Person Centered Thinking

Dad and his son with autism sitting in kitchen at home. A man with short hair and bristle hugs his son and kisses him on the cheek.

For people being supported by services, it is not person centered planning that matters as much as the pervasive presence of person centered thinking. If people who use services are to have positive control over their lives, if they are to have self-directed lives within their own communities, then those who are around the person — especially those who do the day-to-day work — need to have person centered thinking skills. Only a small percentage of people need to know how to write good person centered plans, but everyone involved needs to have good skills in person centered thinking, and in the value-based skills that underlie the planning.

There are a number of reasons for this. Teaching and supporting the use of person centered thinking skills will mean that:

  • It is more likely that plans will be used and acted on, that the lives of people who use services will improve
  • You will have a number of ways to get plans started
  • Updating the plans will occur “naturally”, needing less effort and time

Every style of person centered planning is rooted in a person centered way of thinking. It is made up of a set of value-based skills that result in seeing the person differently and give us a way of acting on what is learned.  Training in person centered planning is training in a way of thinking as much as it is in a way of developing a plan.  In essential lifestyle planning, we have identified basic skills and tools that help learners understand and embrace this way of thinking.