Genogram Symbols and Meanings

Unlock the power of Genogram Symbols and Meanings in understanding family dynamics, medical history, and emotional relationships. Learn how to use and interpret these symbols with our comprehensive guide today!


Use Genogram Symbols and Meanings to understand family dynamics, medical history, and emotional relationships. Learn how to use and interpret these symbols with our comprehensive guide today!

The use of symbols and diagrams for the representation of a family's relationships and medical history is called a genogram. Genograms serve a purpose in many professions, like therapists, genealogists, and medical researchers. Therapists use it to help clients understand their family, genealogists use it to research family history, and medical researchers use it to identify disease risks. So, it is crucial to understand the genogram symbols and interpret their meanings accurately.


Some of the most common genogram symbols include squares for males, circles for females, and lines for relationships. Many other symbols represent different types of relationships, such as marriage or divorce. Similarly, genogram symbols are used to show medical conditions as well. This article will provide an in-depth analysis of the different types of genogram symbols and their meanings. It will shed light on the emotional relationship and medical symbols.

If you are interested in more free genogram symbols, visit the vast symbols libraries of Wondersahre EdrawMax, a free online genogram maker.

In this article
  1. Common Genogram Symbols
  2. Tips for Using Genogram Symbols
  3. Conclusion

Part I. Common Genogram Symbols

There is a vast collection of genogram symbols that can be utilized to represent different relationships. Some basic genogram symbols to represent people and their relationships with each other are:

  • Square: Male
  • Circle: Female
  • Triangle: Pregnancy
  • Line: Relationship between family members

Some other commonly used genogram symbols include:

  • Wavy line: Divorce
  • X: Deceased

Family Genogram Symbols

When you need to represent a specific relationship between two members of a family, you will use Family genogram symbols. Some of the most commonly used family genogram symbols include:

  • Married couple: A horizontal line connecting a couple indicates a marriage. The line extends to connect the names of the two individuals.
  • Divorced couple: Two diagonal lines through the horizontal line of marriage represent a divorce or the end of a marriage.
  • Parent-child relation: When a vertical line connects the parent's symbol to the child's symbol, it represents a parent-child relationship.
  • Widowed: A diagonal line through the marriage line shows a deceased spouse in marriage.

Emotional Relationship Symbols

Genogram emotional relationship symbols represent the emotional quality of relationships between family members. Some common genogram Emotional relationship symbols include:

  1. Dashed Lines: This indicates conflict in a relationship. These lines suggest a distant emotional connection.
  2. Wavy Lines: This shows emotional issues within a relationship. This could include mental health challenges or emotional complexities.
  3. Double Lines: Indicate a close and strong emotional bond between individuals. The double lines can represent a particularly tight or supportive relationship.
  4. Vertical Lines with Small Horizontal Lines: These may represent emotional cutoffs or individuals who are emotionally detached from their families.
  5. Absence of Clear Lines or Spaces: Enmeshed relationships may be represented by the absence of clear lines or spaces between family members.

Medical Genogram Symbols

There are specific symbols in the genogram that are used to represent medical conditions in an individual. Some common medical genogram symbols include:

  • Circle or Square with a Dot in the Centre: This symbol represents an individual who is a carrier of a medical condition or health issue.
  • Half-Shaded Circle or Square: This represents an individual with a partial or incomplete medical condition. It can be cancer or heart disease, depending upon the shading.
  • Circle or Square with a Horizontal Line Through It: It represents an individual with a disability. Some other symbols represent conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Diabetes, and Depression.

Part II. Tips for Using Genogram Symbols

The vast library of symbols in Genogram can help you identify patterns, identify risks, and make better decisions about your health and well-being.

Here are some tips you can follow to make genogram symbols more effective:

Use the correct symbols:

To appropriately portray family members and ties, use the appropriate genogram symbols. If unsure about the correct use of symbols, consult a guide or an expert.

Be consistent:

For clarity, maintain consistency with chosen genogram symbols.

Use colors:

Use consistent colors to indicate information like physical issues, types of relationships, and emotional dynamics in your genogram. Include a key describing what each color means.

Add notes:

Add comments to your genogram to give more information on family members and connections, such as medical issues, dates of birth and death, and other critical details.

Remember to use symbols to represent critical events. For example, you could use a symbol to represent a divorce or a death. By using these suggestions, you can make a genogram that is both educational and meaningful to you individually. Genogram symbols can be used to represent a wide range of information.


In conclusion, genogram symbols play a vital part in expressing family dynamics. Each symbol holds a specific meaning and can convey essential information. Genogram symbols can effectively represent family history. The significance of these symbols lies in communicating complex relationships to both creators and viewers of genograms. Consistently using symbols enables individuals to grasp family structures, fostering a deeper understanding of generational patterns, medical conditions, and emotional dynamics. Genogram symbols are essentially a potent therapeutic tool for understanding family dynamics and histories.

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Freya May 23, 24
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