Genogram Hernandez Family

Genogram: Hernandez Family

Social workers have the unique skills and knowledge on accessing family issues and strategizing ways to find the underlying causes to these problems. It is important for the social workers to not only ask about the family’s practices, but to ask questions regarding family history and cultural values and beliefs. In the case study of the Hernandez family, this proved to be an intricate part of building a rapport with the family and helping them to find their strengths within the conflict. Juan and Elena Hernandez were contacted by ACS because their son, Juan Jr., informed the school social worker about ways his parents punishes his brother and him. Juan and Elena make the children kneel in a corner holding two heavy books for approximately two hours. The ACS worker informed them that the punishment they used was a concern and informed them they needed to attend parenting classes and family sessions. This caused Juan and Elena to become upset because “they both felt they had done nothing wrong, and they stated that they were only punishing their children as they were punished as children in Puerto Rico” (Plummer, 2014). The way they were brought up, how much they express they love their children and how hard they work for their children were major arguing points for Juan and Elena. They did not believe how they raised or punished their children was wrong but after speaking with intake social worker, their views of their upbringing and how they truly felt about it brought a new perspective on how their children felt because it was how they felt about their parents. It is imperative that social workers not judge their clients without a clear understanding of the how and why they behave in the manner they do. Cultural competence is important when helping clients from different backgrounds and this was a key element with the Hernandez family.

According to Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, a genogram “is a graphic way of investigating the origins of a client’s problem by diagramming the family over at least three generations. The genogram is a useful tool for the worker and family members to examine problematic emotional and behavioral patterns in an intergenerational context” (2016). As a social worker, the genogram would serve as an outline to help chart where the possible problem began and, as it is built, will be the visual aid the client may need to start making the connections to their behavior. In the case of the Hernandez Family, both Juan and Elena shared that they were punished in the same manner by their parents that they punished their children. As they spoke more about their childhood, their past feelings began to resurface and a better understanding of how their children were feeling became clear. This can be a tool that promotes clarity for the client and help motivate them to be open to new techniques to apply in their lives. The genogram can help them make the connection needed to finally identity past family patterns and work on new positive approaches.


Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., Brocksen S. (Eds.). (2014). Sessions: Case histories.
Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader]. “The Hernandez Family” (pp. 3–5)

Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA:  Cengage Learning.

m 7 yrs

Made report at school

that initated ACS