Open: Mon - Fri 5:30am to 7pm | Sat 7am to 12pm | Sun 3:30pm to 6pm | News and Events

“Identity-first” or “Person-first”. Which Approach Works Best?

You probably remember the very first time you came to Green Apple and the initial consultation you had to have a chat about what you were wanting to achieve and the reasons you wanted to achieve it. You may have done this initial consultation with me. Meeting people and helping them find the pathway that will best suit them is something I am very passionate about. If we can get the right balance of Support and exercise prescription, it will make the difference between whether you succeed or fail in this attempt to help yourself. I am passionate about getting the best mix of activities and the most appropriate team member to look after you, right from the start. 

My approach in initial consultations is to do my best to understand what you have experienced in your life, the successes you have had in establishing any wellness initiatives, or any apparent failures you have when trying to do exercise and look after yourself and it has been unsuccessful. On another platform we have all the things that have happened to us in life and all the responsibilities we have had to shoulder. When we look back at what we have done in our life, there will be times that we’ve been happy, and other times that have been negative experiences that will affect what we continue to do in our life. 

When we are looking at starting a new journey, we need to have a clear vision about where our challenges or obstacles might be so we can plan ahead to tackle them. By talking to someone about our life broadly rather than from a narrow perspective ie our health symptoms or disabilities, we can gain greater perspective. We are all unique and we need to be recognised for that uniqueness. 

I find it interesting to see that the model I have always used when interviewing potential Green Apple members is now being embraced in so many fields, whether in the field of disability, medicine, and so many other areas where client-care is critical.

My model has always been to focus on the person and then work around any health or other obstacles. This “Person-first” care focuses on the individual and their unique characteristics and experiences and what they think is important to achieve for themselves. I will often say, “If I could wave a magic wand and give you something that will really make a difference in your life, or help you be able to do something you really want to be able to do, what is that particular thing?” The answers can be so revealing and give me a great starting place to work from, to plan for them as an individual rather than focusing primarily on their medical conditions or disability.

On the other hand, the very common “Identity-first” approach focuses on a person’s medical condition or disability and is used as the key criteria to establish any actions and support the person will be given. In other words, the identity-first approach defines that person into a “category”, a cohort of people with something in common which will determine any care and support they will receive. 

There is a time and place for both approaches. In big population matters, the Identity-first approach can create data bases that can sort out common characteristics. However, in one-on-one consultations, the Person-first approach will always win. Where there is engagement from both directions, that unique person becomes a partner in decision-making and can take ownership of any actions planned. 

Unless I have ownership of my journey, I am not fully invested in the destination. I think we all have a lot in common in relation to this.

Vote One, “Person-first” works best for me! 

Victoria Gill

Request a fitting

Wellness Quiz

Let’s learn about your health goals!

Step 1 of 4

  • No structured exerciseStructured exercise 1-2 times per weekStructured exercise 3-5 times per weekStructured exercise 6-7 times per week