The Wright Perspective

End of Life & Chronic Illness Counselling

Softening illness suffering for individuals, couples and families is the aspiration of my professional life.

I help those who are suffering with illness:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Conditions
  • MS
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s
  • Epilepsy
  • COPD

Is this illness experience (chronic, end-of-life) of yourself or a loved one causing unbearable suffering?


Are you afraid to express your suffering so as not to burden your loved ones. Or perhaps you worry you will be seen as weak and complaining if you discuss your illness suffering.


Are you wondering how you will bear the suffering and grief if your loved one passes?

You Can Soften Your Suffering

What enhances or decreases illness suffering? 

Every person has particular illness beliefs about the cause of illness, the diagnosis, the preferred treatment or healing, the prognosis, and the role of family members. Your illness beliefs have more to do with how much you may or may not suffer.

Illness is a family affair.

Illness is never experienced in isolation but always interconnected with relationships. Every significant person in your life experiences the illness; no one family member or loved one “has” cancer, chronic pain, or a coronary. From the onset of symptoms, through diagnosis and treatment, other family members are influenced by the illness. Therefore, it’s important to acknowledge and discuss the impact on all family members, not only the person with the illness diagnosis. This is all part of moving towards illness healing.

Illness suffering invites the big questions of life.

Illness suffering often leads into the spiritual domain as the big questions of life are often questioned or confronted. For example, you might wonder why this illness has happened to you? You have not been a bad person and wonder why your family must suffer? Or how can you support your loved one when you are angry or sad about their chosen poor health practices?

Deep suffering often occurs when one is experiencing serious illness and loss; the forced exclusion from everyday life; the strain of trying to endure; acute or chronic pain and conflict, anguish, or interference with love in relationships when illness or loss emerges.

How I Help Soften Suffering

You will benefit from my 45 years of clinical practice working with individuals, couples, and families experiencing chronic & life-threatening illness; end-of-life, grief, and loss. I have heard hundreds of stories of illness suffering and have been deeply touched as a clinician, a nurse educator, and as a woman.

It is the aspiration of my professional life to assist in softening illness suffering of individuals, couples, and families who entrust me with their illness stories. My efforts have been honoured and recognized with several awards, two honorary doctorates (University of Montreal and Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden). Most recently, July, 2022, I received the great honour of receiving the Order of Canada.

In addition to my own clinical research, I have learned firsthand from my clinical practice how illness can change and disrupt lives and relationships. My goal for treatment is to soften the suffering of those in my care and promote their own illness healing, courage, and resources.

What Is My Therapeutic Approach?

As you tell your illness story, I will provide a safe and non-judgmental space for you and/or your loved ones to express grief, sadness, anger and perhaps even the positives that may have emerged from this illness experience. During our therapeutic conversations, we will collaboratively work together to promote illness healing that will enable you to move forward in your life and in your relationships with less suffering and anguish.

The primary emotion for health and healing is love. But often when illness arises, there is often interference with love in relationships as family members may have different illness beliefs of how to best treat and heal from an illness. These differences can result in conflict, distancing or withdrawing from one another. Differing illness beliefs can trigger illness suffering. However, in our work together, we will manage and ease possible conflict or lack of closeness by exploring and challenging those illness beliefs so that healing may begin.

To understand more about my particular clinical approaches, please refer to my books, particularly Illness Beliefs: The Heart of Healing in Families and Individuals (2021) and Suffering & Spirituality: The Path to Illness Healing (2017).

Schedule A Zoom Session

Rate – $250/hr

With my extensive clinical experience of 45 years, I am able to effectively assist families to soften their suffering in one or two Zoom sessions. Submit the form below and I will contact you within 24 hours to schedule a session.

Welcome to my bio. I am a world traveler, writer, international lecturer, and consultant for individuals/couples/families suffering with serious or life-threatening illness.



My current life goal is to contribute my knowledge to health professionals about illness beliefs, illness suffering and illness healing of how to best assist individuals, couples, and families heal from their illness experiences. I’ve been offering this knowledge through lectures/workshops and my professional books and articles. I also want to learn from other cultures about their family, health and illness, and spiritual rituals and practices to heal individuals, couples, and families from illness. To that end, I travel extensively and have visited 84 countries and hoping to visit 100.


With 45 years of clinical experience, I’m pleased to still be offering consultations and coaching to individuals/couples/ families who are experiencing emotional, physical and/or spiritual suffering with serious illness and end of life conditions.


I believe that having being raised in a three generational home with a grandmother who suffered with rheumatoid arthritis was my baptism to understanding the influence of chronic illness, and particularly chronic pain on our family. It also enabled me to learn as a young child about empathy and compassion for my grandmother as an illness sufferer. My grandmother was the center of our family but her chronic pain ruled all of us.


Perhaps from these childhood experiences, it is no surprise that I entered the health care profession of nursing. I graduated as a RN, Calgary General Hospital, Calgary, Canada. Afterward, I worked on a psychiatric unit for a year in a general hospital and enjoyed this aspect of nursing tremendously. I returned to university to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Upon receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I enjoyed my first teaching experience at my alma mater, School of Nursing, Calgary General Hospital.

However, after one year of teaching, I was eager to pursue further nursing education. I decided to pursue a Masters’ degree where I could focus on Mental Health-Psychiatric Nursing. Since there was no Masters Degrees in Nursing in Canada at that time (that is really dating myself), I headed to the United States for graduate studies. I thought it would be a lovely experience to be warm while obtaining a Masters’ degree so I chose the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii. This was my first experience of meeting people from many different countries and being a minority. It was a magnificent life experience on many levels. My years of studying and working in Hawaii became a touchstone for my love of learning about other cultures and traveling.

It was during my Masters studies that I was first introduced to systemic thinking in the field of marriage and family therapy. This provided a dramatic shift in my thinking and understanding about human problems and suffering. I now focused on the interaction and reciprocity between family dynamics and illness and engaged in relational practice. After 5 years in Hawaii, I yearned to learn more about families and illness, so I embarked on doctoral studies at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA. My major was marriage and family therapy with a minor in mental health/psychiatric nursing within the Child Development/Family Relationships Department.

After 7 years of living, studying, and working in the United States, I was ready to return to my home and native land of Canada. I first joined the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary and taught young medical students about families and illness. I also had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Family Therapy Program, University of Calgary supervising students/therapists and consulting with families. After 4 years, I was recruited to the Faculty of Nursing to assist with establishing a new Masters’ degree program in the Faculty of Nursing. This opened the door for me to now combine my family therapy background with my original discipline of nursing.

While at the Faculty of Nursing, I established the Family Nursing Unit and was the Director for 20 years (1982-2002). It was a research and education unit that provided assistance to families suffering with serious illness. Over those 20 years, I was privileged to have worked with Drs Wendy Watson, Dr Janice Bell, and Dr Nancy Moules. Through our clinical practice and research, we strived to learn how to best assist families suffering with serious illness. I also had the privilege of teaching and providing supervision to Masters/Doctoral students who were specializing in Family Systems Nursing.


In 2002, I embarked on a very different journey. After a very rewarding academic career, I retired from the University of Calgary and was bestowed a Professor Emeritus of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I began to accept more invitations to lecture and conduct workshops in various countries about families and illness beliefs, illness suffering, and spirituality. The life lessons, both professionally and personally have been transforming and enlightening.

I’ve been very privileged to receive many requests to speak and have given over 300 presentations and workshops at national and international chronic illness, family health, family nursing, family therapy, oncology, palliative care, parish nursing and spirituality and health conferences. I have also been invited to provide lectures/workshops at various universities and hospitals nationally/internationally.


I’m the author of 12 books and numerous chapters and articles. My most recent books are: Illness Beliefs: The heart of healing in families & individuals (3rd ed) (2021); Wright & Leahey’s Nurses and Families: A guide to family assessment and intervention (8th ed) (2023); and Suffering and Spirituality: The Path to Illness Healing (2017).

I’ve also developed 4 clinical practice models, specifically the Trinity Model (advanced practice) and co-developed the Illness Beliefs Model (advanced practice) and co-developed the Calgary Family Assessment and Intervention Models (generalist practice).

I wrote/produced the educational DVD “Therapeutic Conversations with Families: What’s Love Got to Do With it?”(2016) and “Spirituality, Suffering, and Illness: Conversations for Healing”(2007); and co-produced with Dr Maureen Leahey 8 educational Family Nursing DVD’s.


I’ve been privileged to receive several honours and awards for my contributions and leadership in family health, family nursing, and family therapy. In 2020, I was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the College and Association of Registered Nurses in Alberta, Canada. In 2013, I was awarded the distinguished Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in Canada. The American Family Therapy Academy presented me with the Innovative Contribution to Family therapy Award in 2011 and Excellence in Family Nursing Award, in 2021 by the International Family Nursing Association.

I was also been bestowed Honorary Doctorates from Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden, 2012 and the University of Montreal, Canada, 2008.

Most recently, I was honored as a recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada, July, 2022.

It is most gratifying and humbling to be recognized by your peers for my professional efforts to soften the suffering of those who encounter chronic or life-threatening physical and/or mental illness.

When not traveling the world, I reside in Calgary, Canada. I have been blessed with dear friends in Canada and many other countries and of course find great enjoyment being an aunt, great-aunt, sister, and sister-in-law.