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FRHD 3400 (100)
Chapter 9

FRHD 3400 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Genogram, The Counselor, Afrocentrism

Family Relations and Human Development
Course Code
FRHD 3400
Carol Anne Hendry

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Chapter 9 Focusing the Counselling Session
Introduction to Focusing
o If you use focusing skills as defined, you can anticipate how clients may respond
Anticipated Result
Use selective attention to focus the
counseling session on the client,
theme/concern/issue, significant others
(partner/spouse, family, friends), a mutual
e fous, the ouselo, o the
cultural/environmental context. You may
also focus on what is going on in here and
now of the session
Clients tend to focus their conversation
or story on the areas that the counselor
responds to. As the counselor brings in
new focuses, the story is elaborated
from multiple perspectives. If you
selectively attend only to the individual,
the broader dimensions of the social
context are likely to be missed.
o Selective attention is basic to focusing but works in different ways.
Clients tend to talk about that which you give your primary attention
Through your attending skills (visuals, vocal tone, verbal following and body
language), you indicate to your client that you are listening and what you are
paying attention to.
Clients may follow your lead, rather than talk about what they want to.
o Counseling is first and foremost about the individual.
First focus dimension is on the individual client.
Use the liet’s ae ad the od ou to pesoalize thigs
o Do’t eoe so fasiated ith the details of that sto that
you forget about the person talking to you.
o A second area of focusing is attending to the theme, or central topic(s) , of the session.
Daig out stegths fo the liet’s eo though listeig to ad
focusing on the theme, story, or concern is a valuable part of the process
Here we draw out client stories, issues, or concerns, but also always
search for client strengths and positive assets
A wellness approach handles these issues differently.
If a client goes through a difficult even, we need to hear the details, and
often we need to hear a lengthy story.
o Just telling the story is relieving; we feel better when someone
tries and listens and understand.
o The idea of person-in-community was developed from an Afrocentric frame by
Ogbonnaya (1994), who pointed out that our family and community history and
experiences live within each of us.
This has take hold, ad e ofte hea it takes a illage to aise a hild.
The client brings to you many community voices that influence the
liet’s ie of self ad the old.
o Individual counseling usually focuses on issues of conflict, incongruity, and discrepancies
between the individual and family and friends
In addition, many client problems are caused by and related to issues and
events in a broader context, which can be missed if you focus only on the
individual and the first stores that you hear.
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o As a counselor, be aware of how you focus a counseling session and how you can
broaden the session so that clients are aware of themselves more fully in relation to
others and social systems: persons-in-relation, persons-in-community
Community Genogram
o The stoies ad issues of a othes fail, fieds, et. deepl affet the liet’s
o A good way to develop an understand of the value of focusing and enriching client
stories is the communit geoga, hih a gie us a good pitue of a liet’s
cultural background and history, thus enabling us to view the client in social context.
o Working on these genograms, your clients will gain a richer understanding of
themselves as persons in relations to others.
o The ouit geoga is a fee-fo atiit i hih liets ae eouaged to
present their community of origin or their current community
o Through this, we can better grasp the developmental history of our clients and identify
client strengths
o We can bring broader understanding and multiple perspectives to the session by what
e fous o i the liet’s life ad soial otet.
Part of what leads us to focus on certain issues is our own social context, and
past and present developmental issues can affect the counseling
You may consciously or unconsciously avoid talking about certain subjects that
make you uncomfortable, and you may do the same thing with your clients
o Identifying Personal and Multicultural Strengths
Use the community genogram as a strength and a positive asset.
Focus on the positives and identify strengths of client
Use the community genogram to search for images and narratives of strengths:
Post the community genogram on the wall during counseling sessions
Focus on one single dimension of the community or the family.
Emphasize positive stories even if the client wants to start with a
egatie sto. Do’t fous on negatives, unless the client clearly needs
to tell you a difficult story.
Help the client share one or more positive stories relating to the
community dimension selected
Develop at least two more positive images and stories from different
groups within the community.
o Consider one positive family image, one spiritual image, and
one cultural image
The family genogram
o A common strategy taught by most counseling and therapy programs, which can
elaborate the family in even more detail.
We frequently use both strategies with clients and often hang the family and
community genogram on the wall in the office during the session, thus
indicating to clients that they are not alone in the counseling session.
o Many of us have memories of family stories that are passed down through the
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