Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing

Contributed by Rothlyn P. (Rorry) Zahourek
August 11, 2021

Author – Rothlyn P. (Rorry) Zahourek, PhD, RN, PMHCNS (ret), AHN-BC (ret), FAAN
First published – 2002 Dissertation UMI #23034598 Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing

Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing: The Process & Components

Forms & Bridge States in the Dynamic Differentiation of Intentionality: Expanding Complexity and Diversity

Components & fluid evolution of Dynamic Differentiation of Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing

Basic Forms: Generic Intentionality, Healing Intentionality & Transforming Intentionality; fluid evolution from basic to more complex and diversified.

Bridge states: Reactivity, Dynamic Potential, Reactivity repeated, Purposeful change, Self-Expression, & Being. These expand the matrix; evolution is also fluid rather than linear.

All forms and bridges are characterized by 1) expanding flexibility & direction of focus and 2) expanding & diversifying dimensions of consciousness.

Major Concepts
  • Intentionality in the context of healing and this research is a basic, inherent characteristic of all people and possibly all living things. It is the capacity for, and the basis, or precursor for, intentions and subsequent actions. It evolves in increasing diversity and complexity as one lives life, encounters successes and challenges and integrates cultural, biological influences as well as life experiences.  
  • Dynamic Differentiation is a major component of the theory and replaces an earlier component (development) of intentionality in the theory. It describes a recursive, less linear process of increasing diversity and complexity.
  • Consciousness is a complex and debated concept and relates to a person’s capacity for awareness, and in this theory relates to imagination, empathy and spirituality. Increasing capacity to use one’s consciousness evolves with one’s capacity for intentionality in healing.
  • Energetic pattern is another complex idea in the theory and refers to an individual’s capacity to do the work of healing. Each of us has a unique energetic pattern. Participating with another energetically may take several forms and patterns, i.e. a technique such as therapeutic touch, or using the capacity for empathy, spirituality, and imagination with self and others. Energy patterns vary depending on several factors, i.e., state of health/illness, culture, experiences, environmental changes, etc. One’s intentionality creates one’s energy pattern..

A situation specific theory. This theory is specific to context of healing. Healing is multifaceted and multidimensional and defined as movement toward an experience of increased awareness that includes: subtle or dramatic energy expansion expressed in somatic, emotional, informational and/or spiritual changes. An experience of transformation after a period of intense stress, adversity, or trauma.

Brief Description

This theory aims to explore, explain and pose questions about the nature of the process and experience of healing. The goal of nursing is to promote health and healing for individuals, society, community and the planet. Intentionality forms the ground for the mutual process of self with other(s) that is manifest as a pattern (matrix). Intentionality manifests in the qualities and directions of one’s focus and consciousness, and in the capacity to participate in mutual process with oneself and others that may result in healing.

Intentionality: the Matrix of healing is based on the following assumptions:
  1. The essence of the universe is to be whole and integral
  2. Intentionality is the essence of wholeness all things intend to be whole and what they are
  3. The essence of humanness is to he whole and integral
  4. To be human is to be conscious
  5. Intentionality is the (an) essence of consciousness
  6. “Healing” implies a positive force, energy and change
  7. The essence of healing is intentionality and its form or pattern is wholeness
  8. Healing occurs in mutual process (person-person, person-other, etc)
  9. Intentionality and healing are both mutual processes in which human environmental fields harmonize and resonate manifesting in new and more diverse pattern manifestations.
Propositions of the theory Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing
  1. Intentionality is the capacity for intention
  2. Intentionality in healing is an energetic pattern and potential
  3. Intentionality as a capacity for intentions is both pattern and a patterning process
  4. Intentionality forms a personal pattern form which we participate in the pattern manifestation of others: family, community and world
  5. We have intentions but we are intentionality
  6. Intentionality creates the energy for intentions and actions
  7. The basic components of intentionality are three forms: generic (GI), healing (HI) and transforming intentionalties (TI). Bridge forms exist between GI and HI : reactivity and dynamic potential and between HI and TI: purposeful changes, self-expression, self-awareness and being. Each form has two attributes: dimension (consciousness) and direction of focus.
  8. Intentionality is characterized by dynamic differentiation: a unitary humanenvironmenthealth non-linear pattern, or matrix, that is a manifestation of change. Dynamic differentiation characterizes the whole person’s diversifying world view, self-awareness and behaviors and the capacity to be with self and/or others.
  9. The process of healing resembles dynamic differentiation of intentionality itself which occurs through the integration of learning, practicing, being and acting.
  10. Healing is evolving awareness and therefore depends on intentionality which is also a dynamically differentiating awareness
  11. In the context of healing, intentionality becomes a dynamic spiraling differentiating pattern of change
  12. Intentionality forms the ground and energy for dynamically differentiating relationships with self, others community and planet.

The theory was derived from grounded theory research with 6 cohorts: female nurses and female patients, male nurses, non-nurse care givers, natural healers, and another narrative analysis with cardiac patients in a yoga stress management group.

This conceptual development has been influenced by Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings, Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness, Parse’s Theory of Humanbecoming, and Watson’s Theory of Human Caring.

Primary Source(s)

Zahourek, R.P. (2002). unpublished dissertation . Division of Nursing. School of Education NYU. #30349598. ProQuest, Ann Arbor Mich. “Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing” Doctoral Dissertation.

Zahourek, R.P. (2002 ). “Intentionality: A View Through a Rogerian and a Newman Lens—Lightly”. International Journal for Human Caring, 6, 2, 29-37.

Zahourek, R.P. (2004). “Intentionality forms the Matrix of Healing: A Theory”. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 10, 6, 40-49.

Zahourek, R. (2005). Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing: A Grounded Theory Study for Holistic Nursing. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 23, 1, 89-109.

Zahourek, R.P. and Larkin D.L. (2009).. Consciousness, Intentionality and Community: Unitary Perspectives and Research. Nursing Science Quarterly 22 1, 15-22.

Zahourek, R.P. (2009).Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing: A Qualitative Theory for Research, Education and Practice; VDM, Verlag. Germany.

Zahourek, R.P (2009). Healing Through the Lens of Intentionality. International Journal of Healing and Caring. On line journal Vol 9 # 2.

Zahourek, R.P (2009). Healing Through the Lens of Intentionality. International Journal of Healing and Caring. On line journal Vol 9 # 2.

Zahourek, R.P. (2012). Healing Through the Lens of Intentionality. Holistic Nursing Practice 26, 1 6-21.

Zahourek, R.P. (2014).Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing Creates Caring, Healing Presence. Beginnings 34 (2), 6-9.

Zahourek, R.P. (2015). Intentionality in Healing Men in Nursing: The Voice of Men in Nursing. Journal of Holistic Nursing 33 (4) 308-325; (CNE).

Zahourek, R.P. (2016). Men in Nursing: Intention, Intentionality, Caring and Healing. Emphasis on the Results of a Grounded Theory Study” Holistic Nursing Practice. (30) 247-256.

Zahourek, R.P, (2020). Theory: Intentionality the matrix of healing: A theory revised with nonnurse providers. Journal of Holistic Nursing 38 (3) 287-300.

Application Sources

Aghebati, N. Eesa, M., Fazlollah, A., & Khosrrow, B.N. (2015) Principle based concept analysis: Intentionality in holistic nursing theories. Journal of Holistic Nursing 33: 1, 68-83.

Zahourek, Rorry (2010). Intentionality: Nursing the World to Peace and Healing; Become the Change You Believe. Beginnings 30, 3, 10-11.

Deary, L, Roche, J., Plotkin, K & Zahourek, R.P. (2011) Intentionality and Hatha Yoga: An Exploration of the Theory of Intentionality, The Matrix of Healing. Holistic Nursing Practice 25: 5, 246-253.

Additional Information

Theory is in continuous evolution. Relationship with other theories is evident. This theory hopes to clarify and expand our understanding of an essential component of human differentiation, or evolution, and healing. The theory, I propose, can be useful to nurses as they evolve in skills and dedication to nursing as a way of life and identity as well as a discipline, theoretical exploration and practice. Implications exist for enhancing self evolution, preservation in the joy of participating in healing with others and prevention of loss of hope, energy, and burnout that has become so prevalent as of late.

Rothlyn P. (Rorry) Zahourek

Rothlyn Zahourek (Rorry) is a retired Clinical Specialist in Psych-Mental Health Nursing and an Advanced Holistic Nurse. As a result of her 30 + years of clinical work in numerous clinical settings using various modalities she decided to study the process of healing and the role of intention and intentionality in healing for her PhD grounded theory research. She has continued that research with a larger sample to include a variety of nurses, non-nurse care providers and natural healers. Initially she developed the theory Intentionality: The Matrix of Healing (IMH) in 2001. The theory was also used in an additional study with at risk cardiac patients and was subsequently revised. The theory was also used in a concept analysis comparing numerous theories from major nurses theorists with IMH. As a result of additional study and in depth thought she has revised the theory.