Book Reviews:

The Imprint Journey: A Path of Lasting Transformation Into Your Authentic Self
Liliane Desjardins
ISBN 978-1-61599-087-0

By: Rev. Steve Bolen, Sr. Minister, Unity Church of the Hills, Austin, Texas    

"The Imprint Journey" by Liliane Desjardins is a critical message for the Twenty-First Century.

With so many people seeking lasting, authentic healing and discovery of the full measure of wholeness that Spirit intends for us, it guides the reader through the territory of crystal clarity and true empowerment. 

I read this work with a respect and appreciation for the work of the Desjardins, having known them for over twenty-five years and having witnessed the powerful effect of their dedicated journey with so many for so long.

The quote from Jung found in these pages, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate” has been my experience in my quarter of a century in ministry. I have encountered hundreds of individuals, many of whom had “bumped up against” well-intentioned healing models that did not go deep enough to clear the way for realization of the Self.

Liliane Desjardins’ life-work presented so clearly in "The Imprint Journey" provides an authentic, inspiring and clear blueprint to “make the unconscious conscious.”

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to my colleagues in spiritual work and all others who are seeking genuine and lasting transformation.

By: Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views

There has never been any doubt in my mind that we are all products of our environment as well as of our genetics. And both of those factors, whether we like it or not, lead us to some rather peculiar behavioral patterns or, probably even more accurately, the repeating patters of such behavior. What has never been quite clear to me though was exactly why and how we keep repeating such actions, which are all too oftentimes very destructive and/or self-destructive. The best answer I’ve found so far is the one provided by Liliane Desjardins in her book “The Imprint Journey,” which I have been privileged to read before it was even published.

What exactly are imprints? Let me quote the author herself. “You might wonder what are IMPRINTS: they are our emotional map, the deep-seated beliefs and values stored in our brain’s limbic system. In spite of everything we know, our imprints govern our life at the subconscious level.” If you are anything like me, this would be enough to make you curious. Do yourself a favor and delve deep into “The Imprint Journey,” even if you usually do not read self-help books. I bet you will be amazed at how often the book will strike a nerve, and how many of those will be very, very raw indeed.

“The Imprint Journey” starts with a deeply personal, courageous and touching personal story, in which the author tells us about her early childhood in what is today Croatia, and what was back then war-torn Yugoslavia, followed by the untimely death of her mother, the immigration path leading her family to France and later to Canada, her struggle to find her true self and the dysfunctional life she led, all the way to a suicide attempt which resulted in a near-death experience and a gradual change in attitude adjustment.

Following the rather chilling first part is Part II, which provides one with a deeper understanding of what imprints are, how they are created and maintained and how they can – and should! – be changed so that an individual can be transformed and reach the Authentic Self. The techniques are illustrated by a series of true life stories from a variety of subjects, who dealt with many kinds of adversity and addictions.

Never judgmental, never preachy and never overly technical, “The Imprint Journey” is one of those rare books that will make you think and re-evaluate who you are and why you are acting the way you are. If you are lucky, you will gather enough courage to deal with the issues that bother you. All the tools are there, you just need to find the courage to make that first step.

By: Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., and author of the award-winning “Narrow Lives”

In “The Imprint Journey,” Liliane Desjardins has boldly stepped forward to tell her own story of dysfunction, misguided beliefs, and an amazing recovery. After working for more than thirty years as a clinical addiction specialist, formulating the Desjardins Unified Model of Treatment of Addictions, being cofounder with her husband of Pavillon Gilles Desjardins, and co-authoring the book “Rewriting Life Scripts,” she now tells her own long overdue story of an amazing journey that transformed her into a woman with a mission to help others find their authentic selves.

Liliane’s personal story reads like a good novel, full of excitement as well as fear and confusion, that reveals to the reader how she formed her often negative imprints—misguided beliefs that crippled and limited her life. One riveting passage from the book describes her childhood as a little girl in Croatia during World War II following the explosion of bombs in the city of Zagreb:

Like in a horror movie, our home had been turned into a war zone. Pieces of trucks, tires, metal, and glass were covering our furniture. Walls were cracked; windows were blown out. The floors were covered with glass, pieces of china, and bricks. In the backyard, hanging on the tree branches were pieces of human bodies.

In the midst of this terror, Liliane grows up, trying to understand the fear her parents project and which she adopts as her own. That fear soon becomes her reality when her father is taken away by the Germans. She also questions her grandmother’s religious devotion—an addiction in itself—when she sees the local bishop blessing the German soldiers, which makes her believe God is against her people:

On that October day when I was four years old, God became a problem, not a solution….He was for the Fascists and against us. The fear of Hell was transformed into a conviction that we were in Hell. The voices of my Grandma’s angels had been silenced.

Liliane’s story becomes one of feeling inferior, and although she and her family finally escape from Croatia, first to France and then Montreal, Canada, she grows up with the imprint that she is unworthy, that life is hard, that she is not good enough.

Liliane’s path of pain results in her inflicting harm upon herself before realizing her core mission in life as she undergoes her own recovery and seeks to bring to others the freedom from negative imprints she has herself discovered.

While the first section of “The Imprint Journey” is Liliane’s own informative and riveting story, the second section analyzes her imprints and offers action steps that can lead to transformation and freedom. Liliane breaks down the addictions that serve as coping mechanisms for dysfunction, and she shows how she and others have transformed their lives by rewriting those imprints. Extremely helpful in this book is her discussion of the four Core Addictions: Security Addiction, or the Not Enough Syndrome; Power and Control Addiction; Sensation Addiction; and Addiction to Suffering.

Liliane discusses her work at Pavillon Gilles Desjardins, with her husband, for whom the center was named. She details how she, her husband, and other staff members helped the many people who came to Pavillon to seek freedom from the pain and fear, the low self-esteem and self-loathing that marred their lives. She has presented here, in their own words, the stories of several people whose journeys are as inspiring as Liliane’s own and represent a large cross-section of people, from a Muslim woman to an Argentinian man, from female entrepreneurs to a doctor with HIV and a lawyer who battled with the FBI. Their stories explore issues of self-worth, addiction, lives out of control, and how they reprogrammed their imprints so that today they live productive and self-affirming lives.

“The Imprint Journey” is a book that will help inspire and transform anyone wise enough to read it. Even people who have been in recovery for many years will find new insights into themselves in these pages that will help them live even more authentic lives. Thank you, Liliane, for telling your story—for having the courage to share so much of yourself with others, and for leaving this book as part of your legacy and the culmination of an unforgettably powerful life and career.

By: Amy Lignor, Feather Quill Book Reviews

Mrs. Desjardins has written a book that’s well-beyond interesting. With masterful presentation, the first section is an amazing story dedicated to her childhood; in fact, it reads almost as if it were an extremely well-written historical novel about World War II. The second half of this fascinating work actually explains and outlines Mrs. Desjardins’ work that she’s been immersed in for over thirty years; a work that, I believe, could help a great many people change the course of their lives.

When we first begin our “journey,” we’re shown the therapist side of the author. She explains in detail our brain “imprints” and what they mean for our futures. You see, our brain imprints pictures, messages, feelings, beliefs, etc., from the moment our life’s journey begins. As we grow older, and especially nowadays, there’s an overload of negative information that we hear and see all around us every day. From wars to terrorist attacks – government slime to poverty-stricken families – these flashes of light that cross our television sets certainly stick with all of us. In fact, these images “imprint” on our brains, teaching us how to feel negatively or positively about a certain aspect of life. With the Desjardins Unified Model, a ton of genetic research has been combined with beliefs and faith making, for the first time, a usable and understandable model where science meets religion and actually works together in harmony.

As I said, Section I is a remarkable story. The author explains where, exactly, her own brain imprints come from, and the story of her upbringing and personal journey was mesmerizing. She speaks about her own path and how it was shaped by everything from the German invasion of Zagreb in April of 1941, to the sirens that rang out through her village as the world was turned upside down. She watched the Russian army come through; she heard the horror stories of the concentration camps; she listened to her mother weep, her grandmother pray and even lived through her father being taken away. All she saw, heard, and lived while growing up in these atrocities were imprinted on her  brain and would be there for the rest of her days. Other “imprints” were things like her ride on The Orient Express into Paris, which she absolutely fell in love with, and then having to follow her father on his “American Dream,” leaving France far behind. Her story delves into various avenues of pain and fear including alcoholism, suicide, guilt and

The upside for this wonderfully strong woman, who was literally dragged through agony, was meeting a man who held the same beliefs that she did, but had realized that there was a new path that could be followed…a way to erase the old and bring in the new.  Whether you’re in recovery of some sort, or you find yourself in a monumental depression, the way this author tells you about how you got there, and how she describes the fact that your Authentic Self is your real self buried under all the negative garbage
you bear witness to every day, is a new and fresh idea that will help many people who are desperately trying to find the sun in their dark, dismal world.

Quill says: Not only can this book be categorized under informative and interesting, but it is also a truly inspirational, uplifting story about how one woman found a way to offer herself forgiveness, at the same time finding a way to be grateful for every aspect of her life, and granting herself the freedom to live it.

By: Dindy Yokel, Foreword Magazine

We ask ourselves why we repeat the same behavior despite the consequences to ourselves andothers. In The Imprint Journey, Liliane Desjardins attributes this phenomenon to the subconscious imprints that one has accumulated through experience within the family of origin, society, and culture. These deep seated beliefs are intricately attached to one’s psyche, hampering development and understanding of one’s authentic self.

The beginning of the book delves eloquently into Desjardins’ personal experience. Her journey over decades shows the reader they are not alone and how she became conscious of her beliefs and discovered a method to unearth and examine them. The plethora of self-help books on the shelves today indicates a society riddled with self-doubt, pain, and hunger for solutions. It is rare that real solutions are provided in a clear and pro-active manner, as they are here.

“In the fall of 1945, I started school. It was supposed to be a happy time in my life. Instead it turned out to be a time of conflict,” writes Desjardins. “My teachers said that God did not exist. I had already come to that belief because of the war, or at least, that if there was a God, He abandoned us.” This sentiment rings true for so many people today faced with the natural disasters, unemployment, premeditated crimes, and distrust in government and politicians rending a sizable hole in our society. We want hope.

The Imprint Journey lays out the elements of negative self-beliefs and the author posits that what has transpired and been internalized by all of us affects the present day. From why we feel the way we do, she presents concrete suggestions: regenerating hope, integrity, and self -lovethrough cerebral means is coupled with recommendations for mediation.

Desjardins illustrates specific issues through the stories of others and their quests for authentic selves. While she and her husband, Giles, own The Pavillon, institutes in Canada and North Carolina with treatments addressing the issues covered in her book, the book is not a hard sell. Instead it provides guidance, recommendations for further reading, and an emphasis on creating healthy relationships with one’s self, family, and friends. The author makes connections between the individual and the spiritual realms, our feelings versus reality, and explains the differences and similarities. Expert opinions and references to twelve-step programs lend gravitas to the text.

Desjardins is a Certified Clinical Addiction Specialist, workshop leader, and co-author of Rewriting Life Scripts. An artist, her stained glass windows are installed in the Catholic Chapel at John F. Kennedy Airport.

Read interview with Liliane

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