Helping you find your PATH
What is PATH?
PATH is a powerful graphic planning process and is designed to help individuals develop a big-picture plan to achieve their vision of a good life. PATH is a person-centred process that promotes making connections in the Kamloops community. At SMART Options, we use PATH with some of our job seekers with developmental disabilities to help them discover their job interests and career goals.
The key outcomes of PATH are:
A shared vision within the group of a positive future for the pathfinder
A commitment to invest in moving towards this future
A sense of how to accomplish this
First, we focus on the dream space, where anything is possible. Next, we use these dreams to make time-sensitive goals that aim to make the individuals present life more like their ideal life. Then, we rally the individual's resources and find out what they need to stay strong and accomplish their goals! Once big dreams are broken down into small steps, it is amazing what can happen. PATHs take around two to three hours to complete.
Who does PATH involve? The process will be led by two trained facilitators: a process facilitator who guides people through the stages, and a graphic facilitator who creates a large graphic record of the conversation (both provided by SMART Options). A typical PATH involves a group of 4-10 individuals made up of the pathfinder (or focus person) and their family, friends, and other professionals and support workers who know the focus person well.
When can someone benefit from a PATH?
During times of transition
When connections to resources and services are needed
When someone has questions and wants to explore options for the future
When sharing a common vision for the future between the focus person and their support network could be beneficial
When motivation and goals are needed
Where do our PATHs take place? PATHS take place in a comfortable, spacious room with a large flat wall for the graphic record. The SMART Options boardroom in Kamloops can be used if needed.
For more information contact the SMART Options Facilitation Team at (250) 312-4444
The 8 Steps of a PATH
Step One: Creating the DREAM
The PATH begins by asking the pathfinder to think about what a good life for them would look like. What matters most to them as they think about their future? Others in the group will be asked to build on the vision and say what kind of future they would love to see for the pathfinder. This is the longest step and sets the direction for the rest of the PATH.
Step Two: The POSITIVE and POSSIBLE
In this step, the facilitators ask the group to imagine that a year has passed since they created the vision. The conversation in step two is about looking back on the hypothetical “last year” and remembering what has been achieved in this time towards the vision. This is a more grounded and realistic step—we are not dreaming anymore. All the stories and memories heard in this step need to be possible (they could actually have happened) and positive (we are only remembering the good times). Step two aims to give the group a better sense of what it could look like if they really were on track towards the dream.
Step Three: Grounding it in the NOW
This conversation is about where the group is starting from. The facilitators will ask you to describe what life is like now. This step aims to create a tension between the vision of a positive possible future and where the pathfinder is now in relation to this future.
Step Four: Who do we need to ENROLL
This step is about identifying people who we will need with us on this journey. Who can help us reach our goals and how?
Step Five: Staying STRONG
This step asks the group to identify and talk about what they will need to do (and not do) to keep focused on the path ahead—naming what skills and capacities they already have and can put to work as well as the relationships, knowledge and skills they will need to develop.
Steps Six, Seven, & Eight: ACTION
These final steps get the group to identify bold next steps—both big and small—that can be named now. The focus will move between things that can be done tomorrow and things that can be achieved in a week, a month and three month’s time. The facilitator’s will push for specifics—the who, what, where, and when of actions to be taken. Agreement will also be made on when progress will be reviewed.
The PATH process ends with a round of words and reflections from the group on the work they have just done together and the completed PATH is photographed, taken down from the wall, rolled up and presented to the pathfinder. A smaller sized copy will also be printed from photos taken of the path and given to the pathfinder.