What Do We Mean by Person Driven?

We acknowledge that our name, ‘Person Driven Consulting’, is very similar to the phrase ‘Person Centered’. We thought we’d take the time to delve into our name choice and why it matters so much to us as well as those we support.

What drew the staff of PDC to join up together was this concept we’ve come to call a ‘Person Driven Approach’. Being fans of Carl Rogers’ Person Centered Approach to therapy and supports, we wanted to develop an organization that emphasizes the tenets and ideals of this approach while supporting others in the fields of education and human services. The foundation behind Person Centered Approaches have proven not only to be ethically sound but pragmatically effective in reaching best outcomes as well. In the field, many professionals and support staff hear and use the term person centered so often that it can almost come off as more of a buzzword than a tried and true practice.

There are a number of factors that went into our use of the term Person Driven over Person Centered. One reason we as an organization made the conscious decision to name ourselves Person Driven rather than Person Centered was to remind ourselves and others we aren’t using it as a generic phrase to sound professional but rather as an affirmation of our own philosophy and approach to the profession. It can be a catalyst for opening up a dialogue to discuss what these tenets and practices are to us. We recognize the inherent human right of every individual to be involved in as an active participant in the decision making process that impacts their future. A person’s right to actively drive the discussion and decision process regarding their future is not only sound ethically, but by maximizing an individual’s control over their own choices, their buy in and desire to reach the determined outcome increases as well.

We also know that language and how you use it is important. As was said before, we acknowledge and greatly respect the essential tenets of person centered systems but are conscientious of the fact that many perceive the word “centered” as meaning a focus of, rather than expressing the concept of an individual being an active and involved participant of the process. That is why the word ‘driven’ was chosen in its place. ‘Driven’ more accurately describes the active role individuals should play in the decision making process. The individual’s choices, wants, needs, and goals drive the decisions, actions, and supports provided by the team around them. This simple word change reminds us to emphasize the individual’s sense of identity and independence. The use of the word ‘driven’ also acts as a reminder that the individuals we work with as professionals are active participants rather than passive focal points. Too often in the fields of education and human services do sincerely well meaning professionals and support staff mistake the notion of person centered as an opportunity to determine what is best for that individual instead of supporting them through their self-determined wants and needs. We use this syntaxical change as preventive measure to avoid falling into that mentality.

We also know that language and how you use it is important. As was said before, we acknowledge and greatly respect the essential tenets of person centered systems but are conscientious of the fact that many perceive the word “centered” as meaning a focus of, rather than expressing the concept of an individual being an active and involved participant of the process. That is why the word ‘driven’ was chosen in its place. ‘Driven’ more accurately describes the active role individuals should play in the decision making process. The individual’s choices, wants, needs, and goals drive the decisions, actions, and supports provided by the team around them. This simple word change reminds us to emphasize the individual’s sense of identity and independence. The use of the word ‘driven’ also acts as a reminder that the individuals we work with as professionals are active participants rather than passive focal points. Too often in the fields of education and human services do sincerely well meaning professionals and support staff mistake the notion of person centered as an opportunity to determine what is best for that individual instead of supporting them through their self-determined wants and needs. We use this syntaxial change as preventive measure to avoid falling into that mentality.

The use of the phrase ‘Person Driven’ in place of ‘Person Centered’ is neither a subtle rejection of the well respected work of Carl Rogers or a replacement approach but rather a reaffirmation of our commitment to this best practice through the use of language and conscientiousness. That is why our name and the philosophy behind it matter so much to the work we do.

Contact Us: PaulAkers@PersonDrivenConsulting.com

70 Linden Oaks

Rochester, NY 14625

© 2018 Person Driven Consulting LLC