Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Genograms: They Work for Cartoons, Too

A recent post at Megan's Roots World mentioned genograms, which put me in mind of a shareware program called GenoPro that lets you diagram your family's dysfunction quickly and easily.

A GenoPro genogram can be a simple family tree with some additional medical information, or a complex web of diseased relations and regrettable affairs. Every sort of relationship is allowed—including "Non-sentimental cohabitation" and "Temporary relation/One night stand." You can also specify the emotional relationship between any two individuals, whether healthy (In Love, Best Friends) or unhealthy (Hostile, Indifferent/Apathetic). Even pets can be listed—in which case being "In Love" might also be unhealthy.

Here's a quick example I threw together for the Simpsons. As you can see, Homer and Marge are very much in love, but Homer has a "Close-Violent" relationship with his son ("The two individuals have frequent contacts, yet argue and have violent behavior when together"). Communication is limited between Homer and daughter Maggie, probably because of "lifestyle differences." And Bart and Lisa's relationship is characterized by distrust—as is that between the family's dog and the latest incarnation of their cat. I've colored one corner of Homer's symbol blue to signify an ongoing addiction to alcohol. Dead pets are omitted.

GenoPro is free to use for 30 days, and free to own for $39.


Genopro is a great program. I used it to make a diagram of the family tree until it became too difficult to add new ancestors I'd found (adding new relatives is ... er ... relatively easy. I hadn't realized they no longer offer a totally free version, even after 30 days. But then, I was surprised when I'd first found it that there was a free version at all. Definitely worth $40.

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