Below are some of the books written by Polly Young-Eisendrath:

Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path

Available now: Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path


Why is love so hard to find and hold on to? Is there such a thing as “true love?”

Love has been idealized in music, art, literature and popular culture for centuries; yet eventually all intimate relationships encounter obstacles, including conflict and loss. Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path examines the demands of modern love relationships within the historical context of marriage, inviting us to reconsider our understanding of the nature of “true love” or “personal love.” Turning the notion of love as biological attachment bond or romance on its head, Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path re-defines true love as mutual love between equals; requiring insight, mindfulness, equanimity, emotional maturity, open communication and honesty. In this sense, finding and sustaining true love can become a path to spiritual awakening.

Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path provides a framework for a bold and profound new understanding of enduring relationships so that we can ultimately embrace love, our beloved, and life in the spiritual practice of love. READ AN EXCERPT


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The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Discovery

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After a chance encounter with a handsome, idealistic stranger on a plane in 1969, Polly Young-Eisendrath rediscovered Ed Epstein a decade later when she least expected it. After untangling themselves from their existing relationships, they married in 1985 and spent the next 25 years together. They were soul mates, but in 2001, Ed (at the vital age of 53) began to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Over the next 10 years, as her husband gradually reversed his mental maturity, Young-Eisendrath was faced with the question, what is love?

The Present Heart is an insightful journey of living in the present moment. In a deeply moving yet unsentimental voice, Young-Eisendrath draws on her lifelong practices of Buddhism and psychoanalysis and her own unique view of love, as well as a circle of profound thinkers including author Abigail Thomas, psychoanalyst Nancy McWilliams, and Buddhist teacher Shinzen Young.

A thoughtful meditation on the human experience, The Present Heart shows how our most intimate relationships, often the source of our greatest pain, can prove to be our path to spiritual enlightenment. The book offers a new perspective on how to maintain engaged, reciprocal relationships—with a partner, parent, child, or friend—under any and all circumstances.

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The Self-Esteem Trap

self-esteem-trapI wrote this book because I was at the end of my rope. I had sat hour upon hour in my psychotherapy practice listening to stories about how every child, teen and adult should be special, a winner, with the potential to be great. Although this expectation causes great suffering in individuals and families, it has been almost impossible to challenge.

The expectation is founded on the illusion that everyone has an extraordinary potential for creativity or genius or achievement that needs only to be unlocked in order for greatness to happen. When you assume that everyone has something extraordinary to contribute to life, then being ordinary is an embarrassment. This way of thinking has produced a generation of parents, children, teens, and young adults who are caught in…



Hags and Heroes: A Feminist Approach to Jungian Psychotherapy with Couples

hags-and-Why do relationships fail? Why do partners once so comfortable with each other often wind up at odds? What effect do traditional attitudes toward women have on marriage? Are lasting, long-term relationships possible between men and women? Here is a highly original approach to couple therapy and marriage counseling, integrating feminist views with the depth psychology of C.G. Jung and developmental theories of Harry Stack Sullivan.

The focus of this book is on understanding how individual complexes interfere with harmonious relationships. The emphasis is on revaluing the feminine principle and re-assessing the nature of female authority, in individual attitudes, in relationships and on a broader collective level.


Gender and Desire: Uncursing Pandora

gender-and-desireContradictory and provocative pathways crisscross the terrain of gender among contemporary psychologists and psychoanalysts. Clearing a path through this terrain, Polly Young-Eisendrath describes and illustrates issues gender and desire among women and men. Young-Eisendrath introduces three world views: premodern, modern and postmodern. Then, she calls our attention to how we shape reality and clearly explains how a lived postmodern philosophy is essential for us to understand ourselves and how we can change.

Drawing on experiences from culture, everyday life, and psychotherapy, Polly Young-Eisendrath’s Gender and Desire: Uncovering Pandora provides a full engagement with the intricacies and complexities of gender, desire and liberation for women and men in a postmodern world.


Awakening and Insight: Zen Buddhism and Psychotherapy

awakening-and-insightBuddhism first came to the West many centuries ago through the Greeks, who also influenced some of the culture and practices of Indian Buddhism. As Buddhism has spread beyond India it has always been affected by the indigenous traditions of its new homes. When Buddhism appeared in America and Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s it encountered contemporary psychology and psychotherapy, rather than religious traditions. Since the 1990’s many efforts have been made by Westerners to analyse and integrate the similarities and differences between Buddhism and its therapeutic ancestors, particularly Jungian psyhology.

Taking Japanese Zen Buddhism as its starting point, this volume is a collection of critiques, commentaries, and histories about a particular meeting of Buddhism and psychology. It is based on the Zen Buddhism and Psychotherapy conference that took place in Kyoto, Japan, in 1999.


Female Authority: Empowering Women Through Psychotherapy

female-authority-empowering-women-through-psychotherapy-florence-l-wiedemann-paperback-cover-art“Young-Eisendrath and Wiedemann offer a powerful alternative to current ways of thinking about women and open up a whole new area of inquiry – namely, the role that images of men play in the psyches of women. Their work deserves the immediate attention of therapists and feminist theorists of all persuasions….” – The Women’s Review of Books

For women in Western society, there is no straightforward path of development to autonomous adulthood. The double bind of female authority – that a women cannot be both a healthy adult and an ideal woman – is the context in which a woman must construct herself in this culture. Whether she sees herself as “too needy” or “too controlling”, “too insecure” or “too self reliant”, she is gathering evidence to support a theory of personal inadequacy. The traditional perspectives of psychodynamics and psychopathology reinforce women’s sense of inferiority. How then does a woman claim her own authority – the validity of truth, beauty, and goodness, originating in her own experience? Unraveling the paradox of female authority through the examination of its sociocultural, symbolic, and personal dimensions, this unique volume combines feminist theory, social psychology, and psychoanalytic psychology to offer a fresh approach to the analysis of gender concerns in identity.


The Cambridge Companion to Jung

cambridge-companion-to-jungSixteen new essays provide a critical introduction to Carl Jung, one of the founders of psychoanalysis, who developed the theory of ’analytical psychology’. It sets Jung in the context of his time, outlines current practice and theory of Jungian psychology and shows how Jungians apply his ideas to different aspects of culture. A chronology, reading lists, a case study and a glossary are included. Indispensible reference tool for beginning students and specialists, written by an international team of Jungian analysts and scholars from various disciplines.