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February 20, 2018

Family Crest/Motto: A Client Exercise

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Every person is born into a family of chance, and at some point after early adulthood creates a family of choice. These two family systems both have family scripts and/or cognitive and emotional accents that can be reduced to a family crest or motto. An example would be hard works pay off.

Take a moment to think in a few words what the family crest/motto would be over your family of origin. Trust your intuition to let that family crest/motto come to you fairly quickly. It is essentially based upon the sum total of experiences that come from that family system. Those experiences have both a cognitive and emotional component to them; some are mild, some are more intense; some are of short and some are of long duration. Like a recipe, those experiences will create a finished product. Examine whether the family crest/motto is more positive or negative. A client of mine recently defined their family of origin crest/motto as, "Chaos without purpose." Another client had the crest/motto, "Love will help us in everything."

After you have completed this first part of the exercise, now think about what you would like your family crest/ motto to be in your family of choice. This is the family-relationship system that you choose to create. This family crest/motto needs a bit more thoughtfulness. Take some time to ponder how the family crest/motto in your family of choice might be different from the family crest/motto in your family of chance. Think about what steps you might need to take to alter the process. Examine if you have already established a primary crest/motto in your own life and whether or not you might like to change it. Again ask yourself, what would I need to do to alter the family crest/motto?

You can become more of a choice maker, more of an artist or director in your own life, by exploring what you would like your own "family crest/motto" to be. In doing this exercise, you can become more aware of thematic directions in your life.