Creating a Life Space Map
While practically anything can be mapped, we have chosen an example dealing with the subject "mapping your future."
The working premise is this: "My future as a media designer by a seventeen-year-old secondary school student," reconstructed on computer from the student's original hand-drawn map.
The mapping activity should be approached as a cooperative process. The counsellor contributes the structure of the map by asking meaning-generating questions. A "meaning-generating" question is one that invites the participant to supply information about the life space that is personally meaningful. The individual being guided fills in the content of his or her own life space through answering the questions. The process should be flexible, and the person should be encouraged to draw, use symbols, images, metaphors, icons, or write words or short sentences.
Using colored pens also allows the person to indicate his or her experience by choosing colors. The basic strategy is to develop a visualization map of what the person considers to be important and personally meaningful, and to place different factors into association with each other. The guide can support the mapping process by supplying good questions, humour, a creative, open attitude, and by assisting when the person wants assistance.
The counsellor or teacher guides the individual or group with the following instructions: "Draw a large circle and place yourself in the enclosed space somewhere. This is your personal world."
Then the guide asks questions such as the following:
The resulting map can be viewed on Page 7 of this section.
In conclusion, then, it is worth emphasizing that all mapping activities proceed together with dialogue. Each supports the other.
Mapping brings the three modes of meaning communication - namely, Speaking, Writing and Visualization - into meaning construction for both the help-seeker and the helper.
Through life space mapping the helper is able to enter into the life space of the other and understand the meaningful life experiences and factors of the other's personal world.
Mapping can assist both guide and help-seeker to visualize a complex situation and to see how different elements of the life space are patterned. It brings clarity and a temporary structure to the problem or decision situation.
It is an excellent example of learning and problem-solving through guided participation.