A social worker uses an ecomap template as a tool to visualize the family, social, school, work, religious and community relationships of an individual or family. The chart helps to identify the quality of a client’s outside relationships with the world.
To draw an ecomap, place the subject in the center of a circle, and add smaller shapes surrounding the sphere that represent family members and others that the subject has strong interactions with on a regular basis. Use squares for males and circles for females. Add work, clubs, social groups, churches and important organizations surrounding the inlaid shapes to complete the outline.
Another aspect shown on an ecomap is the strength of the relationship between individuals, organizations and the subject, represented by four different lines on the chart. A solid or double line indicates a strong, positive relationship. A jagged or hash-marked line refers to stressful and negative interactions, and a broken or thin line means that the connection is tenuous and uncertain. Some ecomaps use arrows that symbolize the flow of energy and resources in addition to the standard lines.
Ecomaps are effective for determining sources of anxiety, stress and depression and identifying hidden, informal sources of support. Download templates for free from online social work resources.