How Appreciative Inquiry can support a Psychologically Informed Environments – PIE

The PIE approach was developed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), psychologists, academics, and supported housing organisations. It was outlined in Psychologically Informed Services for Homeless People: Good Practice Guide, published by DCLG, the University of Southampton and St Mungo’s in 2012. The report recognised that many of the people who used homelessness services had poor mental health and that homelessness agencies were finding many ways to support them. The PIE approach focuses on recognising and describing the many good examples of work – such as the work done by the staff of King George’s Hostel in Westminster.

housing journal

Appreciating People was contacted by one of the authors of the guidance, Robin Johnson, who is also an editor of the Housing Care and Support Journal and asked to contribute an article on the way in which AI and Positive Psychology had contributed to the development of a PIE. We wrote the article with Leo Richardson, the staff member who led on the development of the approach in King George’s Hostel and in other Westminster hostels. The article summarises how Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Psychology enhanced the staff’s approach to working with residents in a psychologically informed way. One aspect which a number of the residents really liked was appreciative journaling.
The paper is in two parts – here are the links to the abstracts published in Housing Care and Support Journal: Organisational development, appreciative inquiry and the development of Psychologically Informed Environments (PIEs). Part I: a positive psychology approach – Abstract Part II: the pilot study and evaluation – Abstract. This work was commended by the Andy Ludlow Homelessness Awards, and our video gives you a good summary…

We were very pleased to give a presentation at the WAIC conference in Johannesburg a few weeks ago, on Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Psychology in homeless hostels and supported living – this PDF in our resources section summarises the work and its outcomes.

During the course of our work, this rap poem was written by one of the hostel residents:
Appreciative Inquiry – you don’t need no diary
To find the desire inside of me
To light the fire that surrounds me

Appreciative Inquiry, don’t ask me
Try it for yourself and see
Appreciate the things that are good in your life
Forget about the bad
Because that is sad
Look at the positive, forget the negative
Look at the plus, forget the minus

Appreciative Inquiry- don’t need no diary
Look at my lifestyle and you will see.
By Steve McCoy, King George’s Hostel, London. July 2012