How to Create an Ecomap

Written by jon stefansson
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How to Create an Ecomap
Ecomaps can help illustrate the relationships in your life. (people image by Brett Bouwer from

Ecomaps are graphical representations of personal relationships. Usually, the subject of an ecomap is represented in the middle of the diagram, while other people are illustrated elsewhere on the page. The subject of the ecomap then draws different types of lines to each of the people on the page to represent different relationships. When completed, ecomaps help illustrate the relationships and resources in a person's life. Making your own ecomap is a simple process and should only take a few minutes.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Write the subject of the ecomap's name in the middle of the paper. Draw a circle around the name.

  2. 2

    Write the names of important people in the subject's life around the page. Draw circles around them too.

  3. 3

    Add circles for the systems to which you or the subject are connected, such as church, school, job, social groups or a neighbourhood.

  4. 4

    Draw lines connecting each of the people and systems to the subject. A thick line or two parallel lines represent a strong relationship, a dotted line represents an uncertain or tenuous relationship and a single line represents a weak relationship.

  5. 5

    Add arrowheads to the lines. The arrows are used to indicate a drain or provision of resources. For example, resources being drained by the subject of the ecomap have an arrow pointing toward the subject. Resources being provided by the subject have an arrow pointing away from the subject.

  6. 6

    Add stress lines. If a relationship, regardless of strength and flow of resources, is considered stressful by the subject, add a wavy pattern on top of the existing connection lines.

  7. 7

    Share the ecomap with a trusted friend, social worker or counsellor. Social workers or counsellors can provide feedback and analyse the health of each relationship illustrated on the ecomap.

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