Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice Competencies
Multicultural Counseling and Soicial Justice Competencies Malcom X MuralPicture of Tibetan Woman
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Module 1: Post Assessment

The cultural genogram is designed to enhance your understanding of your own cultural heritage and history. It is similar to a traditional family genogram but with particular focus on cultural variables and experiences. Another aspect of this genogram is that it requires you to interview two significant people in your lineage (parents, grandparent, aunts, extended family, kin, etc.) regarding their cultural experiences. The instructions for the cultural genogram are outlined below. Please read through the entire exercise before beginning the interviews.

a) Choose two people who have been significant family members that have preceded you chronologically (it is best to choose someone of a previous generation who directly affected your development). This does not need to be a blood relation but should be the people who were most prominent in your early childhood. Interview them regarding their cultural experiences (Including gender, sexual orientation, religion, disabilities, social class, immigration) for at least 30 minutes. You may consider using some of the following questions but will want to modify them to be appropriate for the person you are interviewing.

1. How would you describe your cultural background or who are your people? How did that influence you and your family?

2. Who were your parents? Biological? Adopted? Unrelated kin? Where were they from? Who were their relatives? What do they remember about distant relatives?

3. If there was immigration in your family, is there a story? If your family is indigenous, is there a story?

4. What were the relationships like between members of your family and were there any issues of cultural differences?

5. What were the ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations, social class and occupations of each of the family members?

6. When did you first notice cultural differences? What were those early experiences like?

7. How was your family similar or different from those of other families in your community?

8. What are some of the stories you remember being told as a child regarding your family’s origins?

9. Did your family talk about cultural differences?

b) Write up the interview and throughout, make footnotes regarding any thoughts or memories you have related to the interviewer’s comments.

c) Create a legend to denote different genders, ethnicities, religions, disabilities, sexual orientation, immigration, etc. You can look at this for an example of the coding used on the example genogram.

d) Chart the relationships between individuals beginning with yourself. You can use the very brief example of “Mary Jeannette Tromski” to give you an idea. Please note that this example is fictious.

When you complete this activity, be sure to complete your Progress Notes

I credit my familiarity with this exercise to Don Pope-Davis and, at the same time, acknowledge that this exercise has many origins and is used widely in multicultural training.


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©Rebecca L. Toporek (2008)