A family eco-map (Lindblad-Goldberg, Dore, & Stern, 1998, p. 104-107) provides an assessment tool to examine the needs of families by mapping the major systems involved with a family and the relationship with those systems. The eco-map provides a visual organization while interviewing the family and gathering information about contextual influences. The eco-map:
- …is an information and assessment gathering tool.
- …demonstrates the flow of resources and energy.
- …depicts the nurturing or conflictual relationships between the family and other systems.
Eco-maps identify connections with a descriptive word or by drawing different kinds of lines to demonstrate the nature of the relationship.
- Solid thick line- strong connection that contributes to and supports family coping
- Dashed line- tenuous connection that is experienced as limited support or the depletion of member energy and resources
- Cross-marked line- conflictual relationship that increases family stress and depletes family coping ability
- Arrows- direction of flow of energy or resources