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PATH as an exemplary form of person centred planning: co-facilitating for individuals, friends and family, teams and organizations. Aaron Johannes and Shelley Nessman with special guests David Wetherow and Liz Etmanski

May 25, 2014

PATH as an exemplary form of person centred planning: co-facilitating for individuals, friends and family, teams and organizations.  Friday, September 26, 2014 – Sunday, September 28, 9:30 – 4:00.    

Aaron Johannes and Shelley Nessman with special guests David Wetherow and Liz Etmanski 

PLEASE NOTE: we need a minimum of ten participants to host this but will let you know a month in advance if we are unable to conduct this class.

This PATH and MAPs training event is designed for all learners, in plain language, using graphics, dialogue and a bit of improv!  We are using Universal Design for Learning techniques to create a learning event accessible to everyone.  It is an opportunity to learn the processes around person centred planning, or for those wanting a refresher or more practice.  TO REGISTER TO BE PART OF AN ENGAGED LEARNING GROUP, CLICK HERE.  


What is PATH?

PATH is a process in which a facilitator and a graphic facilitator work with a focal person (or organization or team) and their supporters to create a vision of the best possible future, out of which comes a plan that is always “positive” and “possible,” understood by all and no longer mysterious or scary. By the end of the PATH event the focal person or group has communicated where they want to go, what and who they need to support their journey, and how this part of their lives will be part of a bigger future. Those who care about them often say they feel clear, inspired and hopeful afterwards, and are excited to take on action oriented roles. A PATH is a great tool to bring a network together and the “new” PATH processes focus on the development of support networks more than ever!

We focus on PATH in this workshop as an exemplary form of person centred planning – not the only way, and not even the best way all the time.  As soon as we start to think there is any one way that will work for everyone, we’re no longer thinking about individuals and person centredness.  But, we do believe, that PATH incorporates all the elements we can think of and is a great basis for person centred thinking.   Like Seth Godin, we believe that we must, “Treat different people differently. Anything else is a compromise.”

Shelley and Aaron, together and with other partners, have been doing PATHs for individuals, organizations and teams for more than 20 years and it is still a process that surprises and delights them as they watch individuals and teams who think they hate “planning” come to life and families get excited about a clearer future.  As our friend Liz says, “We draw BIG pictures of our BIGGEST dreams.”  David Wetherow, with his wife Faye, are Canadian pioneers of all kinds of person centred thinking processes that lead to individualised lives, most recently the “Star Raft” – radicalising our thinking about potential networks of support and the opportunity that planning creates for invitation.   Liz Etmanski is an artist, speaker, teacher, graphic facilitator and a trained PATH facilitator who brings to every interaction a vision of community as adundance and possibility.  She has a growing reputation as a strong and dynamic leader.    

What a PATH is:

  • powerful and empowering
  • practical and dream-based
  • communal and individualised
  • a great way to bring a support network together
  • a great way to get on the same page
  • action-oriented

What PATH is not:

  • a cookie cutter approach
  • a way to force someone to be part of your plan for them


  • Individuals who are at a time in their lives when a creative, inspired approach feels right
  • facilitators looking for a more person centred method of planning they can use in a variety of situations
  • families who want to work together
  •  friends who want to make a difference
  • committed employers
  • agency leaders wanting to know what’s optimal so they can do their best work

Over two days together, in a small group, we will…

  • see a PATH being facilitated by experienced facilitators with opportunities for questions
  • learn to honor this process as participatory leaders
  • learn the steps of a PATH
  • have fun with drawing, even if we think we can’t draw
  • facilitate for someone
  • graphically facilitate for someone
  • have the experience of being supporting in planning for  ourselves
  • have fun, get energized and think new thoughts
  • learn about other person centred planning methods
  • get a really cool certificate
  • share our strengths

What is Universal Design for Learning?  

Universal Design for Learning, sometimes called UDL, is a way of creating learning plans that work for everyone no matter what.  We will use different ways of talking about things (dialogues, art, music, theatre) in a kind of emergent co-learning learning model.   No one will be turned away for any reason and we’ll do our best to make this workshop work for you – if you are a person without a disability and you love spending time with self advocates as much as you do, this might be the workshop you want to take!

What is Spectrum Consulting?

Spectrum Consulting.  Collaborative: Learning, Research, Press.  is the social enterprise branch of Spectrum Society, which has been supporting folks with disabilities in their neighbourhoods in individualized ways for 27 years.   We are a group of 8 collaborators, half of whom have disabilities, and most of the rest of us are family members of people with disabilities, and all of us bring different gifts to dialogues.   We do community based research projects, plain language translation, project initiatives, training for various groups on a range of ideas and are available to host conversations and dialogues.   We wanted to engage in a new conversation about person centred thinking and social justice and have travelled to about 150 places to work with large and small groups of all kinds who want to talk about inclusion, interdependence and the contributions that all of us make in our communities.  



* there may or may not be dancing penguins involved at this workshop, but fun will be had.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    May 25, 2014 4:53 pm

    It’s time like these I wish I was in BC!!!! What an awesome group of people to be working and learning and having fun with!!!! Have you got a date planned?



    • May 25, 2014 6:44 pm

      thanks Ellen – it’s on the eventbrite site but i should have put it here too! 🙂

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