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Journal Articles Disability and Rehabilitation Year : 2007

Person centredness: conceptual and historical perspectives


PURPOSE: The definition and Aims:of rehabilitation are both topics of frequent debate. Recently several authors have suggested defining rehabilitation and its goals in terms of 'person-centredness'. However such attempts to define rehabilitation in this way have not occurred without running into their own difficulties and criticisms. Consequently, one may question whether person-centredness is a good candidate to characterize and define rehabilitation. The purpose of this article is to reflect upon the historical Background : and conceptual underpinnings of this term and their relevance for understanding contemporary person-centred rehabilitation. METHOD: We conducted a conceptual and historical analysis of the notion of person-centredness in relation to rehabilitation. We ask first whether person-centredness has a consistent and fixed definition and meaning? Secondly, where does person-centredness come from, what is its conceptual history and does an historical approach enable us to identify a unique source for person-centredness? RESULTS: In the context of rehabilitation, we have identified four main understandings or interpretations of the term person-centredness, each of which denotes several ideas that can be, in turn, interpreted in quite different ways. Thus the concept of person-centredness in rehabilitation has multiple meanings. The conceptual history indicates that person-centredness has diverse meanings and that it has been used in a variety of contexts somewhat unrelated to disability and rehabilitation. Moreover, there does not seem to be any strict relationship between person-centredness as it is used in the context of rehabilitation and these prior uses and meanings. CONCLUSION: Person-centredness has an ancient pedigree, but its application in the field of rehabilitation raises both practical and theoretical difficulties. It may be that rehabilitation might get a better sense of what it should be and should do by focusing less on the rhetoric of person-centredness and by putting more emphasis on the investigation and operationalization of its key conceptual components.
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Dates and versions

hal-03476939 , version 1 (13-12-2021)



A Leplege, F Gzil, M Cammelli, C Lefeve, B Pachoud, et al.. Person centredness: conceptual and historical perspectives. Disability and Rehabilitation, 2007, 29 (20-21), pp.1555-1565. ⟨10.1080/09638280701618661⟩. ⟨hal-03476939⟩
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