Beliefs are the blueprint from which we construct our lives and intermingle them with others. Beliefs are central to family health and healing. What one believes about the etiology and diagnosis of an illness, the prognosis of an illness, the best way to treat and heal from an illness, or how a “good family” should respond to an illness, influence health and healing among people who matter to each other. When illness arises, the beliefs of the individual, the family members, and the health care providers intersect to either invite conflict and illness suffering or invite health and healing in family members and relationships. The goal of systemic, relational, family-focused  interventions offered to individuals and families is to soften illness suffering.

The Illness Beliefs Model has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Lorraine Wright.

Beliefs & Illness: A Model For Healing

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, 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.

“If health care providers believe, ‘I have confidence in my knowledge and skills about how to be helpful to families’, perhaps they would act with more confidence to welcome, include, and acknowledge families as partners in care.”


– Janice M. Bell, RN, PhD