Therapeutic education (TE) intends to help patients with systemic lupus erythematosus to better understand their disease and to improve their quality of life. The objective of this study was to assess illness perceptions of the person to provide a motivational environment for TE. Systemic lupus erythematosus patients followed in the department of internal medicine in Lille university hospital responded to a questionnaire assessing five dimensions of the person as proposed by Giordan: the cognitive (knowledge), perceptual (fatigue and pain), affective (anxious and depressive symptoms), infra-cognitive (intimate reasoning) and metacognitive (worldview) dimensions. The quality of life was also evaluated. One hundred and twenty-four patients (114 women (92%); mean age 44.3±14.3 years) responded to the questionnaire. Regarding the cognitive dimension: quantity of information at the time of diagnosis was considered insufficient for 57 patients (46%). The median adherence evaluated by a scale had a median 97mm [88-100]. Regarding the perceptual dimension: pain was assessed at 59mm [44-78] and fatigue at 66mm [50-79] at visual scales. Regarding the affective dimension: prevalence of anxiety symptoms was 67% (83/124) and 28% (35/124) for depressive symptoms. Regarding the infra-cognitive dimension 78 patients (63%) had an external control place. Concerning the metacognitive dimension, systemic lupus erythematosus had repercussions on professional and family life. The quality of life was impacted. Multiple dimensions of systemic lupus erythematosus patient have to be considered for an optimal motivational environment for the practice of TE. Copyright © 2018 Société Nationale Française de Médecine Interne (SNFMI). Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.