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Strengths-Based Person-Centered Planning is a shift in thinking from previous treatment planning methods. Instead of focusing on a person’s diagnosis, deficits, and/or disabilities, we instead focus on a person’s strengths, interests, resources, and capabilities. It assumes that every individual, regardless of their history or problems they experience, has abilities, personal qualities, achievements, wants, wishes, dreams, and aspirations for his or her life. It recognizes that the individual is the expert in knowing what they need and want and in identifying how their needs and wants can best be met.

The individual becomes an active participant in the treatment planning. Goals are developed based on what the individual determines is important and the changes he or she wants to make, not what the provider wants or thinks is best for the individual.

In Strengths-Based Person Centered Planning, the individual and provider enter into a collaborative partnership to determine the treatment goals. The provider learns to tap in to what the person is saying they want and agrees to work with them on achieving it. Barriers to achieving the individual’s goals may be acknowledged, but the treatment plan uses the person’s strengths to overcome barriers. By focusing on strengths, an individual may feel more empowered, rather than controlled, to make changes for a better and more fulfilling life. The individual will recognize the abilities and the choices he or she has and will hopefully feel supported by the provider to make their own decisions.