Person Centered Practices: Person Centered Thinking, Planning and Organizational Development

What are Person Centered Thinking and Person Centered Practices?

Definition from The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices

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, 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 and 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.


The Learning Community for Person Centered PracticesThe Learning Community has developed many trainings and organizational support consultations in Person Centered Practices including the following:

Person Centered Thinking is a two day workshop of instructor led training, focused on changing perspectives from caring for people to providing balanced support between what is important to a person and what is important for a person. The two interactive days help participants change their thinking from a priority of fixing what is wrong with a person to supporting each person’s opportunities to share their gifts and live an everyday life. 12 specific tools for creating the structure of person centered thinking are taught across the two days. This training can also be organized to happen over more than two days to make for shorter training days.

  • Person Centered Thinking Skills Applied to Person Centered Descriptions, One Page Profiles and Individual Program Plans
    A two-day training in moving information from discovery to individual plans (customized to the plans of participants).
  • Imbedding Person Centered Practices into Service Agencies.  Consultation or ongoing support for supervisors and agency leaders who, in turn, support the use of person centered skills in everyday practice. Designed around the needs of the service agency.
  • Person Centered Planning. This training can be designed to meet the needs of the agency or we can provide PATH, MAPS and Essential Lifestyle Planning training.
  • Person Centered Organizational Change Strategies
    A two-day management retreat focusing on change strategies, resistance, culture shifts, and successful approaches to implementing person centered organizational change. This retreat is led by Michael Smull, SDA,
  • Organizational Change
    Working with organizations to help them in becoming person centered in practice as well as in planning.  The organizations that are successful in implementing plans are the organizations that have integrated the values that are in plans into all other aspects of the organization.
  • Person Centered Risk
    Taking a Person Centered Approach to supporting people who take risks or are making risky decisions.
  • People Planning Together
    People who receive services supporting their peers to develop their own person centered plans.
  • Families Planning Together
    Family members supporting other family members to develop person centered plans.

Become a Trainer

If you would like to become a Person Centered Thinking Trainer a Mentor from the Learning Community can mentor you.  You can reach out to us or to other Mentors.

Contact Information

For Information on any of these trainings you may contact us (link to both of our contact information) or the Learning Community.  Here is a link to the Mentors and Trainers around the world.


Person Centered Thinking Discovery Summaries (Fillable PDFs)

An Introduction to Person Centered Teams
From Helen Sanderson and Associates. A person centered team is a team with a shared sense of purpose who know what is important to and for team members.

Maps and PATH are creative Person Centered Planning tools designed to identify do-able action steps in the direction of desirable futures.
MAPS graphic
PATH graphic 

Thoughts About My Life
This workbook began with a wish to help people to write stories about their lives.

TLCPCP Brochure
More information about The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices.


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Supported Living & Community Living: Five Principles of SLS & Resources

Person Centered Practices: Person Centered Thinking, Planing & Organizational Development

Community Building: Beyond Presence to Contribution & Membership

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