What is meant by the person-centred approach?

To read on Bringing Us Together website:

Person Centred – the Terminology


When you start talking with people about person-centred anything, it starts to get confusing.  People will call it different things and often people have different understandings of what each of these mean.
We hear of Person Centred approaches, plans, practices, reviews, thinking and tools.  So what do they mean?  Are they the same thing?
We asked Helen Sanderson to help us out.  We thought she may be a good person to speak to, given her biography.
  • Helen was the Department of Health’s expert advisor on person-centred approaches to the Valuing People Support and Putting People First Teams.
  • She co-authored the first Department of Health Guidance on person-centred planning, and the 2010 guidance ‘Personalisation through person-centred planning’.
  • She is the primary author of People, Plans and Possibilities: exploring person centred planning (1997), the first book on person-centred planning in the UK, emerging from three years research.
  • Helen’s PhD is on person-centred planning and organisational change and she has written over fifteen books on person-centred thinking, planning, community and personalisation.
  • She is also Vice Chair of the International Learning Community for Person Centred Practices

So how does Helen define the different terms used?

Person-centred approaches refers to the way that we work with people – using a person-centred approach and keeping the person at the centre.

Person-centred plans are specific styles of planning, for example, PATH and MAPs.

Person centred practices is the term used for both person-centred thinking tools and practices that combine different tools, for example person-centred reviews, Planning Live and Just Enough Support.

Person-centred thinking refers to a range of practical tools that people can use with individuals, in teams or organisations. They include learning logs, four plus one questions, working and not working from different perspectives.

–Helen Sanderson–

What are Person Centred Values?

There are 8 person centred values:

  1. Choice
  2. Dignity
  3. Independence
  4. Individuality
  5. Partnership
  6. Privacy
  7. Respect
  8. Rights

If someone tells you that the way they work, plan or make decisions is person-centred, but the evidence doesn’t show them supporting these values, then the chances are they are either a) trying but without enough knowledge or b) just not doing it.

What are Person Centred Tools?

There are many tools and for many families, who don’t use them, it is frightening to think about where to start and so daunting as to what it really means.  What is important for?  What is important to?  Where do you begin?

© Helen Sanderson Associates

Want to start but not sure how?

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