Facilitator’s Guide:  A Framework for Planning© Facilitator’s Guide
Version 1, July 2006

Photo of Carol Blessing

Carol Blessing LMSW &
Connie Ferrell LCSW


‘Person-centered planning’ has become an increasingly familiar term in the field of human services. Providers of services are always looking for better ways for helping the people to whom they are being paid to provide supports. Simultaneously, the pressure to prove the outcomes of these services to the funding source increases dramatically with the passing of each fiscal year. Providers find themselves in the dubious position of having to do more work with fewer resources in a market where there is an ever-growing demand for quality. The ironic consequence to this phenomenon is that a cycle of perpetual crisis and ineffective services is maintained. People are too busy taking care of the “urgent” to spend time focusing on what is truly important.

Sometimes it becomes evident that atypical approaches to good listening might be necessary. This may be due to any number of factors from lack of experience from which to make informed decisions to the need for tapping into a creative vein to surface ideas and options. It is to this end that person-centered planning speaks. Person-centered planning is the intentional use of dynamic structures for bringing out and bringing forth the inspiration, energy and action that is needed to move forward toward an identified goal or aspiration. Several methods have been developed for the purposes of person-centered planning. Without exception, person-centered planning methods and tools are designed to highlight the capacities, talents, unique gifts and abilities of the person who is at the focus or center of the planning process. Each person-centered planning process requires the involvement of skilled facilitators and is comprised of a team of people who know and genuinely care about the focus person. Any well-facilitated planning effort explores the positive and possible potential for enhancing the quality of life of the focus person, based upon the person’s expressed interest for participating in the process.