Author’s royalties and book sales benefit people with developmental and intellectual disabilities through The Trinity Foundation, Joliet, Illinois

A New Plan introduces a contemporary model of person-centered planning for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. This planning process also works for the elderly and persons recovering from mental illness also in need of supports in goal setting and accomplishment.

The model is based on the findings of positive psychology’s best and promising practices, and the benefits resulting from cultivating a positive, high performing work culture. 

The book benefits family members as well as the professionals who work with people who have developmental and intellectual disabilities including case managers, psychologists, social workers, behavior analysts, special education teachers, direct support staff, and managers and administrators who support people through schools and other provider organizations. 

Thousands of people with disabilities are living a better life today because of person-centered planning. 

A New Plan is a must-read for everyone committed to helping others live their best possible life. 


Why A New Plan

Authors Art and Thane Dykstra saw that person-centered plans, especially for those with intellectual disabilities, had become systematically more and more bureaucratized. What should have been individualized plans for the future look more like service plans on one hand or care plans on the other. Either approach reads like a rules compliance document.

Recognizing the contributions of positive psychology, especially the insights into well-being, A NEW PLAN was written to incorporate those new elements as well as the foundation principles of person-centered planning along with the importance of addressing personal outcomes. The result, A NEW PLAN, is a standalone planning guide built on the recognized foundation of the earliest person-centered planning efforts. A NEW PLAN puts the focus back on the people we serve taking into account contemporary scientific approaches and technologies.

A NEW PLAN, uses positive psychology to renew the power and promise of
person-center planning.

Art and Thane Dykstra, Ph.D. renew the promise of person-centered planning to enable people to live the best life possible.

Art Dykstra, CEO of the Trinity Foundation, author and speaker, began his career with the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. Over a period of 20 years, he served in three capacities: facility director for two state-operated developmental centers, Chicago Regional Administrator for Developmental Disabilities, and Policy Advisor to the Director of the Department.

In 1987, he became the executive director of Trinity Services, a small school that served children and adults with developmental disabilities. Under his leadership, Trinity grew into a statewide organization with over 12 major programs and several support businesses, developed programs in Reno, Nevada; expanded services to persons with mental illness; and achieved balanced budgets every year. Since 1992, Trinity has earned the highest possible accreditation from the Council on Quality Leadership (CQL).

Art has also taught classes at the undergraduate and graduate level in psychology, public administration and executive leadership at several state and public universities. He is a frequent speaker at local, state and national conferences, sharing ideas on such topics as leadership, organizational culture, strategic planning and systems thinking. In addition, Art has authored numerous journal articles, publications and thought pieces. He is perhaps best known for Outcome Management, a book providing insights and person-centered applications for those leading disability organizations.

He attended Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, and received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Bradley University. He has served as president of the Board at The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), and president of the Illinois Chapter of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), the Illinois Council of Executive Directors of the ARC, and the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (IARF). He currently serves on numerous boards and advisory councils and is a fellow of the national American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Art and his wife, Anita, reside in New Lenox, IL. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, gardening and catching frogs.

Thane Dykstra, Ph.D. has served as President and CEO of Trinity Services since 2018. His career with Trinity began in 1995 when he became a clinical director of Trinity’s Behavioral Health Network. From 1995-2016, he oversaw a significant enhancement of the network through its group homes and apartments, psychosocial rehabilitation programs, the Trinity Autism and Family Resource Center, the Trinity Counseling Center and the Illinois Crisis Prevention Network. From 2016 to 2017, he served as Trinity’s Chief Operating Officer, supervising Trinity’s specialized residential services and its assistive technology program.

Thane is a past president of the Illinois Association for Behavior Analysis. He has written for numerous professional publications related to his field of study, and has presented extensively at national conferences and invited training. His current professional interests include contextual-behavioral therapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Functional Analytic Psychotherapy (FAP), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). He is especially focused on applying these models to work with persons who exhibit challenging behavior.

Thane holds a bachelor’s degree from Valparaiso University and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. In addition, he completed a pre-doctoral internship at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. While at Brown, he served as an assistant project coordinator at the university’s Center for Alcohol and Addictions Studies.

Within Illinois state agencies, Thane has served on steering committees and workgroups for the Department of Human Services (DHS)–both the Division of Mental Health and the Division of Developmental Disabilities–and the Department of Children and Family Services. He was appointed by the Governor to the state’s Quality Care Board, an advisory committee for the DHS Office of the Inspector General.

Thane lives in Chicago’s south suburbs. He enjoys spending time with his family, camping, hiking, geocaching, fishing and disc golf. He is also a committed runner and has completed several marathons.

Other High Tide Press Books

Outcome Management

How can leaders support and maintain the compassion and active involvement of those providing services alongside them? How can we achieve the best possible outcomes for persons with varying needs and abilities–persons who are pursuing individual goals? What type of learning, risk-taking, relationship-building and personal responsibility are involved? Art Dykstra answers these questions with humor and deep insight. He demonstrates a focus that never wavers from the best possible outcomes for persons served by a human services organization. His strategies, which are based on a creative learning environment and a commitment to excellence, inspire and energize employees.

Building a Positive
Organizational Culture

A strong, positive culture is the cure for “Staff Infections.”

How do you achieve consistently excellent outcomes when people are your primary means for fulfilling your organization’s mission, and you can’t always pay more to get the skills, experience, or knowledge you need? Only a positive, values-based culture, one that supports every employee to be better than they thought they could be, can come close to making that happen.


Art Dykstra, Timothy Williams, and Elaine Porterfield bring decades of experience in leadership and conflict resolution to bear on gossip management in work environments. They survey gossip’s facets and effects and offer ways to replace negative interactions with positive communication habits. Best of all, the strategies they propose have been tested in real-world workplace conditions; and they work!

People will talk. It’s how they talk and what they talk about that makes all the difference in the workplace. What you as a leader want is to create a culture where coworkers support each other, focus on what their teammates do well, and work together to implement strategies that enhance productivity, helping your organization flourish on all levels.


“In its most noble and virtuous meaning, person-centered planning is about relationships, caring for each other and helping everyone involved live a better life.”

– Art and Thane Dykstra, A NEW Plan

A New Plan - What They Said
A New Plan - Thane Art Dykstra
A New Plan 10 Principles