Family of Origin (FOO) refers to our family system in childhood, our moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, etc. FOO  therapy involves tracing present-day issues back to family functioning.   EXAMPLE: Poor emotion processing around anger in you now  could come from FOO dynamics with high conflict parents. 

EXERCISE 1 Sometimes it is helpful to make a “genogram” to map your family tree in terms of relational dynamics as a starting point. Use this template to explore the connections in your family:

EXERCISE 2: Add some relationship details to your genogram that help you understand intergenerational patterns that might still be affecting you today, Here are some genogram symbols to consider, but by all means, these are not the only ones available. Thus, if you need more, a quick google search of genogram markers can add to the story of your family history. You might even make some up if needed!


Families often subconsciously manage sstress by assigning roles to the offspring, and they themselves have roles in their own FOO. Close your eyes and imagine yourself as a child being in the physical presence of your mother. After describing your mother, close your eyes and imagine again yourself as a child being in the physical presence of your father/other caregivers.  List nouns and adjectives to describe each, to describe yourself, your siblings.  What role do you think you have in the family (see below)? What roles do your parents play in their families? Are any of these roles undesirable (see below)? 


1.What sort of relationship patterns do you observe in your FOO? What roll do you have?

2. What special markers might you add to your map to help you track patterns better? 

3. 'How do you currently  reflect the negative and positive traits of your FOO? What would you like to be different?

4. Why effect do you think therapy might have had on your family if you could go back in time? 

If you want help processing and restructuring your family experience, reach out to me for family of origin coaching appointments. 


It is safe to be me in my famil,y, even if they see me differently than I see me. 

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