A community genogram — or “Me Map” — is a powerful therapy tool that can be used with clients, groups or at community events. All you need is some paper — the bigger the better! — and some markers, crayons, pens and pencils. Here are the steps:
1. Introduce the exercise as a way to map out one’s self in relation to their community.
2. Guide the participants in drawing themselves in the center of the map. They can represent themselves as a smiley face, stick figure, a symbol or even a house.
3. Instruct the participants to then illustrate community organizations, friends, neighbors, schools, churches, work, etc. on the map.
4. Ask the participants to then draw connecting lines to each of these elements. The lines can be bold or multiple to illustrate strong connections. Or the lines can be broken to illustrate disconnections. But try and guide them from a strengths-based approach by focusing on the positive support systems in their lives.
5. Once done, ask if they would like to share and explain their Me Maps.
If there is time, the facilitator can enlarge the scope of the sharing and explanation into a narrative where the participants dive deeper into their community relationships. The goal is to help clients form a contextual perspective of their support systems that exist in their community.
Note: This exercise can be used with any age group. Considering conducting it as a community project where participants illustrate themselves on a large sheet or a mural. This could be done at a community event, at the shopping mall (ask permission!) or at the local farmers’ market.