MONTREAL, April 1, 2006 — Genograms—the visual depiction of information about family members and their relationships over three or more generations—can serve as a valuable assessment tool for therapists, particularly when working with families with cultural or ethnic backgrounds that differ from the therapist's, Sherri Muchnick, Ph.D., told attendees of the American Counseling Association 2006 Convention.

“By understanding the richness and culture of the family, the therapist can collaborate with the family to find solutions that fit within the family's belief and value system,” said Dr. Muchnick, a core faculty member with the human services online degree program, focusing on counselor education, at Capella University, an accredited* online university that helped pioneer online education.

Genograms go beyond the familiar “family tree” used in genealogy, said Dr. Muchnick. In a genogram, symbols represent gender and various lines show marriages, separations, divorces and other relationships. Additional lines depict the emotional nature of the relationship between family members and, as clients tell their story, family strengths and resources are identified. In this way, said Dr. Muchnick, genograms provide a conceptual framework that enable the therapist to think systematically about how events and relationships are related to patterns of health and illness.

Dr. Muchnick, a licensed marriage and family therapist and a mental health counselor for more than 25 years, has extensive teaching experience in the distance learning environment and in workshop, seminar and counselor training venues. Dr. Muchnick is a board member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's California division (AAMFT-CA).

CACREP accredited
Capella University was the first online university to receive accreditation for two master's degree specializations in counseling from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Capella's mental health counseling specialization received accreditation in 2003, and the marital, couple and family therapy specialization in 2005. CACREP, the independent accrediting arm for the American Counseling Association, extended accreditation to both specializations at Capella through 2011, the longest accreditation term granted by CACREP.

About Capella University
Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited* online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services and psychology, as well as a Bachelor of Science online degree program with 11 specializations in business and information technology. The online university currently serves more than 14,500 enrolled learners from all 50 states and 63 countries. Capella is a national leader in online education, committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552)

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456,