This phenomenographic study aimed to highlight divergent ways in which a group of people hit by a stroke and their health care professionals understand the implications of having a stroke. Data consisted of interviews with 15 patients (aged less than 65 years) who have had a stroke and transcripts from the health care professionals' recording during the first year of rehabilitation. Three basic conceptions related to the stroke were shared, but the interpretation of these conceptions and the goals of the rehabilitative activities differed. While the patients' experience of the loss of control, fatigue and a fear of a relapse influenced their rehabilitation process, the health care professionals ignored these aspects in their recording. Their focus was more on reduced functions and training. Successful rehabilitation must be based on the conceptions of those who have had a stroke of what it involves. Goals should be explicitly expressed and discussed and be experienced as relevant by the person who has had a stroke as well as by the health care professionals. Measures to assess all the implications of strokes must be developed. The multi-professional perspectives represented amongst the team of health care professionals must be adopted and implemented.