The social space of empowerment within epilepsy services: The map is not the terrain

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Empowerment is now seen as an integral component of holistic practice and service design in healthcare, particularly as it relates to the improvement of quality of life for people with epilepsy. However, the literature suggests that empowerment is a neglected and poorly understood concept by service users and providers alike within epilepsy services. Conceptual ambiguity is a further impediment to its understanding and implementation. Bearing this in mind, a clear definition of empowerment is needed in order to realistically recognize, encourage, and prioritize empowerment as a service design philosophy. Therefore, this paper undertakes a concept analysis of empowerment with reference to epilepsy services. Results indicate that empowerment demands a transformation of consciousness and a readiness to act on this transformation in order to allow people to gain personal power and autonomy over their own life, including the self-management of their condition. With this in mind, a critical reflection on the 'micro' and 'macro' levels of power that exist within epilepsy services is warranted with reference to theoretical principles. In this context although the map is not the terrain, we argue that an educational intervention guided by critical social theory principles has the potential to encourage an understanding of empowerment and 'holds the key' to future advances for its implementation within epilepsy services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2016


  • Concept analysis
  • Critical reflection
  • Critical social theory
  • Empowerment
  • Epilepsy services
  • People with epilepsy
  • Service providers


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