Interviews With Judith Anne Desjardins
Interviews for “Our Journey with Prostate Cancer”
Bookpleasures.com welcomes as our guest Judith Anne Desjardins. Judith has maintained a thirty-six year holistic psychotherapy practice and is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and Who’s Who in American Women.
As an educator, she has taught nationally and in Canada, and her first book, Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage, is the winner of 16 book awards in the United States and Canada. A Polish translation was released in 2013. Her second book, Our Journey with Prostate Cancer: Empowering Strategies for Patients and Families, was released in September 2014. It was an award-winning finalist in The 2014 USA Best Book Awards, Category: Health: Cancer in November 2014.
She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, and a Master Social Work Addictions Counselor. She has speciality training in Jin Shin Do Acupressure, Jungian and Gestalt therapy, and has worked in various clinical settings: oncology social work, in-patient psychiatry, homeless shelter, out-patient substance abuse. To further her knowledge about the body-mind-emotions-spirit connection, she studied Hatha yoga and has maintained a yoga practice for the last twenty years.
Judith received her Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Wyoming and her Master of Social Work degree from Arizona State University.
Norm: Good day Judith and thanks for participating in our interview.
First, I am sure our readers would like to know how your husband is doing in dealing with his prostate cancer?
Judith: I am happy to report that in eleven consecutive PSA tests post- radiation treatment, spaced every three – four months, my husband has had less than 0.04 PSA, undetectable for cancer. The most recent PSA test was 10-17-2014.
In cancer recovery, a person is not considered “free of cancer” until they have passed the five year anniversary of undetectable readings.
My husband continues his personal regime of self-empowerment: cardio exercise and weight work three times a week, juicing, diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and non-red meat protein, gluten-free breads, probiotics, and classical guitar lessons and reading of inspirational stories of true life survival and exploration to challenge his spirit. In addition, he has learned the wisdom of leading a balanced life – time for himself, work, and family. He no longer feels guilty about resting when he is tired and spending quiet time on hobbies that interest and sustain him.
Prostate cancer gave him the opportunity to take a deep look at his life and make proactive changes to enhance healing and health. Throughout our journey with prostate cancer, he has dealt openly with the psychological, emotional, and spiritual issues prompted by the cancer.
Norm: What purpose do you believe your recent book Our Journey with Prostate Cancer: Empowering Strategies for Patients and Families serves and what matters to you about the book?
Judith: The initial purpose of my book was to educate and encourage all men around the world who are living with prostate cancer and their families about the power that resides within their bodies, mind, emotions and spirits, and to teach them how to harness that power to proactively change the course of their cancer and their prognosis. I believe there are many men dying unnecessary deaths from prostate cancer and I know there are many family caretakers who are absolutely overwhelmed with the task of assisting in the battle with cancer.
Prostate cancer is a man’s disease and the general approach to treating it by the medical establishment is to treat the body alone, with such options as active surveillance, surgery, radiation, proton radiation, hormone deprivation therapy, chemotherapy, and some newer treatments. In these cases, the man “puts his body in the hands of the doctors” and does not participate in his own healing.
On the other hand, women with breast and other types of cancers have been educated and encouraged by other survivors to employ alternative therapies like acupuncture, diet, exercise, meditation, yoga, support groups and a “survivorship” mentality which is very proactive. I want to educate men about the power of this kind of approach.
In my book I devote a whole section to “Developing The Characteristics of a Warrior,” which covers seven specific characteristics needed in the battle with cancer: stamina, hope, faith, assertiveness, good self-care skills, flexibility, and determination. And I use a quote, “Your spirit is your most important personal weapon in the battle with cancer!”
The higher purpose of this book is to educate the general population of people dealing with any cancer and any life threatening illness, as well as their loved ones, about the power of a holistic approach to healing and living a healthy life. I spend a lot of time in each chapter of the book addressing the unique needs of patients and their caretakers, who are frequently ignored by the medical establishment.
Norm: How did you decide you were ready to write the book?
Judith: The day after my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer I knew that I wanted to write a book about our experience. For the first six months I committed to keeping a raw, honest journal about each stage of our journey, combined with test results, medical records of pre and post surgical biopsy reports, consultations with various specialists, and research findings.
That was the best I could do at that very emotionally dark time. We were both in shock, experienced anxiety and various fears, and suffered from enormous amounts of fatigue. Both of us felt like we had been hit by a series of trucks and were grappling with this malevolent stranger, cancer, that had moved into our house. We both faced a daunting learning curve about treatment options, potential adverse side effects, and treatment facilities.
There was a life and death urgency to our lives, as my husband had an aggressive, dangerous form of prostate cancer which had escaped the prostate capsule and invaded his right seminal vesicle. He had Stage III prostate cancer and only a 30% chance of a cure. We had to make the right decisions, quickly.
My husband focused his energy on healing from the pain of surgery, radiation, and hormone-deprivation therapy, and started his proactive self-care. I committed to doing research, guiding the discussions with the medical treatment team, and helping my husband deal with his emotional/psychological reactions. I relied on my past training and work as an oncology social worker. I educated myself about an anti-cancer diet and eliminated foods from our diet that promote cancer growth, reading a series of books about innovative approaches to treating cancer, as well as research literature. I took responsibility to change our entire diet. We lived day to day, test results combined with treatment disappointments and successes. It was a gruelling and exhausting period of time.
I wasn’t able to begin the actual work on the book until six months after the diagnosis. By then, my husband had completed surgery and radiation and our lives had settled into a more reasonable routine. I had maintained my own self-care regime of journaling, prayer, yoga, gardening, quiet time in nature, and special healing time with our dog, cat, and family, and my strength and stamina had returned. I continued writing each chapter of the book as our lives unfolded over a two year period.
My spirit told me when I was ready to start writing the book. Actually it told me to start writing, saying that it would be healing for me to release the emotional trauma and memories from my body. It encouraged me to release what had been awful and convert the experience into something that would bless me and other people. My spirit told me that I was now strong enough and healthy enough to do the job, and reminded me how much I love the process of writing a book; being “in the zone” of creativity and honesty, challenging myself, releasing my voice, following my divine destiny.
Fortunately at that time I didn’t worry about the extra time and stamina that would be required to publish the book. It was enough that I began writing. The publishing process would take care of itself and was another part that I love.
Norm: How challenging was it to candidly report yours and your husband’s experiences in dealing with prostate cancer?
Judith: The only challenge to candidly report about our experiences dealing with prostate cancer was my husband.
For me, as an author and therapist who had already written my first self-disclosing book, it was natural and easy. My life is dedicated to learning, educating, and serving God. My husband, on the other hand, is a very private person. He did not understand why I felt compelled to write this book.
I told him that I wanted to write the book because I believed we could help other people. I read him sections of the book, when he was willing to listen. Sometimes he gave me feedback and suggestions. Other times he could not bear to hear it. It depressed him. I was able to ask him questions about his feelings, his reactions to the treatments. He would answer my inquiries, knowing that I would be writing about them. I accompanied him to every doctor visit and keep a copy of all the medical reports. He knew I was writing the book all along, but never seemed to understand why I was doing it.
I could not move forward with publishing the book until I got his blessing and permission to go public. After all, it was his body, his cancer, his personal journey. I decided to keep writing each chapter, with the hope that he would eventually give me permission. I never really knew if it would happen. I had to be willing to spend all that time writing, risking that I would never be able to publish the book.
By the time I was finishing the last chapter, he finally gave me his permission to publish – on the condition of maintaining his anonymity. Now that he has read the reviews and the endorsements and seen the book honoured with its first award, he is really proud of our book. I am extremely proud of him and grateful that he was willing to share our story.
Norm: Do you feel that your husband is receiving the best possible medical attention and how important is it to become proactive in seeking out care?
Judith: That is a very interesting set of questions, Norm.
To answer you first question, I would have to say No. I do not believe my husband received the best possible medical attention because the doctors were not concerned with the state of his mind, emotions, and spirit. Each specialist treated his body with their particular specialty: surgery, radiation, hormone-deprivation therapy. But none of the doctors seemed concerned about him as a total human being. No doctor asked him if he had anxiety or depression. He received no referral for counseling or anti-cancer diet. When he suffered side effects from his various treatments, no one seemed concerned about quality of life issues. After all, they had eradicated the cancer. Wasn’t that enough?
To answer your second question, I would say that it is absolutely essential for patients and family members to be proactive in seeking care for their bodies, minds, emotions, and spirit! To have the best prognosis and quality of life, every patient and family member must be proactive in every aspect of their care. You cannot simply hand your body over to the doctors and hope for the best.
The current western medical approach to treating illness is very short-sighted and limited. It does not take into consideration the interconnectedness of the body-mind-emotions-and spirit. Illness is a state of imbalance in the whole system. To have the very best medical results, you must treat the whole person. You must look into approaches that treat the mind, emotions, and spirit, as well as the body: exercise, diet, yoga, prayer, meditation, healing from nature.
There are a few innovative medical facilities which address the whole person, but they are few and far between. I recommend reading the book Anti-cancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., PhD to learn more about an integrative approach to healing and health.
In addition to seeking out a holistic approach to illness, I encourage each patient and family member to ultimately make their own informed decisions about which treatment they will select. It is your body, your quality of life that is important. Don’t worry about making a doctor mad if you do not accept their recommendation. Don’t wait for the doctor to make a referral for additional services. Tell the doctor you want the referral. Do your own research. Develop your own self-care program. Be in control of your own life. Never give up hope. And be willing to work hard for your own recovery.
Norm: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing Our Journey with Prostate Cancer?
Judith: I was surprised to learn that although I am a very strong person with prior experience treating cancer, and despite taking good care of my body, mind, emotions and spirit, I became very fragile and exhausted, sometimes depressed, and medically challenged in our battle with cancer.
I learned to appreciate the extreme challenge involved with being a family caregiver. You love your person who has the illness. You want to do everything in your power to help them heal and live. You devote your time, and prayers, and every ounce of yourself to help them, yet you must also take very good care of yourself and admit your limitations. You must set boundaries with your time and your energy and find ways to nourish your body, mind, emotions and spirit.
I relearned the importance of the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Ultimately, I learned to admit my powerlessness on certain days and the importance of asking God to give me sustenance and direction when I was empty and lost.
Norm: In the section of your book entitled Reflections you mention that yours and your husband experiences dealing with prostate cancer has led to our greatest joy, learning and bonding as a team. Would you care to elaborate?
Judith: Sure. My husband and I have now been married for twenty-one years. Over the course of our life together we have had many challenges – problems in our relationship, problems with our children, changes and loss of jobs, deaths of family members, minor surgeries, fluctuations in income.
None of these challenges can compare with getting a diagnosis of cancer with a pessimistic prognosis. When we were placed in that position on 11-11-11, time stood still. All other daily concerns and trivial issues fell away.We were alone together facing the biggest challenge of our lifetime. I told my husband, “We are one body, four legs.”
There is a scripture that talks about the raw ore being thrown into the blazing hot furnace. The heat of the furnace melts away the dross and only the precious metal is left.
Such was our experience with cancer. We became forged together closer than we have ever been in our lives, to fight the battle with cancer and save my husband’s life. We went through the journey together facing the worst days and the best days, always as a team. Going to the depths of fear, fatigue, unknowing…………..sharing our hearts and thoughts………….devising our plan for healing…………brought us closer than we have ever been. Seeing each other’s strength and resolve in the worst conditions brought a higher level of respect and admiration. Crying, holding each other on the worst days, seeing each other’s vulnerability brought us greater joy, appreciation, and thanksgiving on the good days. Our love and commitment to each other became stronger than ever.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Our Journey with Prostate Cancer?
Judith: I invite the readers to go to my WEBSITE or contact me at:[email protected]. In the near future, I will be producing some videos for U-tube.
Norm: What is next for Judith Anne Desjardins?
Judith: This book has inspired me to reach out to people living with all types of cancer and their family members and encourage them to employ a holistic approach to healing.
I want to know if they were offered an integrative treatment approach by the medical teams that treated them. I want to interview them and find out what was the hardest part of living with cancer, and how did they care for their bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits. I want to promote books by authors and cancer survivors who are advocating a holistic approach to treatment. Likewise, I want to interview family caregivers and see if their needs were addressed by the medical establishment. I want them to tell me what aspects of their lives were most challenged and in what areas they need help.
I don’t know at this point whether my outreach will take the form of videos, radio show, blog or another book on the topic.
Norm: As this interview draws to a close what one question would you have liked me to ask you? Please share your answer.
Judith: I think your questions were great, Norm, and allowed me to cover all the pertinent topics I wanted to discuss. I guess the one question I would have liked you to ask was, “What part do you think God played in the success of your journey with cancer?”
My answer to that question is that I think God played a significant role in our successful outcome.
From the first day of diagnosis, I implored God to assist us. As I look at the succession of events that transpired, I definitely see the hand of God at work: life- saving appointments for immediate surgery and pre-op clearance fell in place where none existed, our referral to the treatment teams at City of Hope, success of the radiation and hormone-deprivation therapy after the surgery had failed, not developing Stage IV prostate cancer, recommendations from friends that I read certain books, strengthening our spirits and determination when we were depleted – all came from God.
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors and we all pray for your husband and his battle against prostate cancer.
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Interviews for “Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage”
Bookpleasures.com today is excited to once again have as our guest Judith Anne Desjardins. Judith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work, a Master Social Addiction Counselor and a Holistic Private Psychotherapist.
She is the author of two award-winning books: Our Journey with Prostate Cancer: Empowering Strategies for Patients and Families and Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage: A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit, which we will be discussing today.
Norm: Good day Judith and thanks once again for participating in our interview.
With so many different types of counseling to choose from, what drew you to becoming a Holistic Private Psychotherapist? What was it about this speciality that really interested you?
That’s actually a challenging question to answer, Norm. The short answer is that I didn’t choose it, it chose me. It was my destiny and had a lot to do with my individual spirit and inquiring mind.
When I was in graduate school for my MSW, there was no specialty called “holistic psychotherapist.” In the 1970’s a social worker could choose to specialize in individual work, group work, or community organization. I chose to specialize in individual work. At that time, the term “holistic” did not even exist.
The path that led me to becoming a holistic private psychotherapist – a therapist who treats the body, mind, emotions, and spirit – was circuitous and lengthy. In my first jobs out of graduate school, I worked at a county community hospital (helping patients and their families on the neurology and general medicine units, dealing mainly with people who had had strokes or who needed to be placed in nursing homes) and at an in-patient psychiatric unit (dealing mainly with patients who suffered from severe, crippling depression or chronic pain.)
The medical institutions were mainly concerned with the region of the body that was affected: Patients who had strokes were rehabilitated in physical therapy and sent home. Older patients who had no families to take care of them and no money to pay for assistance in their homes, were sent to nursing homes that provided minimum care. People with depression were treated with individual, family, or group “talk therapy,” psychiatric medication, and sometimes, electro-shock therapy. With chronic pain, the main treatment was biofeedback, medication, or surgery on the spine.
In all these circumstances, the main objective was to get the patients relief from the presenting symptoms, without exploring the factors which caused the symptoms.
As a young therapist, I listened to my own inner voice and decided there must be a better way – that treated the whole person.
That hunger to do more led me to seek out future positions that would enhance my learning and knowledge base. I moved from Arizona to Los Angeles, to study at the Gestalt Therapy Institute. In Gestalt therapy, I learned techniques to engage clients in experiencing their emotions within the therapy setting, not just to talk about past experiences. These techniques got clients out of their heads and into their bodies, releasing pent-up emotions and physical tension.
In my next job as an oncology social worker on a cancer unit, I learned more about the body-mind-emotions connection. Through training with O. Carl Simonton, I learned that there was a connection between stress, unresolved emotional issues, depressed functioning of the immune system, and the development of cancer. Likewise, I learned techniques like visualization, body relaxation, guided meditation, and art therapy that could explore the unconscious issues within the person and release tension from the body – all of which enhanced the functioning of the immune system and boosted the body’s ability to fight the cancer.
In 1978, after working for five years in hospitals, I decided that I would open my private holistic psychotherapy practice. I wanted the freedom to formulate my own theories and techniques and I did not want to be hampered by the restraints of an institution. My focus was the entire person – body, mind, emotions, and spirit. I coined the phrase “holistic psychotherapist” at that time. I worked with individuals, couples, families.
During this period, I sought further training at the C. G Jung Institute in Los Angeles. Carl Jung was the first psychiatrist to consider the “spiritual side” of man and believed that each person has an individual spirit that seeks connection with the Higher Spirit. My studies led to understanding the destructive power of unresolved issues in the unconscious, and the healing potential of dream analysis – information and techniques which I added to my therapeutic arsenal.
My next learning occurred when I suffered soft-tissue damage in my neck after a car accident and became frustrated with the limitations of traditional physical therapy. It wasn’t until I was referred for acupressure treatments that my problem was solved. Acupressure, like acupuncture, concentrates on circulating energy or “chi” throughout the body, along an intricate circuit of pathways, which restores balance within the entire body and reduces chronic medical symptoms such as pain, as well as enhances the functioning of the immune system. I was so impressed with acupressure that I trained at the Jin Shin Do Acupressure Foundation and began incorporating acupressure in my therapy with clients.
Another area that influenced me becoming a holistic psychotherapist was my spiritual journey with God, which began in 1976 and continues to this day. This relationship and the wisdom I learned from it led to a deep inner healing of the trauma that occurred during my early developmental years and held me captive as an adult. Traditional psychotherapy, body work, and study had not been able to completely heal me. I needed the help, guidance, and power of God to fully transform my life. Because of my experience, I encourage my clients to explore their own spirituality – however they define it.
Norm: How would you describe what you do as a Holistic Private Psychotherapist and what does it entail?
Judith: No matter what presenting problem drives a client to my practice – be it depression, anxiety, panic attacks, a troubled marriage, divorce or a break up, the desire to find a mate, the difficulty of a child to function at school because they have undiagnosed ADHD or problems at home, poor self-esteem and self-loathing, addiction to food or substances or self-destructive behaviour, co-dependency, the search to find the authentic Self, poor parenting skills, desire to start the spiritual inner journey, dissatisfaction with their field of employment – it is my desire to treat the whole person.
My treatment philosophy is: “I believe we are a “four-part” person: body, mind, emotions and spirit. Each of the parts is important and requires attention. If you neglect one part of your Self, you will create a state of “dis-ease” or “imbalance.” I work with adults and teenagers.
I am interested in learning everything I can about each new client: description of their family of origin and its impact on their development, description of their current relationships and problems, their medical and prior therapy history, analysis of their mental health symptoms and a diagnosis of their specific disorder, how they take care of their body, mind, emotions and spirit.
I ask each new client two questions:
#1. Why do you think you are here today?
#2. What do you hope to achieve in therapy?
Based on their answers, we draw up a treatment plan. I explain to my clients that I am trained to deal with each area of their lives – body, mind, emotions, and spirit – and that I would like to train them how to take care of each of these areas, via such techniques as journaling, guided meditation, dream analysis, deep abdominal relaxation, art therapy, education about how key areas in the brain affect emotions and physical responses, learning healthier coping mechanisms, problem solving techniques, stress reduction and enhanced communication skills, education about healthy diet, and incorporating relaxation exercises such as yoga and meditation.
Generally, I do long-term work with clients. For most people, what propels them into therapy runs far deeper than the initial problem. I give my individual clients and couples assignments of self-exploration in my book, Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage, and we discuss the information they uncover in our therapy sessions. We discuss the problems that occur in their jobs, school, and personal relationships and I teach them techniques for achieving a healthier outcome. We discuss diet, exercise, self-empowerment, fears and resistance to change, their relationship with their bodies, minds, emotions and spirits.
I provide a safe environment for their inner exploration, release of past trauma, and discovery of untapped potential and dreams. We develop a close personal relationship, built on authentic communication and trust, which transfers to every area of their lives.
Norm: What education, schooling, or skills are needed to practice this profession?
Judith: As a minimum, you need a graduate degree in social work, counseling, or psychology. In addition, you need a certain number of hours of supervised employment by a licensed therapist. Finally, you need to pass the state examination to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker or Marriage Family Therapist (MFT). Psychiatrists are also certified to do psychotherapy, but many only do medication management.
Norm: Considering marriage and family issues can be so unique, maybe you can help us by describing what your responsibilities were as a therapist in that area? What sort of things did you do to try and help your clients? What sort of problems are you listening for?
Judith: What I see in many relationships is a fear of emotional intimacy, coupled with poor relationship skills and poor self-esteem, as well as internal wounds from their childhoods. These couples say they want emotional and sexual intimacy, but they are ill-equipped to establish and maintain it. As parents, they will pass their unresolved issues onto their children, who are likely to develop anxiety, depression, fear of intimacy, and similar poor coping skills.
If both partners want to learn, grow, and change their relationship for the better, the prognosis is good. If only one person wants to work and improve the relationship, the prognosis is poor.
It is very important for me to get an in-depth assessment of any trauma from their families of origin, a medical, substance abuse, and psychiatric history, information about problems in past relationships, a history of their relationship with their own body, mind, emotions and spirit, and an analysis of their coping skills. I assign them to complete the questionnaires in Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage and we discuss their answers in our conjoint sessions. I coach them on how to develop healthier coping skills and improved communication and problem solving.
I teach them that they cannot fully love another person if they do not love themselves. Many times I advise them to work on their own personal issues in individual therapy with me or another therapist, prior to doing couples’ work.
The bottom line is that each person must be willing to do the work. I am only the guide and teacher.
Norm: What do you like and dislike about what you do?
Judith: In short, I will say that I LOVE what I do. Each person is unique and interesting. I learn something from each person. Sometimes I am challenged to find a technique that will reach them or work for them. That’s fine, because I love learning and digging deep within myself.
For me, it is a blessing to have a positive, healing effect on another person’s life. To help a person recover from being lost and hopeless and see them emerge as a powerful, positive, capable being who achieves their dreams and potential is amazing and gratifying. I have hundreds of success stories.
Many times people who came to me when they were single will come to me for brief therapy when they get married and have children. I have the honor of blessing the entire family and teaching them skills for healthy living.
I don’t take it personally if a client chooses to prematurely end therapy. Some people do not want to do holistic therapy; it is too much work and too much personal responsibility. Perhaps they are not ready. Perhaps they choose to remain the same. Perhaps they want to work with another type of therapist. It is their choice.
Norm: What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
Judith: The most common misconception is that I will do all the work and the client just needs to show up for therapy. I quickly dispel that myth.
Another misconception is that I will be overwhelmed by clients’ problems. To be a therapist over a long career, it is very important to establish personal boundaries and maintain good personal self-care. I am not afraid of clients’ emotions and traumas because I have worked on my own personal healing and transformation. I understand them because I, too, was once lost and suffering. I share my story of transformation and healing in my book and in my therapy sessions. Clients trust me because I have “been there” and changed. This gives them hope and optimism.
Norm: What purpose do you believe Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage: A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit serves and what matters to you about the book?
Judith: Primarily, Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage was designed as an educational and self-help tool/ guide for achieving a healthy relationship with yourself and other people.
The book presents the theory that we are a four- part being – body, mind, emotions, and spirit – each part needing to be nurtured and cared for, yet each having the potential to provide us with a healthy life. If we experience trauma to one of these parts when we are growing up, we will have internal wounds and confusion that prevent us from developing our authentic Self—identity, and we will have difficulty establishing a close, intimate relationship with ourselves and others.
In the initial chapters of the book, readers are guided to understand their own developmental process, from early childhood. through school years. to young adulthood, and helped to pinpoint the problems that prevent them from achieving self-acceptance, success in relationships, health, balance, and abundance in every area of their lives.
Successive chapters provide a guide for healing and transformation.
What matters to me about the book is its holistic approach. We live and are raised in a society that is very one dimensional. Emphasis is on productivity and achievement in the material world. Little attention is given to the intrinsic value of each person as a special being, with special needs.
Most people hunger to find love, within themselves and in relationships, but society does not teach us how to achieve this. No one educates us about our emotions, the functioning of our brains, our spiritual potential, how to heal our bodies, how to maintain healthy relationships.
It is my sincere desire that Creating A Healthy Life and Marriage will inspire, guide, and empower readers in every area of their lives.
Norm: What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Judith: The most difficult part of writing the book was that I wrote it over a fifteen- year period. Each chapter was written in conjunction with lessons I was learning in my personal and professional life. Writing over such a long period of time required commitment, determination, and trust in the learning process.
Another element that was difficult was taking the risk to disclose so much about my personal life. In the end, I felt it was essential to share my own experience with healing and transformation, as my theories evolved from that process.
Norm: What would you say to people who may be skeptical of the “inner child” concept that you fully examine in your book?
Judith: I would tell them that I developed that theory as the result of my own inner healing. Over the course of many years of journaling, doing art therapy, and recording my dreams, images of children began to appear. Sometime they were babies, sometimes they were young children.
When I did creative writing about them or analyzed them, I came to understand that they were parts of my personality that had been wounded in my childhood, at various ages. The children had their own personalities and coping skills to deal with the trauma they experienced.
As a therapist, I realized that in order for me to transform my life and acquire healthier coping skills, I had to bring these Inner Children out of the basement of my unconscious and get to know them. I had to hear their stories, release their fears and hurt, care for their unmet needs, love and protect them. They were, after all, parts of myself.
The work I did with my Inner Children was transformational for me. I no longer felt like a “lost child.” Through them I understood and accepted my developmental process. I understood why my life had been so difficult and perplexing. I released my past and embraced the “whole person” that I had become. I found joy, energy, creativity, courage, and love dwelling within me – which enabled me to love myself and others.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and your books?
Judith: For more information about me and my books, please visit MY WEBSITE
Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your future endeavors.
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