Green Mountain Support Services is an agency that has been fully trained in the Person-Centered Thinking (PCT) Skills; and our team members constantly seek opportunities to normalize the practice of these skills in our everyday work. Recently, we sat down with our Direct Support Professionals and Service Coordinators and asked them to think of a time they had been faced with a situation to which they did not know how to react or respond. Many of the questions they’d had revolved around ‘Dignity of Risk,’ and the challenges posed by the fact that each person defines that term for herself. We then split up in to smaller groups to discuss what PCT skills we could use if faced with similar challenges in the future.
One group made a list of how ‘Dignity of Risk’ is defined, and also discussed ‘Keeping Alive’ versus ‘Giving a Life’ and what the difference means. This actively reflects the ‘Important To, Important For’ PCT skill. Our staff collectively agreed that each of these aspects is fundamentally individualized. We found that ‘Keeping Alive’ meant: Maintaining health and safety, and keeping vigilant with clients who have offended, or who have court-ordered restrictions. We also found that ‘Giving a Life’ meant: Providing clients with information, education, and explanation; reattempting situations that may have been deemed challenging in the past; and being careful not to overreact in sensitive situations.
Some very interesting stories emerged that show the power of our DSPs to support
When one person we work for wanted to get a vulgar tattoo, his DSP provided information about how this may or may not be offensive to others. The individual decided for himself not to get the tattoo after receiving the information about how having it might affect his life.
One time a service coordinator found a person she works with had purchased a bottle of alcohol when it was contraindicated by her Primary Care Physician. The employee talked to the individual and found that the client had not purchased the alcohol to drink but just to have in the refrigerator as a reminder of youthful times; a memory of a trip to a different country. In this case, education wasn’t needed so much as effective listening was.