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It is important that training in person centred approaches should be done by trainers who are trained and experienced in person centred thinking and planning. The curriculum development group of this project formulated a collection of standards for trainers. We are concerned that people only take the material from the training pack to start training. Trainers challenge is to develop a certain background, specific attitudes, facilitation competences and reflective understanding.

They should

  • have experienced planning and tools for themselves as part of good quality training
  • have practiced person centred approaches
  • be part of a community of practitioners and trainers
  • have mentorship
  • be rooted in the values of rights, inclusion, self determination and interdependence
  • have a firm believe that person centred practice is about changing the support, not the person
  • be orientated on enabling practical experiences and experiential learning, balanced of head, heart and hand
  • act as a role model for person centred practices with respect and appreciation – ‘be the change you want to see’
  • use stories and examples they have been involved in
  • use stories and pictures to widen horizons and people’s thinking
  • use a mixture of presentation styles (not just PowerPoint)
  • be aware of the power and responsibility they have as a trainer and reflect upon it.

From a broader perspective, person centred practise should contribute to a better and more valued situation where (see O‘BRIEN, MOUNT, O’BRIEN & ROSEN 2002, 260):

  • People learn about identity, qualities, environments, skills and challenges.
  • Families listen for values and identity, connections, resources, neighbourhood and extended family.    
  • Communities explore neighbourhood, what is on the block, recreation options, economic opportunities and transportation options.
  • Service Systems create options for individualised funding, family support, service coordination, individualised services and collaborative agreements among agencies.

Another aspect of quality is dealing with attitudes of facilitation, developed for MAP and PATH (see O’BRIEN, PEARPOINT & KAHN 2010, 135). Here the challenges are

  • to believe in the person
  • to listen deeply
  • to look for capacities and seek connections
  • to be open to ‘yes’ and
  • to use the process to explore what matters.

One identifies the importance of equality when reviewing plans, developed for Essential Lifestyle Planning (see SMULL & SANDERSON 2005, 148-154): Their main challenges for a great plan are...

  • to have a balance between detail and brevity – enough detail but not too long to read,
  • to use plain, straightforward, unambiguous language – without jargon, ‘human service speak’ or disempowering language,
  • to address issues of safety by covering the issues of health, risk and concrete support needs through mixed circles with family, friends and staff members,
  • to achieve a balance between what is ‘important to’ and ‘important for’ someone and
  • to reflect the individuality of the person – with colours , graphics and photos.

So, the process of person centred planning should lead (see O‘BRIEN, MOUNT, O’BRIEN & ROSEN 2002, 261)

  • from isolation to more places to go,
  • from loneliness to more people to know,
  • from poor reputation to more respect,
  • from no power to more choices,
  • from low expectations to more experiences of being somebody.


NEILL, Max & BAILEY, Gillian: Quality In Services Striving For Person Centredness.
NEILL, Max & BAILEY, Gillian (2006): Quality In Person Centred Planning.
O’BRIEN, John, PEARPOINT, Jack & KAHN, Lynda (2010): The PATH & MAPS Handbook. Person-Centred Ways to Build Community. Toronto: Inclusion Press.
O‘BRIEN, Connie Lyle; MOUNT, Beth; O’BRIEN, John & ROSEN, Fredda (2002): Pathfinders. It’s never too late. In: O’BRIEN, John / O’BRIEN, Connie Lyle (Hrsg.) (2002): Implementing Person Centered Planning. Voices of Experience. Toronto: Inclusion Press, 255-274.
SMULL, Michael; SANDERSON, Helen (2005): Essential lifestyle planning for everyone. Stockport, UK: The learning community.