Person-centred thinking

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Person-centred thinking is a set of values, skills and tools used in Person Centred Planning and in the personalisation of services used by people who need supports provided by social or health care.

Person-centred thinking is described by the UK Department of Health as "the foundation for person centred planning"[1]

The British Institute of Learning Disabilities advocates Person centred thinking suggesting that such tools "can be really helpful in assisting the process of getting to know a person really well".[2]

A major piece of research into the impact of person centred planning found that the prevalence of person-centred thinking in services was an important condition for services having the capacity and systems for delivering person centred results.[3]

Person-centred thinking tools in common use include one-page profiles, 'working/not working', 'important to/important for', 'good day/bad day', communication charts, 'doughnut' of staff roles and responsibilities, relationship circles, learning logs and person-centred reviews.[4]

These tools provide an agenda which a person and the people who know that person best can think together, focussing on what is important to that person, how they wish to live, and then introduce changes that will move towards those aspirations.

Practitioners of person centred thinking suggest that it's possible to build up from one or two pieces of person centred thinking, piece by piece based on the area of the person's life that they feel is most important to consider next, this process of building gradually creates a collection of person centred information, equivalent to a 'full' person centred plan, and more importantly a range of co-produced actions. Where a person has a specific budget allocated to pay for their social care, this portfolio of person centred thinking tools (a 'person centred description') can also be extremely useful as a basis to write a support plan, which explains how they will use this budget to meet what is important to and for them.[5]

Emergence of person-centred thinking[edit]

Person centred thinking was first developed by a group of people practicing Essential Lifestyle Planning in the US (now known as 'The Learning Community for Person Centred Practices). These planners realised that while many plans were being written, many of these were not leading to real change in peoples lives. This group decided that person centred planning was something a small group of people needed to know, but that for planning to work, a much wider group of people need skills around listening for what's important to people and how to best support people. Michael Smull who is a leading figure in this group describes Person centred thinking as "something that virtually everyone who touches a person needs to know"[6] because change was most powerful when all staff were using person centred thinking tools in their roles, rather than relying solely on person centred planning facilitators to create plans. To enable these tools to be shared at scale, Essential Lifestyle Planning was 'deconstructed' into a range of person centred thinking tools, that enable staff to participate with the person in a cycle of listening, learning and action by building up a set of tools recording this process to form a person centred description of the person.[7]

Values underpinning person centred thinking[edit]

Person Centred Thinking, like other person centred approaches is based in the values of independence and rights, coproduction, choice and control and inclusive and competent communities.[8] .


  1. ^ Department of Health (2010) Personalisation through Person Centred Planning:
  2. ^ British Institute of Learning Disabilities: Hearing from the Seldom Heard: Good Practice Suggestion 1; Getting to know people well:
  3. ^ The Impact of Person Centred Planning (2005), Robertson, Emerson et al:
  4. ^ Think and Plan:
  5. ^ Max Neill, Helen Sanderson and Gill Bailey: One page profile to person centred plan or support plan
  6. ^ Michael Smull, in "Conversations on Citizenship and Person Centred Work (Eds John O'Brien and Carol Blessing) 2011, Inclusion Press, Vol III pp45-55"
  7. ^ Sanderson H. Lewis J. (2012) A Practical Guide to Delivering Personalisation; Person-Centred Practice in Health and Social Care. London; Jessica Kingsley Publishers p22
  8. ^ Sanderson H. Lewis J. (2012) A Practical Guide to Delivering Personalisation; Person-Centred Practice in Health and Social Care. London; Jessica Kingsley Publishers p24