As you will recall from Module 2 in this course series, one of SAMHSA’s guiding principles for recovery is…
Recovery is person-driven: Self-determination and self-direction are the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s) towards those goals. Individuals heighten their independence to the greatest extent possible by leading, controlling, and exercising choice over the services and supports that assist their recovery and resilience. In so doing, they are empowered and provided the resources to make informed decisions, initiate recovery, build on their strengths, and gain or regain control over their lives.
Person centered planning is an ongoing problem-solving process used to help people with a substance use, mental health or disability-related condition plan for their future. The person receiving services is at the center to direct their vision of what they want their future to hold. Most often this is a team activity that may include professional clinical staff, peer specialists, family members, friends and anyone else who has an interest in the person. Whether it is a team process or not, the peer specialist can follow a person centered planning method.
Person-centered planning isn’t so new and it isn’t hard to do. It’s one way of figuring out where someone is going (life goals) and what kinds of support they need to get there. Part of it is asking the person, their family, friends and others about the things she or he likes to do (preferences) and can do well (strengths and capabilities). It is also finding out what things get in the way (barriers) of doing the things the client likes to do. In the end, the goal is to craft a plan that is a roadmap that the person follows to recovery.
Person centered planning is…“A highly individualized comprehensive approach to assessment and services that is founded on an understanding of the person’s history, strengths, needs, and vision of his or her own recovery and includes attention to issues of culture, spirituality, trauma, and other factors.”
–Institute of Medicine
This type of planning is best accomplished in a location that is comfortable for the person receiving services. It’s also better to conduct planning when the person is feeling well and is able to focus. The planning process can be organized into several logical steps that follow in order and include:
- Having a structured conversation with the person to collect information that can be used in the plan (life goals, preferences, strengths, capabilities, barriers, etc.).
- Collecting your thoughts about the person as a whole. This will help you in guiding the development of the person centered recovery plan.
- Helping the person decide which areas need to be addressed first.
- Partnering with the person to develop their recovery goals and a vision for the future.
- Making sure that the plan incorporates the strengths and capabilities of the person.
- Developing strategies that help to overcome barriers
- Defining the ways the person and others will know when goals have been achieved.
This Handout provides sample questions for initiating a strengths-based, person-centered dialogue as part of the initial information gathering conversation.