About Polly Young-Eisendrath

Polly-John-Patrick-Shanley-300x199POLLY YOUNG-EISENDRATH, Ph.D., is a psychologist, writer, speaker and Jungian analyst who has published 15 books including The Self-Esteem Trap, The Cambridge Companion to Jung, and Women and Desire. Her most recent book, The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Discovery, is a meditation on the healing power of love – based on her experience with her spouse who died from early onset Alzheimer’s disease — that attempts to answer the question “What is love, anyway?”

Polly came to psychology and psychoanalytic training through the doorway of Buddhist practice, taking formal Zen vows in 1971. As a psychoanalyst and a mindfulness teacher, Polly is optimistic about the gradual emergence of a fresh view of the human mind from the dialogue between psychoanalysis and Buddhism. Along those lines, Polly directs Enlightening Conversations, a non-profit organization that sponsors conversational conferences between esteemed psychoanalysts and Buddhists teachers in different cities in the US.

Polly maintains a full-time clinical and consulting practice in central Vermont. She is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont and Clinical Supervisor at Norwich University. Polly is recognized by Shinzen Young as a meditation and Dharma teacher in the traditions of Mindfulness and Vipassana.

If you are looking for an imaginative and engaging speaker or facilitator, contact Polly’s Communications Manager, Paula Emery. For clinical services, including Dialogue Therapy, please call Polly at 802-223-6223.

For an overview of Polly’s speaking engagement topics and information: CLICK HERE


Both the lecture and the workshop were excellent. It’s impressive how many people said you are an engaging speaker. Participants enjoyed the clarity of your presentation and found your perspectives to be fresh, especially regarding true love: the difference between mutual love and cherishment, the pitfalls of idealization and projective identification. Most were moved by your personal story and found it helpful in understanding the ideas you were presenting. I especially loved your skillful way of explaining ideas and terms, both Buddhist and psychological, in a most accessible manner.
– DR. MARY HARSANY,  Jung Society of Montreal

Polly, you are truly angelic… a real gift. I can’t begin to tell you how much your workshop affected me. It was a joy interacting with everyone in the group.  Be well & God bless you in all you do.

I took the ‘Writing and True Love’ workshop with Polly Young-Eisendrath. It’s the best workshop I’ve taken at Omega. It was intimate, personal and inspiring— poetry and Buddhist teachings, Jungian concepts and discussion, meditation and laughing. It was, in short, a bright and clear, sometimes funny conversation about how to live in reality even when—especially when—things seem completely out of control. I would take another workshop with Polly, no matter what the title of the workshop, because the content would be about trusting ourselves and trusting reality, and would be guided by someone who jumps into cold ponds in Vermont alone at night because “when you slow it down and notice, ‘this’ [whatever ‘this’ is] has everything in it.” Polly walks her talk and generously passes it on.

The Self-Esteem Trap is a groundbreaking look at how kids develop a sense of self, and a reassuring guide to help parents on the journey. Insightful, well written, and filled with practical advice, the book helps parents and caregivers understand the age of self-importance we live in today, and crippling sense of entitlement it can create for children.

When we focus our attention on ourselves rather than on the world around us, including others, we are inevitably disappointed. We live in a world where we are now raised to attend to ourselves: Narcissism and ennui are the consequences. Dr. Young-Eisendrath wisely points this out as the source of our children’s unhappiness.

Polly Young-Eisendrath provides a thoroughly delightful exploration as to why compassion and virtue are the necessary ingredients for the development of a healthy balance for ourselves and our children. This book is a sensitive and thoughtful guide to finding harmony in our lives.