Empowerment: from philosophy to practice

Patient Educ Couns. 1995 Sep;26(1-3):139-44. doi: 10.1016/0738-3991(95)00730-n.


Our paper reviews the philosophical and theoretical foundations of the empowerment approach to chronic disease care and education. The fundamental differences between the compliance and empowerment approaches are elucidated. The empowerment philosophy is based on the premise that human beings have the capacity to make choices and are responsible for the consequences of their choices. Empowerment is defined as an educational process designed to help patients develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and degree of self-awareness necessary to effectively assume responsibility for their health-related decisions. Using empowerment as an intellectual foundation, an holistic approach to health education is presented. Topics such as well-being, self-image, motivation, adaptability, stress management, problem-solving, social support, self-awareness, and hope, are discussed. Our paper asserts that health educators have a responsibility to address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual needs of persons challenged to live with a chronic disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Philosophy, Medical*
  • Power, Psychological*