Book Reviews - Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage

Norm Goldmanstars
Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures
A powerful book with a wealth of Information

Using her own personal experiences as well as the skills and knowledge she has acquired over thirty-three years as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Holistic Private Psychotherapist, Judith Anne Desjardins in her Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage: A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit has crafted a systematic plan in helping people attain a healthy and fulfilling marriage. It is her strong belief that unhealthy marriages are preventable and even if you are in an unhealthy marriage, you can still change the course of your marriage.

Essentially, Desjardins’s approach focuses on finding and understanding your “inner child,” which she describes as the being within your unconscious and which is created in your young formative years. As she states, the inner child is that part of you that was originally a child and “it is the ‘you’ from your childhood- your first emerging Self.” In truth, we still have that child dwelling within us, however, most of us are quite unaware of its existence. Consequently, this lack of conscious relatedness to our own inner child is precisely where so many behavioral, emotional and relationship difficulties emanate.

This inner child contains all your inner gifts, your original temperament, your spiritual destiny, your Authentic Self. It also contains all your experiences when you were growing up, be they pleasant or unpleasant. Some of these experiences may be buried within us and as a result may not resurface as part of our conscious self. In other words, it remains hidden within and ready to appear in glimpses in reaction to certain events or situations. Moreover, some experiences and trauma inflicted upon a child may have a profound influence on the behavior of the adult who may be unaware of this phenomena resulting in poor relationships, co-dependency and the overall quality of life of an individual. The way to interrupt the pattern of behavior is to find and mend the child within and in turn this will help in your relationship with your current spouse or potential mate.

In the opening chapter Desjardins cleverly uses the analogy of a “hope chest,” which she explains was a custom in pioneer days to provide a cedar chest to an unmarried young woman in anticipation of married life. The young woman would use her own needlework skills to construct a trousseau of items that she would need for her marriage. Young men were also expected to prepare for marriage by learning a skill that would produce income. Desjardins’ informs her readers that figuratively they are the “hope chests” and she wants them to fill themselves with: knowledge of their unconscious, understanding the impact of their childhood on their emotionally/psychosocial development, healing of inner wounds, knowledge about how they operate in relationships, healthy coping skills, understanding how to be an emotionally healthy mate, understanding how to pick an emotionally healthy mate, and techniques for working together as a healthy couple. In the subsequent chapters Desjardins meticulously explores and identifies these pillars which are crucial to achieving a healthy and lasting marriage. In addition, she examines what sets apart those couples who suffer in their marriages from those who are willing to take action.

To assist you in your discovery and search for a healthy relationship Desjardins provides tangible strategies by way of a practical questionnaires dealing with such issues as the emotional/psychological needs that were not provided by your parents which she breaks down into love, safety, approval, guidance, and respecting boundaries and consequences. Others involve your childhood coping mechanisms, drawing up a personal inventory of yourself, reviewing significant past relationships, and a general couple’s survey. She also provides case studies including examples from her own personal life, worksheets, diagrams, picture images and insights that go beyond theory to offer realistic steps towards achieving goals. To further help interested readers, Desjardins supplies a short list of references and other reading material.

No matter your point of view, if you believe in the concept of the inner child or not or if fabricating an inner child is a helpful tool in giving you a way to nurture yourself where early caregivers have failed, this book nonetheless is a worthwhile addition to an important conversation. Desjardins in candidly drawing on her own personal life and those of her patients has authored a powerful book with a wealth of information that will benefit many readers who are married or preparing for marriage.

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Cheryl Heinrichsstars
Allbooks Review
“In order to fully experience love, you must first find it within yourself.”

This powerful, yet compassionate book was born as the result of a dream, and it’s relationship to the author, Judith Anne Desjardins. She has bared her personal journey of healing and finding her true identity, connecting the reader with this subject. Combined with her professional wisdom, she has produced a comprehensive book for the reader based on the Holistic approach to create a healthy life, belief in self-empowerment, responsibility and personal transformation.

Most of us have heard the phrase “the past can ruin your future” or the term ‘Inner Child.’ These terms and their significance are thoroughly explained. J.D. believes children have five emotional/psychological needs, developing their own coping mechanisms as a child. Whether one or all of the needs were met, or not met, defines how the child will react in their adult life, even in the capacity to give or receive love. Thousands of people reach a traumatic point in life, when they realize they are not making healthy or fulfilling choices. Many spend years repeating the pattern of failed relationships, leading to self doubt, poor self esteem, even developing physical ailments.

She teaches the value of our conscious and unconscious. That forgiveness has to be learned, it does not erase the event or wound, but can set you free. If you do not resolve your personal issues, they become like a toxin having the capacity to destroy your life. Included are chapters on dating and developing relationship skills. It is imperative to have a solid relationship with your own self, in order to maintain a healthy relationship with others.

Judith Desjardins has maintained a 33- year holistic psychology practice. Having been raised in a military family, she learned appreciation for multiple cultures and religions. She has been an educator in the U.S. as well as Canada, but emphasizes her greatest achievement to be her marriage, children, their spouses and grandchildren.

It has taken her 15 years to prepare this straightforward, life altering, self-help guide. Take the time to participate in the provided exercises and analysis. Review now finished, I intend to take my time with it. I have renewed energy in my own search and understanding of what I need to do, not to mention Hope! It is my pleasure to give the Highest of Recommendations!

Shoilee Khanstars
ForeWord Reviews

The night before her wedding, Judith Desjardins sits alone in her room, sick with dread. She is stilled by the consuming fear that she’s going to get it all wrong, all over again. She’s been married and divorced twice already and even though this time it feels right, she can’t ignore the nugget of fear and doubt that tells her something is wrong. Something is wrong.

Like many couples, Desjardins and her husband are ill prepared for the onslaught of post-honeymoon marital issues which, if ignored, insistently eat away at the fibers of a marriage. But more than this, as an individual, Desjardins is deeply flawed. If she yearns for a healthy marriage, she must first learn to heal herself. It is with this spirit of self-examination and healing that Desjardins offers readers Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage, an all-encompassing guide to fostering healthy, happy relationships.

Divided into eight sections, this book takes readers through a step-by-step process of internal transformation. Placing great emphasis on the importance of the individual’s relationship with one’s self, Desjardins guides readers through a provoking examination of childhood relationships. Using the term “Inner Child” to describe the “authentic self,” readers analyze unmet emotional and psychological needs rooted in the formative years of their development.

This assessment of the inner child forms the basis of Desjardins’ theory of holistic healing: because “body, mind, emotions, and spirit” work in synthesis to produce healthy individuals, and by extension, a healthy marriage, a reader must confront and recognize the wants and needs of his or her inner child and in doing so, recognize the deficiencies in his or her own character.

Each chapter builds on the skills honed in the previous section, with active exercises assigned for each major emotional investigation. These “homework assignments” are thoroughly constructed and move beyond superficial self- help jargon.

Though the litany of self- help questionnaires is both visually and psychologically exhausting, the questionnaires pose probing, often uncomfortable, but necessary questions about family history and personal traits.

The book is not meant to be a quick, browse-at-random self- help manual. There are expectations placed on the reader—he or she is required to be an active participant in his or her own healing.

One of the major strengths of this book is the inclusion of excerpts from the creative work of Desjardins’ own therapy clients. As a licensed clinical social worker and a practitioner of holistic psychotherapy, Desjardins’ use of creative writing and art therapy is exemplified through the work of her clients and gives readers a realistic sense of how the process of transformation unfolds in real lives.

A comprehensive and interactive guide for building lasting relationships, Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage will appeal to readers both married and single wishing to invest serious time and effort into the journey of self-healing and improvement.

Midwest Book Reviewstars
A top pick and solidly recommended read – 5 stars

A good marriage and a happy life are goals often sought but hard to realize. “Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage: A Holistic Approach: Body Mind, Emotions, and Spirit” is a spiritual and uplifting guide from Judith Anne Desjardins as she gives a spiritual approach to a better life, urging readers to look inside themselves and their partner in searching for that peace of mind and life.

With plenty of tips and tools to get to that happiness of life, “Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage” is a top pick and solidly recommended read.

Nicole Sorkinstars
Pacific Book Review

We all strive to live a happy and whole life. Most of us want to meet the right person and have a healthy relationship, which will blossom into a loving marriage. We don’t want to be tormented by the past. We want to be loved. We want to be able to love. Judith Anne Desjardins new book entitled, Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage: A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit is unique in its kind; offering a holistic approach with her professional objectivity.

Throughout this book readers are guided on a spiritual journey finding out who they are and given the tools to live a healthy emotional lifestyle.

Judith Anne Desjardins is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, and a Master Social Work Addictions Counselor in Santa Monica, California. She has many years of experience both clinically and personally.

Judith writes openly in her book about her own life struggles that have affected her. She writes about how she had to work hard to make the necessary healthy changes in her life. It wasn’t easy to face the pain, but by doing so Judith now has a happy marriage and was given the added confidence to write this book so others can learn from her personal experiences.

Judith brings home the essence of what is needed as toddlers and adolescents for creating emotional stability. She spells it out simply as love, guidance, and approval along with a few other very fundamental needs of children. She makes it very clear as to the damage caused by emotional and physical abuse, over-protection, under-guidance, abandonment and other acts that parents at times do not even realize are occurring. The realization of these issues and the guidance to work these often subconsciously buried issues to closure is the key to one’s personal transformation.

Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage is really a new beginning to properly train and socialize a wounded adult back into society, the workplace, and family life. Essentially, the process is like that of an infant learning to crawl, stand, walk, and explore the world around them, with the loving and caring guidance that lacked in childhood.

Judith also includes a section on forgiving; releasing resentment and bitterness of the perpetrator(s) of the emotional damage. I found this chapter in particular to be quite beneficial. It isn’t easy to forgive. Judith writes in her book, “Forgiveness doesn’t erase the event, but it does heal the wound. When you forgive the person who hurt you, you are allowing yourself to move forward in a state of peacefulness. You are letting go of the event, the person who harmed you, the hurt, the resentment. You are free!” This statement really resonated within me. It’s clear that we have the power within ourselves to let go of the bitterness and live a harmonious life.

I would encourage anyone to read Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage, not only because the material is well presented, but also will enrich important aspects of your life. The author does not criticize nor direct how someone should feel or interpret the readers’ thoughts. This book is particularly recommended for people who have tried unsuccessfully to use traditional therapy to resolve current difficult relationships and ongoing life struggles. Beautifully hard-cover bound, the book has full color artwork created by Judith and her art therapy students. Reading Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage with an open mind will replenish your spirit and nourish your soul.

Anonymous Reviewerstars

This is a highly enjoyable, reader-friendly, and thought-provoking book. It is an objectively written book that is thorough and comprehensive, inclusive of life’s stages from childhood through adulthood and marriage. The emphasis is a holistic approach with a focus on achieving balance in one’s life by viewing life as a whole – body, mind, emotions and spirit.

The book is interspersed with many practical examples from the author’s personal life and her work with clients. Additionally, there is an opportunity to record one’s own responses with the self-help tools provided. I plan to reread the book as I continue on my journey toward developing a more balanced life.

Kim Auresstars
Rebecca Reads

Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage- A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit” is written by Judith Anne Desjardins, LCSW, BCD, MSWAC (for those unfamiliar with the credential abbreviations they stand for Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, and a Master Social Work Addictions Counselor). Desjardins is an educator and has maintained a holistic private psychotherapy practice for 33 years.

Her goal in penning the book “…is that you will make the commitment to learn everything you can to make your marriage healthy, successful, and the fulfillment of your dreams. Like the transmission of AIDs, an unhealthy marriage is preventable. Even if you are currently in an unhealthy marriage, you can still do the work on yourself. It may change the course of your marriage. When you are healthier, the marriage may become healthier. At any rate you will be about to evaluate your marriage from a healthy perspective and decide what is best for you.” (p. 16)

Desjardins provides guidance in such areas as how to prepare yourself to be a good mate, inner child work, and working together to achieve a healthy relationship and marriage. The book is very hands-on as there are questionnaires and evaluations throughout many of the sections which allow the reader to reflect on his/her personal situation.

I found that Desjardins provides sound advice and presents the information in an easy-to-understand, well-organized format. I recommend “Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage- A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit” to anyone who is interested in leading a healthier life.

Readers Favoritestars

The use of personal experiences makes this a must read self-help book. All in all, Ms. Desjardins offers readers an excellent book. It is well organized, the topics are pertinent. I would recommend this book to be read before engagement.

Sky Sanchezstars
Sacramento Book Review

Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage by Judith Anne Desjardins is a holistic, thought-provoking venture which delves into the caverns of childhood experiences and traumas, relationships, and how the past plays into the present.

It time warps readers back to their formative years and why they think and feel the way they do about relationships, intimacy and sex today. She has put thought, feeling and years of research into this manual and the writing is concise.

If you are looking for more, out of yourself and your relationships, start here.

Carol Hoyerstars
Phd Reader Views

Author Judith Anne Desjardins has provided an excellent resource and guide for anyone who wants to maintain a healthy life. With excellent wisdom and examples beginning with one’s family of origin, she discusses how our psychological needs are met or not met and long-term consequences that might occur.

A comprehensive and interactive guide for building lasting relationships, Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage will appeal to readers both married and single wishing to invest serious time and effort into the journey of self-healing and improvement.

The US Reviewstars
Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage, Judith Anne Desjardins, Spirit House Publishing

The author, a psychotherapist, presents her admirably comprehensive philosophy on how to make a successful marriage. She concedes the deficiencies in her own behavior (two previous marriages ended in divorce) and demonstrates how she has learned and grown from past experiences. Breezy but substantive chapters analyze one person’s approach to tough, specific areas of possible marital discord such as children, sex, money, and fair fighting.

The book avoids jargon, nor is it overly prescriptive or simplistic in its guidelines. It will be useful both to couples who are having trouble in their relationship and those who will have it in the future. In others words, virtually everyone. The author shares her developmental journey through examples of childhood artwork representing her at various self-revelatory stages, as well as therapy artwork by some of her clients. Desjardins believes that deep inner exploration resulting in greater understanding, a spiritual perspective, and practicing forgiveness lead to fulfilling relationships that are genuine, loving, and lasting.

Sky Sanchezstars
San Francisco Book Review

Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage by Judith Anne Desjardins is a holistic, thought-provoking venture which delves into the caverns of childhood experiences and traumas, relationships and how the past plays into the present. While it is weighty in subject matter and pages (385), it stands as an intellectual therapy session with personal stories from the author herself.

Desjardins attempts to define the relationship between childhood and adulthood; hw a healthy balance of understanding where we came from and the experiences we often enjoyed, and sometimes just barely survived, clearly identify the people we become.

I thought his would be a book on cultivating a healthy marriage, and it is, but it time warps readers back to their formative years and why they think and feel the way they do about relationships, intimacy and sex today. She has put thought, feeling and years of research into this manual and the writing is concise. It is best read as a whole and not necessarily a “thumb-through” until read through once…If you’re looking for more, both out of yourself and your relationships, start here.

Susan Violantestars

I decided to read Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage when it got Reader View’s Book of the Year. It presents a comprehensive approach to a healthy life by guiding the reader to search within. Desjardins presents information about our psychological development in a very simple way.

The reader will be able to apply this found knowledge onto themselves immediately through simple charts and questionnaires. But she doesn’t stop there! She also shares her own journey, showing her charts as example. At the end, my favorite part, Desjardins shares stories written by some of her patients during their writing therapy.

I’m always open to self-growth books, however many times I don’t get to the end without skipping pages. This time was different. I loved it. I took my time, took the questionnaires, and read the stories. I found this book to have a well of knowledge, without feeling like a textbook; I also found it personable without being preachy. Very well written, it will keep the reader reading while finding insights about themselves. Truly a book of the year!