PATH and MAPs training

PathMapsPersonCentredPlanning-001About three times a year, we do PATH training in Vancouver, B.C. and you can purchase a seat in our classes.  Usually this happens through Spectrum Society, and you can find out more by emailing Eilidh. 

If you are interested in training for a specific group of people or outside of Vancouver, email Aaron.   Often our training has different themes.  The last training focused on using PATH in schools and how it can translates into the documentation needed there; prior to that we did some training based on UDL (universal design for learning) at the request of self advocates who wanted to be facilitators.   A popular and unforgettable (for everyone) training theme has been combining professionals from the field with family members to work together in small groups and learn PATH and MAPs facilitation skills.  We also really like to bring together people from schools and from adult services and from other kinds of supports.

Over the last few years we have come to increasingly focus on PATH as an exemplary form of Person Centred Planning, so we try to include at least a small range of planning methods but use PATH to demonstrate the kinds of things we look for in our work.  We believe the ideas in PATH are foundational and can lead to an ability to use other planning formats in a way that allows for good, inclusive planning.

We are also happy to respond to requests to do training for other groups, in other places.  We have travelled as far south as Nashville, as far north as Fort St. John, east to New York State and west to Victoria.  We can easily support your training objectives around person centred planning.  Below is a typical PATH offering from one of our last sessions!

Co-facilitating PATH and MAPS

as exemplary forms of person centred planning

for individuals, friends and family, teams and organizations

Aaron Johannes, Eilidh Nicholson and Laurel Charnetski

What is MAP or PATH planning? 

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! Eilidh, Laurel and Aaron, together and with other partners, have been doing PATHs for individuals, organizations and teams for more than 20 years collectively and this responsive process continues to surprise and delight them as they watch individuals and teams who think they hate “planning” come to life and families get excited about the future.  Laurel is an Inclusion Support Teacher in the Surrey School District, Eilidh has worked with adults in two agencies as the designated planning organizer, and Aaron has worked with many agencies and is an instructor at Douglas College.  

 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 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

What about MAPS?   

  • MAPs are a related process – they go a bit faster, are really good problem solving tools and focus on different parts of person centred planning.  Learning both tools will give us a sense of how person centered planning works for people, teams, groups, projects and organizations looking for ways to be more responsive

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

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

Why might you want to do this training in particular?  

  • between us we have a lot of experience with different kinds of people in different places, and different situations
  • Aaron has trained as a graphic recorder in several different settings and will share some of that knowledge with you
  • currently, Aaron is working on a book about how person centred planning works and what the various methods have in common and why they are useful as a suite of tools and an emancipatory approach to people who are marginalised
  • Eilidh has been the planning facilitator of choice for two different agencies and has worked in a project for youth transitioning to adult services

I think I’d like to read an article about this before I commit…  

* there may or may not be dancing penguins involved at this workshop