The Family Ecomap Explained (With Examples & Template)

Published January 19, 2021
family sitting on therapy session

A family ecomap serves as a visual representation of a family's social environment. It is often used in the context of family counseling, mental health treatment, or medical intervention to help the family better understand their relationship with their social environment, how much support they have, and what social aspects may need improvement.

Family Ecomap

A family ecomap can be filled out by a clinician or a medical professional to better understand their client and offer them insights into their social environment. Individuals and families can also fill out ecomaps as a way to visualize their family in a social context.

What Is an Ecomap of a Family?

A family ecomap places the family in the middle of the ecomap graphic or drawing and links the family or individual family members to their social environment using various lines. Doing so serves as an understandable visual of the family's connection to their social environment and highlights areas that may be lacking. Understanding your own family ecomap can help you further process where your family can improve socially in terms of support, community engagement, as well as social service programs.

How Do You Create a Family Ecomap?

Ecomaps will vary in terms of complexity, but in general, an ecomap will have a key that offers symbols, as well as multiple circles that can be filled in to create a sort of web of connection between the family and their social environment. To create a family ecomap:

  • Create your key- this will vary from simple to more complex depending on your needs
  • Begin by drawing a circle in the middle of your page and adding the family's name in the center of the circle
  • Use different lines, based on your key, to differentiate the types of relationships connected to the family
  • Each relationship circle should be connected to the family with various lines

You can also consider downloading a printable template that you can easily fill in. Keep in mind, that family ecomaps are meant to be simple and easy to read.

What Should Be Included in an Ecomap?

In an ecomap, you may consider including:

  • Schooling
  • Extended family members
  • Friends
  • Place of worship if applicable
  • Medical health services
  • Social services
  • Community engagement
  • Social clubs
  • Sports teams
  • Hobbies
  • Place of work

What Is the Difference Between a Genogram and an Ecomap?

A genogram is a visualization of a family tree which includes relational intimacy, medical history, and mental health history. Using a genogram, one is able to better understand hereditary and pervasive familial patterns. Genograms are a bit more complex than ecomaps and do not focus on the social environment, but rather stick to the family and extended family's history. Both genograms and ecomaps may be filled out by mental health clinicians, as well as medical professionals to help with diagnosing and/or assessing a family or individual.

Family Ecomap Example

Family ecomap examples can be helpful if you haven't created an ecomap before and aren't sure how to do so.

Family Ecomap Example 1
Family Ecomap Example 2

Family Ecomap Template

Using a family ecomap template can make filling out an ecomap a bit more streamlined. This ecomap can be downloaded, printed, and filled in.

Family Ecomap Printable Template

The Ecomap

The ecomap is a helpful assessment tool for both medical and psychological professionals who would like a visual representation of a family's social environment and relationships. Families may also choose to fill out their own ecomap to understand their own families a bit better.

The Family Ecomap Explained (With Examples & Template)