Positive Risk Taking

Positive risk-taking is: weighing up the potential benefits and harms of exercising one’s choice of action over another. Identifying the potential risks involved (i.e. good risk assessment), and developing plans and actions (i.e. good risk management) that reflect the positive potentials and stated priorities of the service user (i.e. a strengths approach). It involves using ‘available’ resources and support to achieve the desired outcomes, and to minimise the potential harmful outcomes.

  It is characterised by:
    • Real empowering of people through collaborative working from the outset of discussions about risk and risk-taking
    • A clear understanding of responsibilities, that service users and services can reasonably hold in specific situations; and understanding the consequences of different courses of action
    • Making decisions based on a range of choices available, and supported by adequate and accurate information
    • Supporting people to access opportunities for personal change and growth
    • Establishing trusting working relationships, whereby service users can learn from their experiences, based on taking chances just like anyone else
    • Working positively and constructively with risk depends on a full appreciation of the service user’s strengths in order to identify the positive resources that underpin the confidence to take the risk
    • Focusing on the ‘here and now’, but with clear knowledge of what has worked or not worked in the past, and why. The influence of historical information lies in the deeper context of what happened rather than the simple stigma of the events themselves
    • It is an on-going risk decision-making process, not a one-off decision
    • A clear focus on the specific outcome to be achieved, so it involves a process of attempting to script what the future could look like

Practitioners should adopt a person centered approach. Identifying and working with strengths should be the ethos of working from outset...