Understanding healing: a conceptual analysis

J Adv Nurs. 1996 Oct;24(4):836-42. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.1996.26123.x.


The practice of the healing arts has been a part of human history since ancient times. Despite the development of related scholarly concepts in nursing such as caring, healing remains an enigma. Using conceptual analysis a clear definition of healing within a Rogerian/Newmanian framework is explicated. Case development assists in the understanding of healing as a concept, and questions arising from this definition provide focus for further scholarly work. A result of this process of concept analysis was the development of a definition of healing which is clear and which fits the theoretical underpinnings of the unitary-transformative paradigm. Healing, as a core variable of interest in the study of health, provides important parameters for study. The definition of healing which arose from the concept analysis is: Healing is an experiential, energy-requiring process in which space is created through a caring relationship in a process of expanding consciousness and results in a sense of wholeness, integration, balance and transformation and which can never be fully known.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Holistic Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Mental Healing
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Philosophy, Nursing*