PBIS Values: Person-Centered and Strength-Based

March 11, 2011
Receptionist behind a desk helping a woman

Two key values that have been pivotal to Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) since its earliest days, and that continue to appear in related literature, are "person-centered" and "strength-based."

For me, a person-centered environment means empowering the student or client to feel directly involved with the team and to have input into how the team supports him. The student is at the center, and all other stakeholders (parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, and service providers) comprise the customized circle of support around that individual. The individual's needs, interests, and passions and dreams are always the core focus for the team. It's about self-determination, treating people with respect and dignity, and working together to enhance the quality of that person's life—furthering their inclusion and engagement in the family, school community, and peer group.

Using person-first language choices is one way to convey our commitment to being person-centered. Living out the Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM philosophy of the Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program on a daily basis would certainly be another. We always want to look for ways to assist individuals to have greater opportunities for meaningful choice-making in their lives.

Working hand in hand with the concept of person-centered is the idea of being "strength-based." This means building from and celebrating someone's competencies or abilities instead of overly focusing on deficits. It's about seeing potential and recognizing what someone CAN do with a belief in that person's ability to grow and thrive. What do "person-centered" and "strength-based" mean to you, and how do you practice those values in your day-to-day work?

Read more about Positive Behavior Support on our Knowledge Base page.

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