Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Becoming More Person-Centered

African American mom and son playing trucks on the living room coffee table

The first step in positive behavior support, or PBS, is to make sure everyone is using person-centered practices. Person-centered practices are used to build relationships and support people in achieving the lives that they choose for themselves.

It is important for all people to feel that they are valued by other people in their community. Feeling a sense of purpose and finding meaning in life can help improve a person's physical and emotional health. These feelings and beliefs are just as important for each person as any health and safety concerns that arise. Everyone experiences challenges that can impact health and wellbeing. How we support people through these challenges has an impact on how supported each person feels. Person-centered strategies help to improve quality of life - both for ourselves and for the people we support.

Think about what you consider important to your own ideal quality of life. People often seek personal and/or spiritual growth, financial stability, the best possible level of health and wellbeing, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life. These are some elements that are part of a person's quality of life. Feeling happy and fulfilled often comes from the act of seeking out ways to grow and experience life. In the past, many service systems have mainly addressed health and safety concerns rather than focusing on the desires, hopes, and dreams of people receiving services.

  • Building on strengths and talents
  • Connecting with the community
  • Creating meaningful relationships
  • Treating everyone with dignity and respect
  • Using active listening strategies
  • Encouraging empathy
  • Seeking to understand each person


Describe or discuss the following:

  • Activities or events make you feel happy
  • The names of important people in your life
  • Your dreams for the future
  • How you interact with people in your community