Responsive Practice

Responsive Practice represents the most respectful, dignified and human-centred way for helping individuals, groups and whole organizations to achieve preferred outcomes for themselves and those they serve. The beliefs and principles outlined here are consistently applied throughout all Responsive programs, including the helping professions, education, leadership and parenting.

The following beliefs about people and behaviour are foundational and guide the intentional cultivation of Responsive Practice.

All People

    1. Are inherently oriented towards development and growth.
    2. Are at their best when they are Safe, Significant and Situated.
    3. Do well in relationships characterized by trust, respect, compassion, non-judgement, acceptance and positive-regard.
    4. Are motivated by meaning (in the moment) and meaningful (alignment with Needs, Values, Goals and Strengths).
    5. Have strengths, are resilient and have the capacity to change.

All Behaviour

  1. Is a response to something or someone. There is no ‘reaction’. Even the quickest, most reflexive response has purpose
  2. Occurs in a context (Past, Present, Power) that contributes to its purpose.
  3. Is reflective of what people care about. It holds meaning and is driven by needs, values, goals and strengths.
  4. Has a reason and makes sense to the individual(s). Those reasons are understandable. That understanding can be communicated and shared when framed in light of needs, values, strengths and goals.


All Problems

  1. Make sense. They have to or they would not exist.
  2. Are often responses to deeper problems.
  3. Are often interconnected responses to the problems we see in each other.  As a consequence, problems are often relational, existing as co-constructed and interconnected “responses to responses”.
  4. Hint at unmet needs, violated values, untapped strengths, obstructed goals, misconstrued efforts.
  5. When named, affect what is possible to notice and to do in response. Naming the problem is an act of power.



Responsive Practice Foundations

Relationship and Meaningful Connection

Healing, growth and development can only be realized and achieved in relationships wherein compassion, acceptance, understanding, trust, respect and unconditional positive regard are prioritized as foundational.

Power Awareness

All professional helping relationships are embedded in a power dynamic, or role hierarchy. This power imbalance can be incredibly helpful (providing needed support, resources and assistance to those in the “down” power position), or incredibly harmful (reinforcing negative/traumatic experiences, impeding the development of autonomy and control, perpetuating the impacts of status and privilege power).

Meaning Making

Human beings feel better and do much better when their environments, relationships, interactions and choices are experienced as Most Meaningful. When helpers understand and respect unique needs, values, goals and strengths (of their client and themselves) they are better able to respond to and leverage these towards preferred ways of being and a more satisfying life with greater meaning.

Values-Centred Practice

Because values are just words until our actions give them meaning, it is critical that important values such as compassion, relationships, responsibility, supportiveness, empowerment and self-determination (among others) are purposefully and perpetually operationalized within every aspect of helping. The Responsive Approach incorporates a Values-Centred Design process with practitioners and organizations to ensure that values don’t solely exist “on the wall”, but are evident in every area of practice.

Strengths-Focused Practice

Success is achieved by developing our strengths not by eliminating our weaknesses.

— Marilyn vos Savant

Personal development, success and resilience are achieved and maximized through the identification, cultivation, construction and leveraging of strengths and capabilities.

Feedback Informed

In support of the previous five practice priorities, we believe that operating without appropriate feedback mechanisms (both informal and formal) puts practitioners, programs, and most importantly, clients, at risk of negative outcomes. Responsive Practice utilizes the right tools for the right outcomes, helps centre the client voice, provides essential feedback to all involved and helps to legitimize your program’s services and offerings. In short, the Responsive approach to feedback helps you to both prove and improve the efficacy of your services.

Why Responsive Practice?

Responsive Practice is an approach that moves away from traditional and reductionist views of people and behaviour. This approach is guided by foundational beliefs that challenge pathological, problem-oriented and biomedical-focused frameworks so that we may understand and approach human helping in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

Connect with the Team

Curious about a custom training or project? Connect to learn how we can help your team improve their effectiveness.

Join the Responsive Practice Network

We’ll only send you highly useful resources and learning opportunities.

We offer a wide range of training and development options, including;

  • Keynote addresses
  • Workshops and professional development courses
  • Customized curriculum and training to meet your unique needs
  • Group and Individual coaching
  • Client-centred outcome and evaluation systems
  • Program development and auditing

Responsive Practice is a collaboration between Myriad Consulting Ltd. and Attainability Group Ltd.