Northampton Press

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Dr. Bernie S. Siegel speaks on the CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Dr. Bernie S. Siegel speaks on the "Psychology of Illness and the Art of Healing," 7:30 p.m. April 22, Central Moravian Church, Main and Church streets, Bethlehem.

Exceptional Patients

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 by CAROLE GORNEY Special to The Press in Focus

'Love, Medicine and Miracles' author to deliver fifth annual St. Luke's-Littner Memorial lecture

Dr. Bernie S. Siegel, best-selling author of "Love, Medicine and Miracles" and founder of Exceptional Cancer Patients, speaks on the "Psychology of Illness and the Art of Healing," 7:30 p.m. April 22, Central Moravian Church, Main and Church streets, Bethlehem.

The lecture is the fifth in the series sponsored by the Dr. and Mrs. Max Littner Memorial Lecture Series for Bereavement and St. Luke's University Health Network. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Siegel is synonymous with the cultural shift in how we think about the relationship between doctors and patients, according to grief counselor Wendy Littner Thompson, founder of the lecture series that honors her grandparents.

The shift, she says, is largely based on Siegel's experience in encouraging patient empowerment and collaborative healing partnerships.

"I can't imagine anyone more qualified to address the big issue of 'mind, body and healing' than Bernie [Siegel]," Littner Thompson says.

Siegel is credited with breaking new ground in the field of healing, especially as a proponent of the powerful role he believes the mind plays in fighting illness.

In his 12 books, as well as radio shows, workshops and lectures, he promotes the benefits of providing messages of hope and love.

"When you help people love themselves, amazing things happen to the body," says Siegel.

He founded Exceptional Cancer Patients (ECaP) in 1978 as a form of individual and group therapy that uses patients' dreams, drawings and images to facilitate healing.

Siegel considers the word "patient" to imply a submissive person without hope. Exceptional patients, however, are those who he says are empowered to take an active and meaningful role in their health care.

ECaP was acquired by the Mind-Body Wellness Center in 1999. Siegel continues to be involved in helping expand the role of the organization worldwide.

According to an information page in his latest book, ECaP continues "to encourage the integration of comprehensive therapeutic strategies within the realm of traditional medicine," rather than promoting an alternative approach.

To that end, Siegel and Dr. Barry Bittman, director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, have developed an interactive program that is offered persons with cancer.

ECaP also provides workshops for health care professionals in the discipline of psychoneuroimmunology, which is the study of the relationships between emotions and beliefs and the functioning of the nervous, endocrine and immune systems.

Siegel graduated from Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College, and received surgical training at Yale New Haven Hospital and the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Siegel retired 1989 from Yale University where he was Assistant Clinical Professor of General and Pediatric Surgery to devote more time to ECaP and to help people cope with chronic illnesses.

General admission tickets for Dr. Bernie Siegel's lecture may be purchased at the Cancer Support Community, Suite 110, Marcon Boulevard, Allentown; Moravian Book Shop, 428 Main St,, Bethlehem, and sluhn.org/littnerlectureseries.