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Judy Tiesel-Jensen is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychologist Emeritus, and holds professional memberships in American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (AAMFT) and EMDRIA (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing International Association). She was among the first to get advanced training in Discernment Counseling.

Judy pursued a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy to fulfill her long-held interest in couple relationships. From early in her first marriage, she and her late husband—also a licensed counselor—led parenting workshops and marriage enrichment retreats, and eventually saw couples together in counseling. Judy has been a therapist for over thirty years. Her private practice in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area specialized in couple therapy and trauma. She taught marriage and family therapy students for over twenty years, was lead researcher for the Minnesota Family Strengths Project, and has served on boards locally and nationally for family organizations.

Now in a new phase of life, she enjoys watching pelicans on the Arkansas river from her writing desk.



BY • POSTED ON Nov. 16, 2021

A female marriage counselor reflects on her relationship with a man of the same profession, and the daunting challenges of intimacy.

When Tiesel-Jensen married her husband, they were a couple with four graduate degrees between them and a wealth of experience analyzing and fixing the problems of married life. Nevertheless, that education didn’t render them immune from the very same problems that their clients had, nor did it make the achievement of intimacy any less challenging. The author chronicles with extraordinary candor the “triumph and despair” of her 35-year marriage to Reuel, which ended when cancer took his life. Tiesel-Jensen specifically focuses on the issue of intimacy, an emotional condition every couple tries to achieve, although it’s often blocked by attendant anxiety. She goes on to discuss many forms of anxiety that they dealt with, including sexual anxiety; both traced their respective fears to dysfunction in their childhood, which resulted in poor coping mechanisms as adults. According to the author, a painful but fruitful “dialectic of doubt” can generate opportunities for new levels of intimacy: “The thing about intimacy is that we have to lay our hearts bare in order to be known. And that means our hearts will get wounded….Usually, we won’t intend to hurt our partners, but it happens.” Tiesel-Jensen effectively weaves lessons from her practice as a marriage counselor into her personal remembrance, which she conveys with thoughtfulness and delicacy. In the end, she effectively offers readers a description of something akin to tandem introspection; for example, she tells of realizing that she had a sexually transmitted disease that she couldn’t explain, and while seeking an answer in collaboration with her husband, she uncovered a trauma buried deep in her past. Finally, the author wears her professional learning lightly; this isn’t an academic study weighed down by technical jargon, but a self-analysis that’s written in a lucid, accessible style.

An astute, forthcoming account of the heights and depths of emotional closeness.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-944528-26-3

Page count: 250pp

Publisher: Et Alia Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Awards, Press & Interests


Portland, OR and Walla Walla, WA

Favorite author

More recently it has been Louise Penny

Favorite book

Too many options!

Day job

Writer and Couples Therapist

Favorite word


Unexpected skill or talent

Sewing bridal gowns

Passion in life

Bettering relationships