Health as Expanding Consciousness Theory


The introductory paragraph introduces the significance of the report to the target population before discussing the background information about the theory and the theorist. The subsequent section provides an in depth analysis of the theory while explaining its application in different contexts. After providing its relevance, the paper presents the limitations and strengths of the theory and then discusses its application in the field of education. Newman’s theory of expanding consciousness is of great value to the nursing field. According to researchers, the theory applies to clinical health, but it also connects to the spiritual wellbeing of various individuals. This explains the significance of holistic healing in the medical field in which nurses should be active partakers of the spiritual and clinical actions in support of the theory and for healing patients.

Expanding consciousness theory evolves through history because people often identify something new and gaps that need filing in science. The theory of health as expanding consciousness (HEC) takes a holistic approach in treatment because it focuses on psychological healing as an aspect of physical treatment (Newman, 2002b). There are people who only believe that they are unwell when they feel physical pain. This theory reinforces the significance of viewing health as an asset that people should be able to take care of daily. In the contemporary world, people deal with chronic ailments, lifestyle diseases, and loss of loved ones. To many, these natural occurrences fade with time. However, they have a significant impact on the lives of the affected people and this call for medical intervention. HEC ensures that people are able to live responsible because health remains very significant to humanity irrespective of physical injury or disability. This paper intends to provide an overview of the theory of health as expanding consciousness (HEC) while discussing its background and impact in the medical field.


Margaret Newman was a lecturer at the University of Tennessee in New York when she came up with the theory of health as expanding consciousness (HEC). By 1971, the 1993 born theorists already had her Doctorate and she became a qualified psychologist (Newman, 1994a). Newman suggested that the theory of health as expanding consciousness targeted people who only believed that health means a point at which someone has to treat an injury or manage a disability. This gave a challenge to many health institutions forcing them to come up with public campaigns in order to promote healthy living irrespective of the physical conditions of an individual. Currently, medical experts provide means to which people can live healthily in order to manage their health and to boost their immunity against sicknesses (Picard, Jones, & Newman, 2005). While this applies, the nurses also have to incorporate spirituality in the entire exercise in order to convince people that they should approach health in a holistic manner. Newman developed ideas from Rogers’ theory of unitary human beings. Newman wanted to improve the theory of unitary human beings because Roger focused on health as the presence of a disability or ailment (Smith & Liehr, 2014). She wanted to expand human reasoning that health is encompassing and it should be an everyday concern for people. The theory aimed at creating a sustainable culture in which people take interest in their health irrespective of the situations they face.


Roger is relevance to the discussion because Newman only improved a section of her model. In HEC, Newman recognized the human ability to expand consciousness when dealing with issues of health. According to the author, even the most disorderly people can take control of their lives and this contradicts the assertions of Rogers in his unitary human beings model. When people strive to find out new things about their health, the discoveries might lead to expansion in the medical field. This explains the significance expansion of science in the medical field. Currently, many medical laboratories use laser technology to identify sicknesses in people and to perform surgical operations. Newman recognizes the same as a positive step in the field of medicine that takes advantage of HEC. Martha Rogers, David Bohm, Arthur Young, and Itzhak Bentov were major contributors to Newman’s theory because they mentioned that health is a universal concern and their theories provided room for expansion. Newman expanded her theory beyond sickness, disability, pathology, and surgical operations. She recognizes the significance of research in improving the health of different people across the globe (Newman, 2002a). Health as an Expansion of Consciousness recognizes that corporeal health directly contributes towards mental health.

Theory Strengths and Limitations

Strengths and Limitations

HEC applies in different fields including nursing, pathology, nursing, social health, and politics among several others. In essence, the human brain should expand in order to accommodate changes within the natural and controlled environment. All people have the ability to reason beyond the ordinary things they see and they can always find a different angle of relating with the environment in order to solve their problems. As such, nurses can also use spiritual teachings to give patients hope because HEC applies in different contexts. Another merit of the theory is its ability to generate caring mediations for different people. According to the theory, all people have the ability to expand thinking even when they are some of the most disorderly individuals in the society. Through interventions, people feel loved and appreciated because their lives are of value to them and to other people (Newman, 2002b). A recognizable weakness of the theory is inability to offer an in-depth analysis of issues. It offers an abstract perspective to issues because of its application in several fields. Instead of offering a quantitative approach to issues, it only provides a theoretical perspective. The unitary human beings theory has a quantitative approach meaning that Newman needed to assume or improve this technique to data presentation. In addition, this theory only provides a brief discussion of the natural environment making it difficult for people to apply it in a non-controlled environment.

Major Components/Concepts and Relationships in the Theory

Nurses and medical practitioners have the responsibility of understanding this theory and treating patients suffering from both physical and psychological ailments either consciously or unconsciously. This theory is very helpful when dealing with victims of posttraumatic stress disorder, people who experience loss, and people who need awareness creation for disease breakouts. HEC enables people to connect with the world because when they understand their bodies, they are likely to seek answers about healthy lifestyles (Kim & Kollak, 2006). Expanding consciousness is a prerequisite for improvement of health and each person should take charge of his/her own lives. As such, HEC applies in awareness campaigns organized in different fields. In one way of the other, the socio-political environment or technology affects the life of an individual. According to Newman, the nurse plays the role of a mentor who creates awareness about the significance of using consciousness in dealing with health matters. ObamaCare medical policy is one of the laws that recognize the principle of expansion of consciousness. The policy intends to prevent disease outbreaks by promoting health living through multimedia and creating affordable insurance policies. Within each person in which a person socially engages with others, there is a possibility that such individuals will learn something new and transfer the same information to the relevant quotas.

Research Study

The current and most significant research is one that seeks to identify a HIV/AIDS vaccine. While this happens in the US, researchers share information through virtual media because this platform does not limit them in terms of space or costs. Such improvements in the field of science and medicine are evidence that Newman’s theory applies even in the contemporary world. There are advancements in this research as medical experts look for the best Antiretroviral to help in improving the quality of life. The main intention is to come up with a drug that would help in dealing with the virus. While this happens, the available drugs help patients in improving their immunity any enabling them to keep a record of their CD4 count. Efforts are equally underway to stop cross-infection because there are several awareness programs in many countries with this intention. This awareness campaign recognizes that people have the ability to conceive issues that might endanger their lives while pertaining to this subject (Newman, 1992). There are prospects that this research will bear fruits because expansion in human consciousness is a continuous process and the environment actively contributes towards the achievement of this objective. The environment in this case refers to an open system consisting of people and various stimuli.

Application of this Theory in the Practice and Education

Recovery and prevention are principal factors of the theory. These elements equally apply in the field of edification. People learn new things daily and they have to learn their bodies and the environmental influences to their physical and biological situations. This theory is relevant to the field of education because when people learn something new, they are likely to educate others about the same thing. In expansion of consciousness theory, there is always an extra room for learning. The body offers room for carrying out practical because people can relate to the environment through their bodies (Newman, 1994b). For instance, in a class-teaching people about prevention and healthy living, experiments will involve a complete overhaul of a diet to accommodate changes. Newman mentions that health has a relationship with time, space, and movement. By altering any of these elements, the human health takes a different dimension. Education is the only avenue through which people can create a connection between theoretical concepts and reality in different fields that incorporate the knowledge derive from this theory.


In summary, HEC is of great significance to the entire world because Newman focused on a theory that would help people reduce visits to medical practitioners. Besides cutting costs, the HEC provides room for people to be in control of their lifestyles because the main intention is to prolong their lives and to help other people learn the benefits of managed care. Finally, HEC applies in different fields in the society not limiting people to nursing and it provides an excellent platform for information sharing and learning new things.


Kim, H. S., & Kollak, I. (2006). Nursing theories: Conceptual & philosophical foundations. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Newman, M. A. (1992). Prevailing paradigms in nursing. Nursing Outlook, 40(1), 10-14.

Newman, M. A. (1994a). Health expanding consciousness (2nd ed.). New York: National League for Nursing.

Newman, M.A. (1994b). Theory for nursing practice. Nursing Science Quarterly, 7(4), 153-157.

Newman, M. A. (2002a). Caring in the human health experience. International Journal for Human Caring, 6(2), 8-12.

Newman, M. A. (2002b). The pattern that connects. Advances in Nursing Science, 24(3), 1-7.

Picard, C., Jones, D. A., & Newman, M. A. (2005). Giving voice to what we know: Margaret Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness in nursing practice, research, and education. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Smith, M. J., & Liehr, P. R. (2014). Middle range theory for nursing. New York: Springer.

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NursingBird. "Health as Expanding Consciousness Theory." May 1, 2022.