The Value of Person Centered Thinking

Person Centered Thinking Class

DBHDS would like all new providers and DSPs to enroll in a Person-Centered Thinking© class prior to providing supports. Go to to register. Click on the left link entitled Person Centered Thinking.

Person-centered thinking is a set of skills used to get to know a person. It is important for DSPs to learn and use the skills and tools. Getting to know someone then allows DSPs to act on the information and support a person in obtaining a life of their choosing.

At the base of all person centered thinking skills is the ability to discover what is important to a person while balancing what is important for them. This is true about all people, not just those with a disability. All of us have things in our lives that are important to us and important for us. We all struggle to strike a balance between doing things that are good for our health and having things in our lives we cherish.


are those things in life which help us to be satisfied, content, comforted, fulfilled, and happy. They include:

  • People to be with/ relationships
  • Status and control
  • Things to do
  • Places to go
  • Rituals or routines
  • Rhythm or pace of life
  • Things to have




are those things that keep a person healthy and safe. They include:

  • Prevention of illness
  • Treatment of illness/medical conditions
  • Promotion of wellness (e.g.: diet, exercise)
  • Issues of safety: in the environment, physical and emotional well-being, including freedom from fear

They also include what others see as necessary for a person to:

  • Be valued and
  • Be a contributing member of their community

Person-Centered Thinking© skills describe the DSP’s ability to:

  • Understand the importance of being listened to, even when people communicate in non-traditional ways;
  • Understand the importance of and guide others in having positive control over their lives;
  • Understand the significance of a person’s daily rituals and routines;
  • Respectfully address significant issues of health and safety, while supporting a person’s choice and control over his or her life;
  • Define the core roles and responsibilities of a DSP;
  • Pay attention and record new things you learn about a person and his/her preferences;
  • Support a person’s dreams, relationships, and community connections; and
  • Recognize that dreams and preferences are ever changing and that getting to know someone is an on-going journey; not a destination


Because we are human, we all need and use support from others. We all contribute, not just through our jobs, but by how we spend time and through relationships. We all want to have control over our lives – to journey towards our dreams.