• Polly Young-Eisendrath: Psychologist, Buddhist, teacher


    Interview with playwright, screenwriter and director, John Patrick Shanley

    Polly Young-Eisendrath is a psychologist, speaker, writer and Jungian analyst who maintains a clinical and consulting practice in central Vermont. She came to psychology and Jungian training through the doorway of Buddhist practice, taking formal Zen vows in 1971. Polly, a psychotherapist and mindfulness teacher, is optimistic about a new paradigm of healing developing from the dialogue between two meditative and contemplative practices: Buddhism and psychoanalysis. In this emerging conversation, ancient practices of awakening and liberation are meeting up with contemporary models of examining our minds in the two-person relationship of long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. Together, these two practices are becoming more refined in their ability to help people to wake up to, and then to transform, entrenched habitual emotional dynamics in everyday relationships.

    Polly’s writing — on couple relationship, women’s development, parenting and psychotherapy practice — is aimed at practical applications of the insight and wisdom we can gain from meditation and self-awareness, whether we are on our mediation cushions or looking at our relationships with our children, parents, partners and friends. In Polly’s most recent book, “The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance,” she offers an incisive analysis of the psychological, cultural and moral components of the widespread mistake of trying to inject self-esteem through over-praising or over-parenting. Her writing helps parents, teachers, and counselors — and the young adults who have grown up in a confusing “child-centered” environment — to recover the guidelines for real happiness and freedom in adulthood.

    Polly is dedicated to an environmentally-friendly and ecologically sane world in which we recognize, moment-by-moment, that we are webbed in a network of relationships and conditions that require compassion and kindness for ourselves and others if we are to become confident about our lives.

    If you are looking for an imaginative and engaging speaker or facilitator, for personal consultation by telephone, or for in-person psychotherapy or Jungian analysis, please contact Polly’s manager, Melissa Wheeler  (pollyassist@gmail.com) who will direct you to the best way of reaching Polly.

Latest Updates

Pilar Jennings PhD. recently wrote a piece for Tricycle that generated many thoughtful comments online. In “Looking into the Eyes of a Master” Jennings examines the student-teacher relationship in American Buddhism, and the ways in which teachers are people, too. Jennings is a relational psychologist, lecturer at Columbia University, and author, and will be part…

The following blog post was originally posted on the William Alanson White Institute’s blog, Contemplative Psychoanalysis.  Polly will be speaking there on February 5 as part of the White Society Colloquium, giving a talk titled Taking Our Selves Less Seriously: Buddhist and Psychoanalytic Views of Subjective Freedom.  Anne Harrington will also be speaking at the…

How the French film “Blue is the Warmest Colour” reminded me of the pleasure of learning, and the joy of being human. The French film “Blue is the Warmest Color” has gotten a lot of media attention recently.  Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche and winner of the Palme D’ Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival,…