About Dialogue Therapy

Dialogue Therapy is a time-limited couple therapy that may be done by a single therapist or co-therapists (two therapists). The “couple” may be intimate partners, adult child and parent, siblings, or other equals. Dialogue Therapy was originated and designed in 1983 by Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. and Ed Epstein, M.S.W. Its objective is to help couples who are stuck in repetitive conflicts in which both partners feel wounded, unseen, or rejected, through a process of learning insights and mindfulness skills to renew trust and intimacy. Conflicts about “witnessing” of the other always leads to troubling and sometimes aggressive (active and passive) interactions, as well as a feeling deadness. Dialogue Therapy addresses those conditions in a structured way that helps partners achieve greater closeness by maintaining a mindful space in which they can see, hear, and feel each other as separate individuals. Dialogue Therapy has been practiced and supervised by Polly since 1982 and she has published three books about it: Hags and Heroes (1984), You’re Not What I Expected (1993) and Love Between Equals (2019).

Typical couple therapy is notorious for failing because partners become too dependent on the therapist to oversee and contain their conflicts. Dialogue Therapy is designed, even from the first meeting, to require the couple to talk to each other and then to develop skills that do not depend on being with the therapist, but must be practiced at home.

The solo therapist model is 13 hour-long sessions and then a six-month follow-up. The co-therapist model is 6 sessions (of 2-3 hours) and a six-month follow-up.

VIDEO: Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. talks about love between equal partners and developing the skills for navigating relationships in the 21st century.

Dialogue Therapy Weekend Intensive: Changing the Course of Your Relationship

Come to Vermont to change the course of your relationship with Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. as the therapist, coach and mentor to your relationship. This intensive dose of Dialogue Therapy in a special weekend format is the perfect choice if you are coming from a long distance, simply want an intensive intervention, or to hone your Dialogue Skills with your partner. Polly’s office is located in the beautiful atmosphere of central Vermont. Stay at a local inn or bed and breakfast and enjoy the breaks between sessions. The cost is $420 per hour or $6300 for 15-hours of intensive weekend work with directly with Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.


Friday: 3 - 6 pm: Introduction, Evaluation, Relational History

Saturday: 9 am – 12 pm: Continuing Relational History 2 - 5 pm: Working on a Conflict Using Dialogue Skills

Sunday: 9 am - 12 pm: Practicing Skills 2 - 5 pm: Building Empathy for Your Partner and Yourself

Dialogue Therapy: Full Treatment Program

In either the co-therapist model of seven meetings ($320 per hour with two therapists) or the solo therapist model of fourteen meetings ($210 per hour with Polly only), you are offered the opportunity to look deeply into your joint and individual emotional landscape of harmful patterns, re-wounding, and self-protection in order to transform it into greater responsibility-taking for self and greater trust for partner. In every meeting, the couple is shown both insights and skills that eventually help them become more relaxed and open with each other.


Each numbered session below is 60 minutes, usually held weekly depending on the availability of the therapist. Sessions may be combined into two hours, scheduled weekly, or bi-weekly.

Session 1: Evaluation and Introduction to Dialogue Therapy: Structured meeting, pencil & paper assessment

Session 2: Evaluation: Relational History (partner 1)

Session 3: Evaluation: Relational History (partner 2)

Session 4: First Session of Dialogue Therapy: Working on a Conflict

Session 5: Second Session of Dialogue Therapy: Working on a Conflict

Session 6: Third Session of Dialogue Therapy: Practicing Skills

Session 7: Fourth Session of Dialogue Therapy: Honing Skills

Session 8: Building Empathy for Self & Partner (Role Reversal)

Session 9: Building Empathy for Self & Partner (Role Reversal)

Session 10: Using Empathy & Dialogue Skills to Repair Trust

Session 11: Using Empathy & Dialogue Skills to Repair Trust

Session 12: Final Session: Refining Your Skills

Session 13: Follow-up: Six months Later


Two therapists with couple. First session is three hours, all other sessions are two hours, sessions are monthly.

Session 1: Introduction, Evaluation, Relational History

Session 2: First Session of Dialogue Therapy: Working on a Conflict

Session 3: Second Session of Dialogue Therapy: Practicing Skills

Session 4: Building Empathy for Your Partner and Yourself

Session 5: Using the Skills of Dialogue Therapy and Empathy to Repair Trust

Session 6: Final Session: Refining Your Skills

Session 7: Follow-up: Six months Later

Look for this designation

Contact a Certified Dialogue Therapist in Your Area

Polly Young-Eisendrath • Vermont

Jean Pieniadz • Vermont

Bree Greenberg Benjamin • Vermont

Raven Bruce • Vermont

Susan Lillich • Vermont

Stella Marrie • Vermont

Rachel Natvig • Vermont

Helene Nilsen • Vermont

Caroline O’Connor • Vermont

Savanna O’Connor • Vermont

Leland Peterson • Vermont/Quebec

Linda Schutz • Vermont


Sarah Brodie • Ontario

Lisa Featherstone • Montana

Doris Ferleger • Greater Philadelphia Area & Delaware Valley

Lisa Lewis • California

Irene McHenry • Greater Philadelphia Area

Chelsea Wakefield • Arkansas