Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (PATH) is a visual planning tool that is used to solve problems, set short and long term goals, and create action.


PATH planning starts by looking at the future and then works backwards to identify the first steps towards the life you want.

This tool is useful for people who have become stuck in their current situation and are unsure about what to do next. It is great for engaging people with intellectual disabilities and for team building.

The PATH planning method was developed by Jack Pearpoint, Marsha Forrest and John O’Brien.

How does PATH work?

ImagineBetter will first set up a PATH planning meeting with you. You can pick the date, time and location. Often people feel more comfortable planning at home.

You can invite your family, friends and other people to your meeting. Make sure you ask them well in advance.

A PATH planning meeting is a guided conversation and takes between three and five hours. Two ImagineBetter facilitators will guide you through the PATH process.

The PATH process

Before we get started, we will ask some questions about who you are as a person. What do you enjoy? What are your strengths? What roles do you have?

Once we have a clear idea of who you are, we will start to guide you through the PATH conversation. We will talk about seven key topics.

1. Future vision: What would a good life look like for you or your loved one?

What is important to you? What would you like to see happening in your life?

We will encourage those present to think about all areas of your life, including: where you live, transport, communication, your health and wellbeing, employment, education, finances, relationships, hobbies, sports, clubs and your spirituality.

2. Now: What is life like for you now?

What is important to you? What would you like to see happening in your life?

3. Enrol connections: Who will you need to assist you with your vision?

Your connections might be family members, friends or other people in your life.

4. Blocks: What are the potential barriers to your vision becoming a reality?

We’ll talk about the challenges that you might face as you work towards your goals. We can then pre-plan solutions in case problems develop.

Blocks may include money, time, health issues, relationships and attitudes.

5. Keeping strong: What supports will you need to keep your plan on track?

What supports might you need socially, physically or emotionally so that you can pursue your good life?

6. Short-term goals: What do you want to achieve in the next 3-6 months?

This step involves breaking down your vision into clear goals and then setting timeframes to achieve them.

7. First steps: What will your first steps be following your PATH meeting?

Who will take responsibility for your first steps? How soon will you achieve them?

Your plan

At the end of your planning session, you will be presented with your visual PATH. Your plan will also be turned into a written report. This will include the detailed discussion behind your plan, photographs and images of your visual plan.

Follow-up and review

We recommend an annual review meeting to see how your plan is going and to revise your goals.


Professionals: $2000 plus GST

This cost applies to organisations who wish to create plans for people they work with, for their teams or as part of their strategic planning process. Travel is additional.

Disabled people and whānau: $1500 including GST

Travel is an additional cost. This can be negotiated when setting up your planning meeting.

If you would like to use Individualised Funding (IF) to cover planning costs, talk to your IF coach before confirming your planning meeting. Please be mindful that you cannot use IF to cover costs, unless you are already signed up to this type of funding at the time your plan is created.

Ask us about funding options that may be available to you.

Getting started

Contact us to learn more about PATH planning.

Phone: 0800 787 587


Nathan’s PATH plan development

Watch Nathan and his family develop a PATH plan with ImagineBetter. You will need Flash to view these videos.