guest lecture last Tuesday evening in an undergraduate Family Psychology course on “The Clinical Use of Genograms.” After a brief introduction to Bowenian family systems theory and the feminist Bowenians, I used a recent film directed by Jonathan Demme, “Rachel Getting Married,” to build Rachel and Kim’s family diagram together as a class.

Using selected clips from the film, we slowly learned more about Rachel and Kim’s family – adding to the family diagram with each progressive film clip. It was a great film to use to illustrate some of the salient themes in intergenerational family therapy using a feminist family therapy framework. Doing the lecture made me realize just how much I miss my clinical work. I really hope to get back to it at some point. At the end of the lecture, I asked the students to write down 1 to 3 famous families to use for my upcoming Family Identity summer course. I was glad I took this opportunity to learn from them because they came up with families I would have never thought to use: the Obamas, the Osbournes, the Jacksons, the Jolie-Pitts, and the Hiltons. A couple of students also suggested the Clintons; they were the only family on my list that I was planning on using. What a great way to get at family identity – through famous families in popular culture.