Personal Empowerment Planning Meetings

Personal Empowerment Planning (PEP) Meetings can be done as an individual for one’s self, or as a couple, a family, a group of people, as any community or circle of any sort.  The basic concepts are the same for Personal Empowerment Planning meetings as for the Family Team Meetings I’ve been facilitating for years now, which do work for people.

First, the group (individual, couple, family, circle, community) agrees to meet and agrees to operate in this way, collaboratively.  The participants of the PEP meetings agree that no one’s agenda, ideas, ego, personality, will dominate the meetings.  The agreement is that everyone present is an equal, that all participants and perspectives are necessary, and that we’re all here to enjoy this and have fun with it and share and contribute and participate from a place of our greatest inner strength and personal empowerment.  This is very important:  we see ourselves as valued and valuable sovereign creator beings, and we see one another as valued and valuable sovereign creator beings, also.

Second:  the group decides on the purpose for the PEP meeting.  In the Family Team Meetings I hold for child protective services cases, a common type of “purpose” is something like “the purpose of the meeting is to develop a plan so that Mom can live a happy and calm, peaceful, sober life, and create a safe and stable home environment for herself and her children.”  The kind of a “purpose” for PEP meetings all depends on the group that’s getting together to collaborate.  This initial meeting to plan the “purpose” can be held at the prep meeting, using a preparation meeting interview form.

Third:  the group agrees on some guidelines and a basic agenda for the meeting.  How will the conversation go?  Do we even need any guidelines?  Will someone facilitate?  Will someone take notes?  How will that actually happen?  (As a facilitator I started taking notes on big huge Post-It Notes that can be stuck to the wall, and writing with colored markers so that all in the room can see.  Now I facilitate using an iPad and Apple TV.)  Will the meeting be facilitated by using a talking piece, where whoever is holding the talking piece talks, and the others in the group listen attentively?  If that’s the case, will someone take notes?  Will someone else be the “timekeeper,” allowing people to speak for no more than an agreed-upon time limit of, say, 5 or 10 minutes on any given topic, and “calling time” at the end of the person’s time limit?  Will the group collaboratively set its “intention” (which could be “purpose”) and “boundaries” before getting into the heart of the meeting?

Fourth:  group story.  The group talks about why they got together for this meeting.

Fifth:  Looking back at the purpose of the meeting, what are the Strengths the group already has in order to achieve the Purpose?  Make as long a list as you want; the more strengths, the better.

Sixth:  Looking again at the Purpose, what do you need, and what are you concerned about, to achieve your goal?

Seventh, Action Plan:  Start looking through the Needs & Concerns list and as a group, make a list of Who………………….Does What……………………By When.  These should be small, incremental steps that can be easily taken by the time you want to meet again.

Eighth:  What could go wrong with this Action Plan?  Consider what a crisis might be, and talk about how you’d address it — a Plan B — a Crisis Plan.

Ninth:  Next meeting?  Plan when you want to meet again.

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