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Toward an African American Genogram



    1. Family Institute of Westchester, Mt. Vernon NY. Send correspondence and reprint requests to the author, Associate Psychologist, now at Rockland Children's Psychiatric Center, Orangeburg NY 10962.
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  • I wish to thank Amy Bibb, Randy Hill, and Barbara Dorsey for their critique of an earlier version of the African American genogram. I also thank Derise Tolliver and Monica McGoldrick for their helpful comments on an earlier version of this article.


This article addresses the inadequacy of the standard genogram for African American families because of its underlying assumption that “family” is strictly a biological entity. The author suggests that this assumption is not culturally valid for African American families who have a long history of defining “family” as a kinship based on biological and functional ties. Using this conceptualization, an African American genogram is proposed.

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