Lesson One-A
Who am I? - My Family


Participants develop a description of their life situation and the dynamics of relationships within their extended family.

 1. Check on the homework from the previous session. Ask participants if they became aware of how their "family" might be influencing their current life situation? Have some participants share their insights.

Introduce the work for today. Today, we will learn how to use a tool for organizing and describing our family. Families are networks of relations - people connected to people across time. Family relations have had and continue to have significant influence on the direction, focus, and action in our lives. We want to examine our family network because the resources of our family will be important in our journey out of poverty.

Our family is one of the primary sources of information about who we are. From our parents and relatives, we have learned values, traditions, expectations, and many other beliefs about our selves and the world itself. From our family, we experience obligations and support, we exchange tangible and intangible goods and services, we affirm certain identities and roles. Interestingly, the influence of the family operates in the background i.e., we don't consciously think about it much. Nonetheless, the family shapes and confirms our sense of who we are. It is not however, the entire picture of who we are, and in some instances our sense of family may contain things that are not true and no longer helpful. In looking at our family, we want to examine what is there, so we can "keep the best and discard the rest."

 3. How many of you know what a "family tree" is? What are they used for? A genogram is like a family tree. The big difference is that genograms use a combination of symbols, connecting lines and brief messages to describe in a systematic way the organization of a family. Distribute and refer to "About My Family" handout (p. 33). Walk participants through the example on the handout. Have them use the legend to interpret the information on the genogram. Encourage participants to ask questions.
 4. Share a genogram of you and your family.

Lead participants through the process of constructing a genogram. Follow the instructions on the handout. The finished genogram should include the following features:

a. You, your children and their fathers

b. Your parents and your brothers and sisters

c. Your grandparents (father and mother)

d. The parents of your children's father(s)

e. Your children's children (if applicable)

f. Your in-laws

g. Important details about each of the person on the chart, including name, date of birth, date of death, cause of death, significant identity, impact on you and or your children.

 6. As participants finish constructing their genograms, review them individually. Help participants conplete any missing parts, and get their impressions of their work.
 7. After everyone has finished, break participants into groups of three. Have each member of the group describe their family to the other two participants. The other participants are to listen for the purpose of helping the participant recognize some of the assets, resources, and strengths that their family has. They are also to listen and point out areas where the family's influence may be negative, distressing, and not helpful. Finally, they should be listening for the aspects of the family that if altered might creat untapped, new resources and support for the person.


Participants are to write down a list of the following:

a. Assets, resources, and strengths of my family

b. Negative, distressing, and not helpful influences to be avoided

c. Potentially new and untapped resources.



Distribute the Self-Worth Checklist. Ask participant to reflect on their behavior during this session and honestly rate themselves. Ask them to place their evaluations in their portfolios and return them to the file cabinet.