Person Centered Planning


Person Centered Planning grew out of Essential Lifestyle Planning. For over thirty years, the TLCPCP skills and tools for discovery and description have been developed and refined. The purpose of Person Centered Planning is to help the people we support to discover what a meaningful life looks like for them and to describe the supports they need to achieve that life. 

TLCPCP uses a set of skills and tools based on the foundational concept of Important TO and Important FOR. We believe that understanding what constitutes happiness for a person and the connection between happiness and health/safety gives people a solid place to start in understanding what they want their lives to look like. From there, we can help them describe the supports needed and the best way to provide them. All this to help the person move toward a life they desire.

How it works

We begin by helping the person we are planning with identify the people in their lives who know and love them best. They invite those people to participate in the planning process. The person and the people they invite are considered Content Experts. They provide the information used to build the Person Centered Description. 

We refer to the facilitator of the experience as the Process Expert. A PCT facilitator is trained and experienced in using the TLCPCP skills and tools to have pleasant and productive conversations with the content experts. The conversations are designed to discover:

  • What is Important TO the person 
  • What is Important FOR the person
  • What the connection and balance between Important TO and Important FOR are
  • What a meaningful life looks like for the person
  • What supports the person needs to have a good balance between Important TO and Important FOR. This helps them get and stay on a trajectory that moves them toward a life they desire

Positive control for the person

In addition to ensuring these planning conversations are pleasant and productive, the facilitator is also charged with ensuring that the person with whom we are planning maintains positive control throughout the experience.

Discovery skills and tools

A trained PCT facilitator may use some or all of the following skills and tools for discovery and planning:

  • Like and Admire
  • Likes and Dislikes
  • Good Day/Bad Day
  • Reputations Analysis
  • Matching
  • Supports to Stay Safe
  • Supports for Happiness
  • Routines and Rituals 
  • Working/Not Working
  • 4+1
  • Donut Sort 
  • Learning Logs

PCT facilitators may also use planning tools and strategies developed and refined by other professionals. No matter what skills and tools are used, a skilled PCT facilitator knows their primary responsibility is to create a rich planning experience by facilitating pleasant and productive conversations that keep the person at the center, with positive control over the process.

Developing the plan

The PCT facilitator uses all the information they learned about the person to draft a Person Centered Description (PCD). The person can use their PCD to communicate with support teams, providers, family, and friends to help ensure they receive the best supports. 

Continuous learning

Person Centered Descriptions are not a one-and-done thing. The person and the people who support them should regularly use PCT skills to continue learning and sharing their learning with one another. This increases the likelihood that the person is supported in a way that keeps them on a trajectory toward a life they value.