Polly has started to lecture and teach on the new form of Dialogue Therapy — and on the challenges of love in the 21st Century. This kind of love, which she calls “Personal Love,” is entirely new in intimate relationships. It is based on equality, reciprocity and mutuality. It promises to create a new kind of human relationship in which two individuals can come to accept each other, as they are, with their flaws, and become life-long friends and witnesses. However, the obstacles that couples face right now could erode and destroy the potential for personal love to become “True Love” because of the constant conflict, undermining of trust, and the feeling of being trapped with your enemy who was supposed to be your friend.

Click here to learn more and sign up for Dialogue Therapy at Dialogue Therapy for Couples: A Model Based on Psychoanalysis and Mindfulness at UVM December 9-10

Listen to Polly talk briefly here about Personal Love and True Love.

Click to stay in touch and learn more about Dialogue Therapy, and information on True Love Ways

Dialogue Therapy: Helping Couples Move from Disillusionment to Intimacy

Dialogue Therapy Polly Young-EisendrathDialogue Therapy (DT) is a time-limited couples therapy that may be done by co-therapists (two therapists with the couple) or a single therapist. It was designed to help couples – especially those who are committed to stay together — who find themselves stuck in repetitive, sometimes troubling or aggressive, difficulties in negotiating conflicts and keeping intimacy alive. Originally developed by Polly Young-Eisendrath and Ed Epstein in 1982, DT has been practiced, taught, and supervised by Polly since the mid-1980’s and she has published two books about it: Hags and Heroes (1984) and You’re Not What I Expected (1993). Currently, she is writing an updated book about relationship as psycho-spiritual development, True Love Ways (to be published by Shambhala in 2018).

After the initial romance is over, all couples enter into disillusionment and power struggles in which they play out painful emotional dynamics that are unconsciously generated from their original family life. The confusions – “Is this me or is this you? Can I trust you ever again?” – can be painful. You may even see your partner as an “intimate enemy” who hurts and misunderstands you in ways that seem intensely troubling and destructive. Disillusionment opens a door to new self-understanding and the possibility of developing skills of mindfulness, insights, and curiosity if it is transformed into greater maturity and growth. If it is not transformed, disillusionment leads to repetitive power struggles, breaks in trust, and potentially the death of intimacy, even love.

In just seven (co-therapist model) or thirteen (single therapist) meetings, Dialogue Therapy offers both deep insight into the roots of suffering – opening the possibility of new acceptance of partner and self – and skills of dialogue and mindfulness. After the emotional landscape of harmful patterns is clarified, the couple is taught skills for recognizing and avoiding re-wounding while encouraging renewed intimacy. Combining psychoanalytic methods with aspects of psychodrama and mindfulness, Dialogue Therapy is a unique approach to healing chronic relationship problems and not simply papering over them.

Couples therapy is notorious for failing because the members of the couple depend too much on the therapist. They deal with their conflicts only in the presence of the therapist. Dialogue Therapy, even from the first session, requires a couple to speak with each other and develop skills that do not depend on the therapist. In the co-therapist model of DT, while more expensive, there is a special opportunity for each member of the couple to develop as an individual, alongside the development of the couple.

Dialogue Therapy with a Single Therapist

Each numbered session below is 50 minutes, usually held weekly depending on the availability of the therapist. Sessions may be combined into two hours, scheduled weekly, or bi-weekly. Cost per unit: $200

Session #1 – Evaluation and Introduction to DT: Structured meeting,
pencil & paper assessment
Session #2 – Evaluation: Relational History (one partner)
Session #3 – Evaluation: Relational History (other partner)
Session #4 – First Session of DT: Working on a Conflict
Session #5 – Second Session of DT: Working on a Conflict
Session #6 – Third Session of DT: Practicing Skills
Session #7 – Fourth Session of DT: 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

Dialogue Therapy with Co-Therapists

Two therapists with couple. First session is three hours, All other sessions are two hours, sessions are monthly. Cost per session: $150 per hour, per therapist = $300 per hour

Session #1 – Introduction, Evaluation, Relational History (3 hours)
Session #2 – First Session of Dialogue Therapy: Working on a Conflict (2 hours)
Session #3 – Second Session of Dialogue Therapy: Practicing Skills (2 hours)
Session #4 – Building Empathy for Your Partner and Yourself (2 hours)
Session #5 – Using the Skills of Dialogue Therapy and Empathy to Repair Trust (2 hours)
Session #6 – Final Session: Refining Your Skills (2 hours)
Session #7 – Follow-up: Six months later (2 hours)

Dialogue Therapists

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.banner-polly-2 is a Jungian Psychoanalyst, Psychologist, author, and speaker who has published 15 books including The Self-Esteem Trap, The Cambridge Companion to Jung, and The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Discovery. She is currently writing True Love Ways: Relationship as Psycho-Spiritual Development. She is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, founding faculty at the Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies, and past president of the Vermont Association for Psychoanalytic Studies. She is in independent practice with individuals and couples in central Vermont. Polly is the originator of Dialogue Therapy, a time-limited couple therapy that integrates psychoanalysis and mindfulness and helps couples move from disillusionment to intimacy.

jeanne-cropJean Pieniadz, Ph.D. is a psychologist, psychoanalyst, supervisor, and teacher. She has presented and authored papers on developmental psychology, neuropsychology, and psychology ethics. She also maintains a full-time private practice in Burlington, Vermont, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, and is on the faculty of the Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies.

CONTACT POLLY for more information or to start Dialogue Therapy.




Learning Dialogue Therapy: A Workshop for Therapists to Help Couples Move from Disillusionment to Intimacy

Diaglogue Therapy: Polly Young-EisendrathThe Workshop

This training is designed for all clinical levels – from the most experienced to the least – to introduce Dialogue Therapy, its methods and practice in an experiential context. You can attend as an individual therapist or as a dyadic pair. The background and the theory will be presented in the context of demonstrations of the #1, #2, #4, and #5 sessions.
DAY 1:  Introduction and Session #1 with a demonstration couple
DAY 2 Morning: Session #2 with demonstration couple
Afternoon: Teaching the basics of psycho-spiritual development of love in couple relationship; difference between anger and aggression; projective identification as it undermines trust and intimacy; Jung’s theory of complexes as object relationship; evaluating couples for suitability for Dialogue Therapy; why couple therapy too often fails and how to prevent failure.
DAY 3 Morning: Session #4 with demonstration couple
Session #5 with demonstration couple, overview of full course of Dialogue Therapy and Q & A

CONTACT POLLY for more information or to set up a workshop on Dialogue Therapy.


Want to learn more about Dialogue Therapy and Dialogue Therapy training?

Watch our overview video series below or subscribe on YouTube:




Click to stay in touch and learn more about Dialogue Therapy, and information on True Love Ways