On Saturday night, my 13- year-old daughter Laura asked me if
she could do another one-page profile. Laura is proud to have had the
very first one-page profile ever! This was when she was seven and
was struggling at school because her teacher did not know her well,
or how best to support her. From age 7 - 11 we updated her one-page
profile every year, up to her transition to secondary school. We
spent Saturday evening writing a new one and this evening she is
finishing a self-portrait to go with it. This has got me thinking
again about the headings in a one page profile and in particular,
how they convey appreciation.
There are three components of a one-page
profile. They are usually referred to as 'like and admire'; what is
important to you; and best to support you. In person-centred
thinking, we talk about this being what is 'important to you' and
what is 'important for you', and the balance between the two.
Chocolate is important to Laura. As her parent, I have to try and
balance how important chocolate is to Laura, with
how it is important for her to have healthy teeth
and limit her fat and sugar intake. Therefore she has chocolate on
her list of what is important to her and the support section
reflects the balance we have negotiated of no more than two treats
Over the last week, I have developed a new understanding of just
how important the appreciation section of a one-page profile is.
The first people to benefit from person-centred thinking and
planning were people with learning disabilities. I
understood the 'like and admire' section as a way to balance and
redress the negative stereotypes people had endured.
As one-page profiles are now used widely, for example with
people who have long term health conditions, with older people and
people who use mental health services, the term 'like and admire'
started to jar and people expressed concerns about this being
patronising. We even talked in the team about whether having any
sort of 'like and admire' was necessary.
My view now is absolutely, yes we do.
Last week I was immersed in Appreciative Inquiry during a summit
with the HSA and HSA Press teams. We were planning what we want to
achieve together over the next two years. We started with
individual interviews and storytelling and shared what other people
appreciated about us. This did not feel patronising but rather life
affirming and a great place to think about change by building on
what was good.
This has convinced me that we absolutely need to keep a focus on
appreciation in every plan, in every review and in every one-page
profile. Everyone needs to keep hearing and thinking about what is
valuable, admired and appreciated about them. Nancy Kline, author
of 'Time to Think', talks about how important it is for people to
feel appreciation, in order to think well for themselves and how
much we need this in our culture.
"Everyday the world pulls us down, shakes us up, slices into
us, laughs at our attempts and belittles our triumphs. We need to
hear afresh every day a few good things that are honestly good
about us." Nancy Kline
You can use whatever language makes sense to people in
describing these appreciations. My daughter Laura personally likes
the heading what people 'like and admire' about her. Now, when I
talk and write about one-page profiles, I am describing this as the
'appreciation' section, and it has a new sense of significance for