Connecting to an Unknown Matrilineal Genealogy: Responding to the Intuitive Voice – Gerardo Canul


Researchers have identified various variables to understand the influence of intergenerational history and in particular the mother-child relationship on a person’s identity, developmental, and many other important psychological parts (Antonovsky, 1959; Ainsworth, 1969; Bowlby, 2012). Psychoanalysis serves the purpose of at minimum of increasing awareness of unconscious patterns, behaviors, and/or emotions. Yet, exploring the potential of an ethnographic research approach that emphasizes listening to one’s intuition and deeply reflecting on one’s history and identity development is less practiced (Cunningham and Carmichael, 2018; Epstein, 2010). A self-reflective examination of maternal history and the role of culture and religion in maintaining an unknown and emotional distance has been absent in my ethnographic research. Chan (2002) proposes that there is an advantage to the child when there is a positive relationship between a mother and the maternal grandmother. Finlay (2002) proposes that learning through reflection presents an opportunity for various options for pursue a reflexive experience. While the focus of my qualitative research into my Mayan history has been dominant the glaring absence of a matrilineal genealogy examination is undoubtable (Canul, 2017). Utilizing photographs, examination of Catholic core beliefs, and Mexican American core cultural values has provided the context for an exploration of the relationship between self, mother, and maternal grandmother. The results of this self-reflection identify the potential parts that have held back integrating a maternal family history.

Short bio:

A licensed clinical psychologist with several years of teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Canul brings a balance of theory and practical information to his work. His interest areas are ethics, child psychology, and Latinx mental health.

Dr. Canul also provides mental health and consulting services to individuals, agencies, and courts throughout the Southern California area. His current area of researching non-traditional interventions in mental health—using images to facilitate the identification and expression of sensory and deeply felt experiences and emotions.