My Family System


Spring Semester 2006




Welcome to My Family’s System Web Quest



The computer can be used to build the family communication charts and the ecomap.  They can also find examples where others have analyzed ecomaps.

My Hotlist Family Systems Theory

On this website I’ve built a list of resources for researching and building a family communication chart and an ecomap.


Ecomap software

Sample Ecomaps

Model (easy to use):

Ecomap Software

Easy to use:

This is a form you copy and put in the required information.

Moderate Challenge: SmartDraw is a powerful program.  It has won many awards including the PC Magazine and ZDNet awards. It can be used specifically to draw genograms. You can download a free 30-day trial copy, after which it will cost you $197 to register. (This is a large program, 2.85 MB, so you'll want a fast connection for the download.)

Sample Genograms

Easy to use (copy and fill in):


Moderate challenge:

Genogram Components

Full description of symbols: 



Genogram Software

Moderate Challenge:

Easy to use:  Student package can be downloaded for $50.00






















Dr. Jane Martino

1125 Hancock Dr.

Boone, IA 50036


(515) 433 5068







Introduction: Introduction With Jane.wmv

In this project you will take a good look at your family.  Like each individual, families have their strengths and weaknesses. 

To help you in this process, develop a personal family communication map,  genogram and ecomap.  They will research the basic symbols of family systems theory and decide what symbols to use to describe the different members of the family.  Then they will draw a map showing the structure and relationships within their family and the resource people that support their family.

Finally students will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their family genogram as well as the resource people that are available to support the family. This is intended to provide a framework for students to do a cursory analysis of family functioning.


Lecture: Family Systems Theory PowerPoint

Audio Lecture: Audio Family Systems Theory2.wav

The Task

Students will develop and analyze their family communication map and ecomap.

Family Communication Map:

What are the symbols to describe different members of your family? What are the symbols to describe communication patterns between individual family members?


Introduction:  Family Communication Map With Jane.wmv


Lecture:   Family Communication Map PowerPoint

Audio Lecture: Family Communication Chart Audio.wav




What are the support sources in the family’s ecosystem? Draw these surrounding the family and show the communication patterns the family has with each support source.


Introduction:  Ecomap With Jane.wmv

 Lecture: ECOMAP PowerPoint

    Audio Lecture: AudioEcomap.wav



Apply the symbols for individuals and communication patterns to create your own genogram. Prepare a three-generation (four generations if you have children) genogram indicating family structure, family information, and family relationships. Date genogram in lower right hand corner.

Ř   Identify the index person

Ř   Draw boundaries around family members who presently live together.

Ř   Include demographic information

Ř   Include symbols showing emotional closeness/distance between family members



Introduction:  Genogram With Jane.wmv


Lecture: Genogram PowerPoint

  Audio Genogram: AudioGenogram.wav



Analysis: Analyze the family’s relationships with and utilization of support systems


The Process

To complete the assignment you will

1.      Be assigned to a team of no more than three (3) students.

2.      Your team will research genograms and ecomaps

3.      You will support each other as each develops their own genogram and ecomap.

4.      You will individually write a short analysis of your family’s communication chart, genogram and ecomap and a general analysis of all charts.


Assessment Rubric:

Grading Rubric

Your project will be evaluated in two areas.

Building the Maps: The first is the actual building of the communication map, genogram and ecomap. This will require students to clearly chart their family’s communication map (25 points), genogram (50 points) and ecomaps (25 points).

Individual Chart Analysis: The second part is an analysis of their family communication map, genogram and ecomap. Points for each are as follows: Communication Map (15 points), Genogram (30 points),Ecomap (15 points)

General Analysis: This project is more than an application family systems theory.  They will begin analyzing their own family system to gain insight into family strengths and areas for growth.  (40 points)