In Family Systems Theory, we can use a tool called the Genogram across a time line for assessment. It’s one of the things I learned up at Pacifica Graduate Institute during my training in 1996. We use it as a tool to look into “history” of the client, so, it is a way of looking at the presenting problem and getting back story on the Family. So over the first few sessions we are able to get a really clear picture of who the person is. In this respect, let’s use it to look at kids across a spectrum of child development across time. So, let’s just use 100 years as a timeline.
In 1922, children basically had parents who were watching movies, and they were listening to the radio. They listened to records, as well. For toys the kids didn’t have the kinds of things they have now. We can use an old Warner Brothers clip, to look at say, kids way back when. In my grandparent’s era, and the kids “playing.”
Let’s fast forward, because – how kids are looking at “outside world” or cultural surround, is that they are looking at character studies on film in the movies! In the characters of “live humans” and they were probably taken to the movies, to see this on the big screen, as an amusement, or a treat. Kids depicted way back then would have been many parents of the kids during the post WW2 Baby Boom – who give birth into the late 50’s and early 60’s, across the globe. By 1960, most households have access to a television. In California, there were 13 channels at that time. Let’s break the genogram into segments of time.
Early color television from the 1950’s. We are still looking at the “human figure” – you can also see early Ed Sullivan.
People are going to the movies, and watching shows on TV. It’s 1954. Let’s fast forward to 1974 along the timeline.
Piaget refers in his theories on Child Development, that the child has up to age nine – the period of “imaginal” thinking. We will be looking into what has been in the cultural surround in later decades soon. In the writer’s own childhood, there were cartoons on television in the era that is 1960’s, and we are also watching Disney Films as character studies. For me this began at “Fantasia” so we are looking at TV as “spectacle” and also art. On something like 13 channels. Computers will not become “toys” for my generation, but by 1984, they will be, in the cultural surround. It was Robert Sardello’s work, when I was up at Pacifica, that sparked a paper for Dr. Mary Watkins.
I went to buy a first computer at Circuit City, in 1995, strictly for Graduate School because it would be easier to write papers, and Apple Performa was what I got at a now defunct store then called Circuit City. I was struck by the wall of images presented to me, and I saw my first shooter game? So I wrote about that on child development for Dr. Watlkin’s class. So let’s think of this as “research.”
In the paper, I quoted Sardello in a piece he wrote for the NYT in 1984, on sociopathy that might result in children if computers were all they had? I wrote about that earlier, so you can read me on that here https://valentinebonnaire.com/2009/03/13/ecopsychology-assessment-children-sardello-research-from-america-in-the-wake-of-germanys-tragedy/.
So let’s fast forward now on that genogram.
Let’s take a look at what Fantasia became in that childhood, with birth date 1997 as global.
Let’s use this show, and compare with the first clip of “Spanky and Our Gang” from the top clip. We are looking at the same thing, but, the human figure is shown in the sky as a babyfaced sun. Listen to how the “sounds” are shown, and how the cartoon figures “play” as learning as well as look at the sets. It’s a very different world, isn’t it? Then we are going to fast forward to the “games” they will play in year 2007. Piaget felt that at age 10, children reach “cognition.”
Let’s look at the games the kids play in 2007, based on the next clip. we can see how different the toys became, after 1984.
So, this sort of game? Is what the kids played at ‘cognition” — for my generation, at age 10, it was board games. These had not been invented yet. As we think of the school shootings, such as the one that happened at UCSB, another of my Alma Maters my interest as a scholar is to return to Sardello’s posit. Anyway, what I want to do, is help solve this. If in the top clip here, we have a tele-baby in the sky, as a pre-verbal child “watching” — we are not seeing a human figure. We have “blob’ animations that talk baby talk, in a sense. They present as in a kind of space ship as earth house. When clips are shown of actual children at a beach playing – that is “reality” for the kids. So in the second clip, we are looking at what the kids might play as games, in 2007. At age ten.
Why I used the genogram?
Show differences along a timeline.
Questions might be:
For this generation – Can they hear or see “the natural world.”
Were they diagnosed and put on medications simply because of the world they were born into?
If so, for the child at 2007 who is ten, let’s give a birthdate of 1997, and then insert 9/11 as outer real life cultural surround. They are three to four years old, that year. So, this is me in 2014 talking about a treatment plan we could build, that uses Art and Narrative Therapy using the web itself.