An ecomap is really more like a social support chart, according to relationship psychotherapist Elizabeth Fedrick, LPC. ““An ecological map is a tool used to create a visual representation of your social support, connections and primary relationships, as well as to identify the opportunities and areas of need for each of these connections,” he says.
When our entire social ecosystem exists only in our heads or in our phones, it is difficult to imagine the size of the circle around us. “It’s also valuable to see where you could benefit from setting boundaries in relationships or possibly reducing the amount of output and energy you provide to others,” says Fedrick.
When you know who your “people” are, you can also appear to them in more expedient, symbiotic ways. Maybe you write a friend’s name on your ecomap and think, “Wow, I haven’t missed So and So in a long time.” In this regard, the map can help you reach for broken links and strengthen them.
Last but certainly not least, your online map can show you that you are missing allies in certain areas of life. You may, for example, notice that you miss close colleagues and this inspires you to connect more with them one by one. Or you may notice that you have no training friends – so you decide to join a jogging club.
There is also a fair chance that your ecomap will benefit you in a unique way TBD. So whether you’m usually a fan of the arts or not, it’s worth a shot. Below, Fedrick explains how to create a simple online map to guide you in deepening your relationships.
See how you can complete your online map, step by step
Before you start, remember: You do not need to create your entire online map in one day (enter the truth of Rome here). “If the idea of creating a whole feels overwhelming, it would be helpful to start with the basics and then add them over time,” says Fedrick. “It would be very helpful to start with general information and then expand on it slowly.”
Take your time and try to put aside your perfectionism for now.
Step 1: Draw a large circle in the middle of your paper
Tip: This circle is you! Put your name (or just write “I”) in the middle of the circle.
Step 2: Draw smaller circles around your “I” circle.
“Start adding extra circles around the middle circle that represent every relationship or social connection you have,” says Fedrick. “Ask yourself some of the questions provided to begin to identify active connections in your life.” You can even brainstorm before you start filling out your online map listing all the people you know.
Step 3: Determine your energy flows
Next, it’s time to think about the interactions of these relationships. How does energy flow between the people around you? What are the limits?
You can even try to create your own system. “It’s useful to use an identification system to create an image of these relationships. For example, a thicker line means a close / intimate relationship, a curved line means a conflicting relationship, an arrow pointing to the circle of the recipient. support, arrows pointing in both directions indicate a reciprocal relationship, etc., “says Fedrick.
Let this process be creative.
Step 4: Interpret your map
Once you have completed as much as you can on the map, you will use it to analyze ways to make better use of available supporters, create a ‘toolbox’ with available support, identify ways to set boundaries where needed, determine if there are additional “They need support and so on,” says Fedrick.
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