Previous research has focused on measuring awareness in dementia with few attempts to define or clarify this concept, nor explore its meaning to the individual. The present study is preceded by a review of the concepts of insight and awareness, and the different approaches to understanding these drawn from the psychological, neurological and psychiatric literatures. The strengths and limitations of the different and models are discussed and the case for further research in this area is presented. This is followed by a research study that explores the experiences of seven people in the early to moderate stages of dementia. Interpretative phenomenological analysis illuminates some of the psychological factors that contribute to awareness and how these factors impact upon selfconcept. It is suggested that clinicians and services need to pay greater attention to the phenomenological experiences of individuals with dementia. Four superordinate themes emerged which were labelled 1. Relationship with memory 2. Relationship with professionals 3. Emotional experience of memory loss 4. Coping and maximising resources. Each category compares and contrasts individual experiences and suggests that insight may be a complex concept that would be better understood by taking into account the psychological processes that contribute to individual awareness, and their subsequent impact on self-concept. The research paper is followed by a critical review that outlines the strengths and weaknesses of this study, as well as the process issues that arose during the course of the research and the clinical implications.