The efficacy of this multigenerational genogram is well established as an assessment and intervention tool within family therapy. As an assessment tool, it is used to gather and compile information about the family over several generations into a manageable format. The therapists have come to use the genogram for recordkeeping, assessing families and designing strategic interventions. Wachtel (1982) in line with this suggested using genogram as a “quasi projective technique” in family therapy, revealing unarticulated fears, wishes and values of the individual in the family. The therapist could identify the family issues, patterns and assumptions that had possible relevance to current situation.
Watts and Shrader (1998) explored the presence of violence against women in Zimbabwe and Latin America in quantitative and qualitative study. These researchers offered genograms as a research interview tool to document patterns of decision-making, conflict and vulnerability within families. The genogram was found to be a useful way to obtain a structured, visual representation of complex patterns of association and interaction between individuals; a concise way of summarizing much of the data collected, and in both studies it was often used as a reference tool when reviewing questionnaires or during follow-up interviews with the same respondent along with use for respondents with limited literacy skills. In addition to this, McGoldrick et al. (2008) sees genogram primarily as an interpretive tool that enables clinicians to generate and assess suppositions about the family’s functioning as it provides a rich source hypothesis about how a clinical problem may be linked to family history, behaviour and relationships, and how issues evolve over time. Also, it has been used to promote change in families through facilitating the generation of hypotheses and the development of a systemic understanding of the family’s issues, leading to avenues for therapeutic intervention (Beck, 1987; Erlanger, 1990; Kuehl, 1995; McGoldrick et al., 2008; Wachtel, 1982).
Foster et al (2002) considered the conjoint processing of genogram as more important than just obtaining information about the client’s family history and consequently developed manualized five session genogram interview for premarital couples using a Bowen’ systems approach. The genogram interview carried out appeared to improve couples relationship with each other and their families of origin. Burlay &Joanne (2014) studied therapist’s experience of using the genogram in systemic family and couples therapy and for the same 10 qualified Family Therapists were interviewed discussing their experiences. This study found that genograms were used in some of the ways described in the literature: engagement ( Carter, 1978; Bowen &Kerr, 1988; Khait, 2000 Banmen, 2002; McGoldrick, 2003) information gathering ( Starkley,1981; Stanion, Papadopoulos & Bor, 1997) hypothesizing and intervention (like, Rogers, & McGoldrick, 1988; Marlin, 1989; Wachtel, 1982) aimed at cognitive change.