Where does it come from?
The emergence of psychogenealogy as a therapeutic frame has its roots in the work of a French university lecturer, Anne Ancelin-Schutzenberger, who published a pioneering book in 1993 called "Aie, mes aieux". By carefully exploring family trees and working with the people who brought them to her, Ancelin began to uncover patterns of repetition occurring across generations within families that had a bearing on the lives and destinies of the people who consulted her.
The use of family trees in the social sciences is not new. There is a long tradition of using family trees, particularly in social work, when working with families. Family trees are most commonly used and viewed as social maps. Ancelin's innovation was to incorporate the psychological dimension into these maps with its all important unconscious component. The family tree thus became a door into the psychological territory of an individual's family group to help the individual make sense of apparently futile patterns of experience and behaviour.
Her pioneering work has been enriched and developed by a diverse group of practioners and researchers in France with a large number of publications on the subject. Ancelin often spoke about the preponderence of the birthday syndrome in families, the repetition of dates across generations where, for example, a child would be born on the same day as a grandparent had died ten years previously. A French therapist, Marc Frechet, took this observation a step further and explored the repetiton of biological cycles in family groups across generations. He noted the tendency not only of birth and death dates to be repeated, but also of conceptions dates within and across generations.
With his work, Frechet added a new layer, the biological into the field of psychogenealogy which has been developed and refined by others including Christian Fleche, emcompassing how illness in one generation may well be linked to unresolved conflicts or difficulties in former generations. The painful experience of the Pima indians in Arizona with diabetes and obesity is a sharp illustration of the process.
I am not plugging or getting any referrals but for your information, Ancelin's book was translated and published in English in 1998 under the title "The Ancestor Syndrome".