I’m devoted to bold, inspired efforts that transform practice with families. My publications in book chapters and journal articles are focused on clinical exemplars and research findings about how be helpful to families experiencing illness using a family systems perspective. My intended audience is all health care professionals, with a particular emphasis on my tribe of family nursing scholars and practitioners around the world. I co-authored a book in with my colleagues, Dr. Lorraine Wright and Dr. Wendy Watson Nelson, which focuses on the Illness Beliefs Model that emphasizes the importance of beliefs in family health and healing and offers advanced systemic assessment and intervention with families. (A 3rd revised edition of this book was published in late 2021.)  My colleagues and I received an Innovative Contribution to Family Therapy Award from the American Family Therapy Academy for this work.

Illness Beliefs: The heart of healing in families and individuals


A compassion centered approach to illness suffering for both 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, Illness Beliefs: The heart of healing in families and individuals (3rd revised edition) 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.

“Family nursing is more than family centered care. We need institutional endorsement and support to systematically teach all health providers how to address and soften illness suffering in individuals and families through brief therapeutic conversations.”


– Janice M. Bell, RN, PhD