Scholarly – Margret Newman: Health As Expanding Consciousness Research Paper
The theory of expanding consciousness highly draws its rationale from the theory of the human unity that was crafted by Martha Rodgers. The formulation of this theory was motivated by the rising bone of contention regarding the definition of health. Different theorists were of the view that health of was the lack of diseases or any other bodily malfunction within a human being (Newman, 1994, p.21). Margret Newman sought to expand the scope of understanding regarding the concept of human health. This led to the crafting of her theory of expanding consciousness. Newman’s theory of expanding consciousness extrapolated the perception of health to include all human beings regardless of whether they were sick or not. Newman viewed health as not being a phenomena but an evolving process. Newman’s theory of expanding consciousness state 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” (Newman, 1999, p.71).
The major concepts that are embedded in this theory are the idea that humans are part of a larger ecosystem and energy system. This means that humans are in constant interaction with peoples and objects that might affect their health. Therefore, health is not a phenomenon but an evolving consciousness owing to the fact that humans are in constant interaction with health hazards in the energy system. The most important thing according to Margret Newman is the idea that health consciousness entails the recognition of the fact that humans are in a constant pattern of interacting with health hazards in the energy system. Newman also argues that the manifestation of disease on an individual is shaped by the interaction of the individual with the energy system (Newman, 1999, p.228).Therefore; a given pattern of interaction of an individual with the energy system would lead to the manifestation of a disease while other patterns would not produce the same results. This means that that the disease pathology is existent prior to the detection of disease signs within an individual. The treatment of disease through the use of medicine or through other means does not change the pattern of interaction of an individual with the energy system (Newman, 1990, p.40). Humans have to conscious of their pattern of interaction with the ecosystem for them to remain healthy. It is through this conceptualization of health and the individual that Newman defines nursing as being “the process of recognizing the individual in relation to environment and it is the process of understanding of consciousness” (Newman, 1995, p.261). Nurses are professionals that have the capacity to have a greater level of health consciousness. It is due to this high level of health consciousness that nurses are able to actively participate in the process of stimulating the prevention of disease manifestation and the recovery process from a given disease.
Some of the assumptions that are made within the theory of expanding consciousness are the illness or pathology is a manifestation of a given pattern of interaction between the individual and the environment (Newman, 1991, p. 6). The pattern of interaction of an individual to the energy system occurs before a disease or pathology manifests itself through physiological changes in the functionality of one’s body system. Newman also assumes that the treatment of a given pathology does not change the pattern of interaction between and individual and the energy system. The final assumption in this theory is the idea that health is not a phenomena but an expanding consciousness of an individual’s interaction with the energy system.
Therefore, the overarching theme in this theory is the relationship between an individual, the space with which he lives and interacts with, and time. Humans constantly move from one space to another at different times. Human beings have unique pattern interactions with the energy system through time, which shapes the manifestation of pathology.
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