The Book

published May 25th 2009



A compassion centered approach to illness suffering for health care professionals and families. What you believe affects your illness and your relationships. Serious illness and loss often invites suffering in individuals and families that is not adequately addressed by health care professionals.

While written for health care professionals, i.e.,  nurses, physicians, social workers, psychologists, medical family therapists, and other clinicians, Beliefs and Illness: A Model for Healing takes Drs. Wright and Bell’s internationally acclaimed Illness Beliefs Model and makes it easy to understand for the patient and their families as well.

Developed from over 25 years of clinical practice, The Illness Beliefs Model has helped ease the suffering of thousands of patients around the world by enabling clinicians and families to examine their own beliefs that may be causing unnecessary suffering within the illness experience.

Dr. Lorraine Wright: email
Dr. Janice Bell: email
Softcover available from Amazon
Kindle version available from 
4th Floor Press

Japanese Translation Available

IMG_0028Dr. Nami Kobayashi led the translation of “Beliefs and Illness: A Model for Healing” into Japanese in 2011.   Japanese book title: “Yamai no Kunou wo Yawarageru Kazoku Sisutemu Kango” by N. Kobayashi & K. Matsumoto. Websites for Japanese translation: Family Systems Care-JapanNihon Kangokyoukai Publisher’s Inc.

Special Issue Journal of Family Nursing: May 2015

JFN.coverThe Journal of Family Nursing published a Special Issue addressing the “Illness Beliefs Model”: The Illness Beliefs Model (Wright & Bell, 2009; Wright, Watson, & Bell, 1996) highlights the connections between beliefs, illness, and suffering. This compassionate approach to working with families with serious illness invites health professionals to a relational practice to understand how illness beliefs can either enhance or soften suffering. The illness beliefs of both health practitioners and family members can influence the healing experience.

The Illness Beliefs Model is being used to guide clinical practice, research, and education in a variety of cultural contexts. This Special Issue of the Journal of Family Nursing with Guest Editor, Dr. Lorraine M. Wright and Journal of Family Nursing Editor, Dr. Janice M. Bell highlighted how the Illness Beliefs Model is being used to extend knowledge in research, practice, and knowledge utilization across 4 countries: Canada, Japan, Sweden, and Thailand.  A landmark paper by Dr. Lorraine Wright focused on Brain Science and Illness Beliefs [free access].

Dr. Lorraine Wright and Dr. Janice M. Bell

Dr. Lorraine Wright and Dr. Janice M. Bell

Our Beliefs (Wright & Bell, 2009)

Beliefs are the heart of healing. Constraining beliefs increase illness suffering and facilitating beliefs decrease illness suffering.

Illness suffering can be physical, emotional relational, and/or spiritual. Likewise, healing in individuals and families can be physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, or all four.

Softening suffering is the heart, the center, and the essence of caring in our relationships with individuals and families in health care. One of the most useful ways to soften suffering is to invite more facilitating beliefs.

Illness is a family affair. Everyone in a family experiences the illness; no one family member “has” cancer, depression, chronic pain, or renal failure. From the onset of symptoms, through diagnosis and treatment, other family members are impacted by and reciprocally influence the illness.

Serious illness invites a wake-up call about life, which usually leads one into the spiritual domain as the meaning of life is queried or reviewed.

There is a distinction between disease and illness and between medical narratives and illness narratives. We believe illness narratives include stories of sickness and suffering as well as stories of survival and strength that need to be told.

Cellular and “soulular” changes occur through conversations. Our network of conversations and our relationships can contribute to illness or wellness.

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