An ecomap is a graphical depiction of family life and how it is influenced by the external world. These simple diagrams can be used to describe familial, social and communal relationships within the context of a social intervention program. The diagrams are usually drawn by the family together with a social worker.

Step 1

Draw a large circle in the center of the board. Within the circle, describe the main characteristics of each family member. Use squares to depict males and circles to depict females . Within each circle, write the name of the family member and their age.

Step 2

Describe the quality of the relationship between family members. This can be done by using lines between the squares and circles representing members. A solid line represents a strong connection and a dashed line represents a weak connection. Lines with crosses through them are used to depict stressful relationships. Arrows can be used to depict flow of energy or interest.

Step 3

Identify any extended family and friends. Place these names outside of the immediate family circle. Use the lines described in Step 2 to represent the nature of the relationships between immediate family members and extended members and friends.

Step 4

Identify environmental and social systems or institutions that influence family life. Examples may include church, school, work or welfare support agencies. Draw lines between the external systems and each of the family members. The ecomap is now complete. The diagram should give a good overview of how family members interact with each other as well as their environment.