Biography Guidelines

Enquire about the following life periods and events, including relationship with parents, siblings and immediate family in these periods: conception, pregnancy and birth; infancy; starting school; grade school; high school; puberty; adolescence; leaving high school; leaving home; young adulthood; career choice and changes; tertiary education; adult life; marriage/partnership; midlife; later life.

You should pursue details of problematic relationship with family figures, which will have been indicated in the personal history. Especially note: early maternal relationship; any sexual or physical abuse; authority issues; family roles; nourishment issues; attitudes to body, touch, sex; attitudes to work; general cultural or ethnic orientation; attitudes to spirituality; attitudes to drugs, alcohol.

You should pursue themes of illness, medical treatment, hospitalizations, medications, family problems, therapy, relocations, financial crises, family deaths, friendships, romantic relationships, sex, traumatic incidents, violence, hobbies, interests, sport or martial arts background, drug and alcohol use, what kind of music do they like, ask them to tell about a movie they liked, literary and art interests, any other relevant items that would give an idea of who the client is through details of their history.

You should give some idea of the clients extended family background, particularly grandparents, but also uncles and aunts, what kind of people they are or were, noting particularly people with any problems (such as mental health problems), unusual characteristics or particular strengths and gifts, such as psychic experiences, academic or business success, relationship success or failure, and what the individuals meant to the client.