Health as Expanding Consciousness

Health as Expanding Consciousness

by Margaret Newman

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The theory of health as expanding consciousness was stimulated by concern for those for whom health as the absence of disease or disability is not possible.  Nurses often relate to such people:  people facing the uncertainty, debilitation, loss and eventual death associated with chronic illness.  The theory has progressed to include the health of all persons regardless of their health status.  The theory asserts that every person in every situation, no matter how disordered and hopeless it may seem, is part of the universal process of expanding consciousness – a process of becoming more of oneself, of finding greater meaning in life, and of reaching new dimensions of connectedness with other people and the world.   

Nurses practicing within this perspective experience the joy of participating in the expanding process of others and find that their own lives are enhanced and transformed. Pattern recognition is central to both research and practice, which reflects a hermeneutic, dialectic praxis approach.  

The relevance of movement, time and space was part of the original explication and has re-emerged in the evolving patterning of unfolding consciousness.