We just ended our 3-day Balane Clan Reunion today. What made it special is the attendance of all the grandchildren of our great grandfather. Finally, I was able to understand my lineage and it brings about a sense of completeness knowing where you came from and what kind of life your immediate ancestors had.
I cannot overemphasize how important family is. One auntie, who practiced psychiatry in the states, shared to me how different our family set up is with that of the west. There, both parents and children await with anticipation the coming of age, that is 18. Here, we long to be with family all the time.
Of course, it has its pros and cons. One set up helps children to be independent. But they are also prone to depression and other psychological disorders. Here, connecting with family always promote a sense of roots and community and of course at times, dependency.
As a psychologist, the family tree is a very helpful tool to identify and trace psychological problems in individuals. But what we use is not an ordinary family lineage, but we call it a genogram.
A genogram is a graphic representation of a family tree that displays detailed data on relationships among individuals. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to analyze hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships.
A genogram allows a therapist and his patient to quickly identify and understand various patterns in the patientâ€™s family history which may have had an influence on the patientâ€™s current state of mind. The genogram maps our relationships that may otherwise be missed on a simple chart.
Genograms contain a wealth of information on the families represented. First, they contain basic data found in family trees such as the name, gender, date of birth, and date of death of each individual. Additional data may include education, occupation, major life events, chronic illnesses, social behaviors, nature of family relationships, emotional relationships, and social relationships.
Some genograms also include information on disorders running in the family such as alcoholism, depression, diseases, alliances, and living situations. Genograms can vary significantly because there is no limitation as to what type of data can be included.
As such, a genogram is a powerful tool and it can liberate an individual from his emotional baggage by simply understanding the dynamics of his roots; hereditarily, psychologically, emotionally, and socially.
When I met my uncles, aunties, and cousins for the first time, the commonality is undeniable. From the appearance, to their way of life. And I realized how heredity indeed can be a very significant factor in our attitude and choices in life.
Summer is not only for vacation. It is also for family reunions. I wish all those who are having their get-together this summer to truly get back to their roots and experience the healing that family connectedness brings.
P.S.1 Happy birthday to Francisco Balane Jr., my father. I praise the Lord for the 65 years of fatherhood you bestowed on us. Know that we love you and thank you.
P.S. 2 Bohol Child Head Start is now accepting enrollees for Preschool, Grade School (1-6) and SPED school. Please contact 416-1248/09295571136 or visit our website at www.boholchild.com
(By Kit Nemenzo Balane)