Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage: A Holistic Approach: Body, Mind, Emotions and Spirit
Judith Anne Desjardins
Spirit House Publishing (2010)
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views (09/10)
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. In Chapter 2, the author discusses five emotional/psychological needs that all children need in order to survive. If these needs as well as physical ones are met, then the child will feel safe, cared for and loved. However, many times all these needs are not met due to unwanted pregnancies, financial stress or relationship discord. These issues cause the child to feel unloved, sad, confused and vying for attention. In this same chapter, the author asked readers to really look at their childhood and assess whether all these needs were met or just some of them.
In Chapter 3 she discusses childhood coping mechanisms which we all develop. This chapter also includes a twelve-page analysis of one’s childhood and adolescence. Readers will be able to take a very detailed assessment from the lifestyle and culture of their family to describing their relationship with their mother or father. From Erick Erickson’s work she has provided stages that a child must go through and master to properly develop. One of the additional major thoughts she presents is coping mechanisms that are developed to deal with missed stages. These range from denial to addictions and psychological disorders.
Chapter 7, another excellent chapter, talks about our inner child and the impact on unmet needs. Readers are able, from the previous chapters, place a diagram of unmet emotional and psychological needs and developmental skills not mastered. As well, they can note coping mechanisms they used.
As one moves through life, they learn to either overcome these unmet needs or remain unhealthy. This means that one has to take a serious look at their inner being to include their spiritual needs. In Chapter 13 readers are able to look at and assess significant past relationships. Many times as we move through relationships, we don’t ask questions of the other person. We assume that we don’t need that information until it is too late. Then we wonder why we always have unsatisfied relationships or experiences with others.
In the remaining part of her book, the author asks readers to develop a wish list of qualities they would like to have in relationships. It is important to note that we may not find a partner that has everything we want, but it is important not to settle on those things which mean the most to us. She also notes that after a while, many of the things we found attractive about our partner now repel us. These things cause us distress, negativism and fighting.
Having read through “Creating a Healthy Life and Marriage” once, this reviewer went back and completed the questionnaires, as well as re-reading specific areas of the book. This book was also used in a Psychology seminar for college students. If one feels something is missing in their life and they can’t put their finger on it, this is the book to read.