Great tools for youth workers: Use an Ecomap.

One of the most used tools I have in my kit is an Ecomap. An Ecomap is a graphical representation of the systems at work in a person or groups life. The graphic places the individual or group in the centre and all the other groups or individuals which have influence over them. This great tool has been in use since 1975 when it was invented by Hartman.
The basic idea is that you draw a circle and put the client in it. You then draw circles around the outside which represent the groups and people involved with the client. The reason this is one of my favourite tools is that it shows the people and groups which have influence, whether good or bad, over a persons life. This can then be used to discuss positive influence and the need to deal with negatives.
give it a go.
P.S. If you think the example above looks pretty boring… me too. Our good friends over at have come up with a great set of templates to tart up you ecomap and make it look a million bucks. check out to see what they can help you create.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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  1. Eco maps are great when you build them out of a bit of useful theory too, like ecological systems or Bronfennbrenner’s ideas on the worlds of childhood. That way you’re not only identifying relationships, issues and pressure points, but also analysing them. Have you created those ecomaps with an app Aaron?

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