The following are the speaking events and readings by Polly Young-Eisendrath. If you are interested in booking her for an event, click here.

March 23-24, 2018

Lecture and Workshop: C.G. Jung Society of Montreal

The John Molson School of Business
Montréal, Canada

Falling In Love and Taking It Personally: Couple Relationships in the 21st Century

Friday, March 23
7:30-10:00 p.m.
The John Molson School of Business
1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1, Canada
Room MB 3.210

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Members $20
Non-Members $25
Students/Senior Members $15

This presentation will introduce you to personal love and its first stage of development when a partner becomes the “intimate enemy” as disillusionment gets trapped in toxic unconscious communication. Effective couple psychotherapy must then work to create a differentiated space in which each partner feels confident and free to be respected and autonomous, even in the midst of emotional security. As an intimate enemy becomes an intimate friend, personal love becomes true love.

Dialogue Therapy: Helping Couples Move from Disillusionment to Intimacy
A Training Seminar with Polly Young-Eisendrath

Saturday, March 24
10:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
The John Molson School of Business
1450 Guy St, Montreal, QC H3H 0A1, Canada
Room MB 3.435

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Members $60
Non-Members $70
Students/Senior Members $40

Order of Psychologists CE credits (additional $20 for lecture credits/$50 for workshop credits)

This seminar will introduce and demonstrate some basic principles of Dialogue Therapy (DT) by showing videotapes of co-therapists working with a couple and presenting the theoretical and clinical ideas that shape DT. Originally developed by Polly Young-Eisendrath and Ed Epstein in 1982, Dialogue Therapy has been practiced, taught, and supervised by Polly since the mid-1980s.

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April 29, 2018

Falling In Love and Taking It Personally: Couple Relationship in the 21st Century

Center for Psychotherapy & Psychoanalysis of New Jersey
Montclair, NJ


DOWNLOAD PDF for description: Seminar and Workshop on Dialogue Therapy

May 2, 2018

Love and Marriage in the 21st Century

Vermont Humanities Council: First Wednesdays
Brownell Library
6 Lincoln Street
Essex Junction, VT  05452

May 2, 2018  |  7:00 pm

Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath looks at the transformation of marriage over the past century from a traditional contract between families to one that celebrates idealization in the form of “true love,” and suggests why the latter may be harder to fulfill than many thought.

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June 2-8, 2018

Shadow Selves: Becoming Skillful and Wise in Our Response to the Human Need for an Enemy

Mind and Life Summer Research Institute 2018
Garrison Institute
Garrison, NY

It is well known that human beings are both profoundly interdependent and profoundly unconscious — a dangerous mix. In our conscious and unconscious desires to protect ourselves, we “need” an enemy whom to fight against, control, or withdraw from. In my decades-long profession as a Jungian psychoanalyst and a couples therapist, as well as my decades-long practice of Buddhism (especially Zen and Vipassana), I have observed how difficult it is for us to step back from the impulse to blame someone when our hopes and ideals are dashed. In a close relationship or in a community or neighborhood that we care about, we embrace ideals that foster both the disavowal of our own aggressive motives and the projection of these motives into another. Drawing on Carl Jung’s theory of a shadow complex and Melanie Klein’s theory of projective identification, this presentation will ask us to examine the arising of self/other within a dynamic field of ideals and blame. We will also see how to become skillful and wise when (1) we gain insight into the “enemy-making factors” in ourselves, (2) develop compassion for these factors in all humans, and (3) create a mindful space between our cherished “selves” and the threatening “others” as we live together in all our relationships. Drawing especially on couples therapy and other dyadic relationships (e.g. teacher-student), we will discover how to work skillfully with the enemy-making factors in ourselves.

About the Mind & Life Summer Research Institute:

The 2018 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute extends the arc from the 2016 and 2017 programs that addressed themes of context, social connectivity, and intersubjectivity by engaging critical topics relevant to cultural difference and human diversity. The week-long immersive program will examine social and psychological patterns, both implicit and explicit, to discuss how difference is constructed at personal, interpersonal, and socio-structural levels. Scientific, humanistic, and first-person contemplative perspectives will give attention to processes of othering and how we can overcome conflict by embracing difference.

Plenary faculty presentations from neuroscientists and psychologists will describe basic mechanisms of distinguishing self and other as well as cultural and developmental factors providing our sense of security and provoking our common fears. Discussions from the social sciences will explore cultural, historical, and structural factors that complexify conditions for disparity and inequity across social groups and communities, often contributing to conflict and dissonance. Philosophical presentations will discuss worldviews through which the other is interconnected to one’s self, how difference is a source of power, and the process of perspective-taking through dialogue. A training workshop and small group breakout sessions will explore practical applications for reflecting on biases and engaging difference. Through first-person practice, we will query contemplative traditions as a resource for compassion and redressing injustice.

The 2017 Summer Research Institute will be held at the Garrison Institute in Garrison, New York, 50 miles north of New York City in the Hudson River Valley. Please see the Garrison Institute website for more details.

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June 22-24, 2018

Trauma + Transcendence Conference: Depth Psychology, Spirituality and the Sacred

Trauma + Transcendence Conference Polly Young-EisendrathPacifica Graduate Institute
801 Ladera Lane,
Santa Barbara, CA 93108

June 22-24, 2018

Join Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath and more at this immersive weekend symposium featuring internationally renowned scholars and analysts in dialogue at the intersection of trauma and transcendence.

Download the Save The Date Flyer | About Pacifica

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Previous Events

December 9-10, 2017

Unified Mindfulness Presents:

Dialogue Therapy for Couples: A Model Based on Psychoanalysis and Mindfulness

University of Vermont Medical Center
Davis Auditorium
Burlington, Vermont

Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10, 2017

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Dialogue Therapy UVM Polly Young-EisendrathWe have re-invented marriage and intimate love in the 21st century and this re-invention has affected us in some profound and challenging ways. A long-term relationship that is equal and mutual – non-hierarchical – is a new thing. It opens the door to an array of new kinds of conflicts and power struggles that we take very personally. Marriage is no longer a matter of raising children and conserving resources. Instead of “Till death do us part,” the vow is “I’ll stay as long as it suits me.”

After the romance is over, all couples enter into disillusionment in which they will play out painful emotional dynamics that are unconsciously generated from their original family relationships. The confusion can feel especially hostile in light of seeing an intimate partner as a best friend.

Dialogue 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 who find themselves stuck in repetitive, sometimes troubling or aggressive, difficulties in negotiating conflicts and keeping intimacy alive. It has been updated to meet the special concerns of couples in the 21st century.

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 a therapist.

The Workshop

In two six-hour days of training, you will be introduced into the issues and problems of contemporary couples therapy as it deals with the pitfalls of “personal love” that relies on personal feelings and assessment in place of vows and family traditions. Then Polly will move into introducing you to Dialogue Therapy, as a particular model of Short-Term Anxiety-Provoking Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (STAPP) that can be offered in a co-therapist series of seven meetings or a solo therapist series of thirteen meetings. You will see video from three actual sessions of Dialogue Therapy with a couple: Evaluation, Working with a Conflict, and Empathy Interview (Role Reversal). These sessions are with Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. and Jean Pieniadz, Ph.D. as the Dialogue Therapists.

If you are a practicing therapist or a graduate student with an interest or a practice in couples therapy, this workshop will add to your skills. If you are interested in learning Dialogue Therapy, this is a required first step. Dr. Young-Eisendrath and Dr. Pieniadz will be offering more advanced training in Dialogue Therapy in the future. This introduction will be required.



Continuing Education Credits: 12 CEU credits have been granted to Vermont Psychologists. 12 CEU credits pending for Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors.

1. Describe the basic intent and distinctive features of Dialogue Therapy.

2. Explain the structure of Dialogue Therapy in the co-therapist and solo therapy models.

3. Summarize the concept of projective identification and its application to the idealizing and disillusionment phases of intimate relationships.

4. Assess unconscious entanglements in couples’ communication based on projective identification.

5. Employ psychodynamic theory to interpret unconscious affective communication in the couple.

6. Apply techniques drawn from psychodrama, such as doubling and role reversal, to effectively facilitate the development of communication skills and empathy in couples.

7. Integrate mindfulness practices into couple therapy that enhance concentration, equanimity, and clarity to reduce emotional reactivity and negative repetitions.

8. Establish a shared understanding of negative repetitive patterns within the couple through appropriate  evaluation methods.

9. Recognize contraindications for Dialogue Therapy.

10. Explain and encourage four skills of dialogue.

11. Recognize active and passive expressions of aggression in couples’ communication as an instinctual response to threat  that erodes trust.

12. Teach couples to apply skills of dialogue to effectively communicate anger without attack or withdrawal.

13. Articulate psychoanalytic research on relational concepts such as projective identification, idealization, separation anxiety and love in its application to couples therapy.

Day 1
8:30 Registration
9:00 Welcome & Orientation to the Course
9:15 – 10:00 Introduction: Challenges of Psychotherapy with Couples
10:00 – 11:00 Demonstration and Teaching of the Evaluation Session for Dialogue Therapy
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:30 Dialogue Therapy Evaluation Techniques I
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 3:30 Dialogue Therapy Evaluation Techniques II
3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 5:00 Questions and Discussion

Day 2
9:00 – 10:00 Demonstration and Teaching of the First Session
of Dialogue Therapy: Working on a Conflict
10:00 – 11:00 Techniques of Working on a Conflict I
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:30 Techniques of Working on a Conflict II
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:45 Introduction to Mindfulness in Dialogue Therapy
2:45 – 3:00 Break
3:00 – 4:00 Demonstration and Teaching of Building Empathy through Role Reversal
4:00 – 5:00 Transformation of Personal Love into True Love: Challenges of Falling in Love and Taking It Personally

*Continental breakfast provided each morning. Meals otherwise not provided. Harvest Café is located nearby (McClure Bldg, Level 1).

Conference registration, payment (including a pay-by-check option), afternoon discussion group selection and parking information are available online at:

Fee schedule for the full two day program:
Registration (by Dec.1): $300 (online discount) – $325 (check)
Registration (after Dec. 1): $350
Cancellation Policy: No refunds after December 1, 2017

Unified Mindfulness (UM/UM-HUB) is an educational organization created to offer professional support for the practice and delivery of mindfulness training. Partnering with professionals in mental health, education, human services, and business, Unified Mindfulness offers programs and courses that teach and train those who ameliorate human suffering and adversity, by increasing their knowledge and skills to improve individual functioning, enhance relational skills, and increase psychological and physical well-being in the populations they serve. For more information about our programs visit


November 10-11, 2017

Lecture: “Gathering Up Our Brokenness” and Workshop: “Love is a Spiritual Path: Relationship as Psycho-Spiritual Development”

Montana Friends of Jung
The Element Hotel
Bozeman, Montana

Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11, 2017
The Element Hotel, Bozeman

Polly Young-Eisendrath at the Montana Friends of Jung“Gathering Up Our Brokenness”
Friday Night Lecture, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Often, we hear about grieving our mistakes, failures, losses, and imperfections, but rarely do we learn how to mine them for their richness. Because human beings are naturally broken — with personalities that are largely unconscious, reactive, and hard to manage — we have countless opportunities in our relationships and work to see our selves in the cracks of the mirror. This workshop draws on Carl Jung’s psychology of individuation and the Buddha’s teachings on awakening to offer a new vision of imperfection with its inherent openings to compassion and love.

“Love is a Spiritual Path: Relationship as Psycho-Spiritual Development”
Saturday Workshop, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

This workshop explores the nature of “true love” or “personal love,” defined as mutual love between equals, requiring insight, mindfulness, equanimity, emotional maturity, open communication and honesty. True love, in this sense, is different from romance and from biological attachment bonds. Polly guides participants toward understanding how and why well-meaning people get caught up in harmful emotional patterns if they do not understand their inner lives as individuals. The workshop shows people how to “mind the space” between them with respect and compassion.




May 22, 2017

Perspectives at End-of-Life: Suffering, Consciousness & the Power of a Patient’s Narrative

Lake Morey Resort & Conference Center
1 Club House Rd
Fairlee, Vermont 05045

Monday, May 22, 2017
7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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5.5 Contact Hours Will Be Awarded for This Program

Polly Young-Eisendrath Vermont Ethics NetworkThe Vermont Ethics Network Presents: Perspectives at End-of-Life: Suffering, Consciousness & the Power of a Patient’s Narrative. The goal of this conference is to explore the importance of understanding the patient’s story and integrating different faith beliefs and traditions into the care needs of seriously ill and dying patients.

Download the Brochure/Registration Form

Review the Agenda Here


May 20, 2017

VAPS Biennial Ethics Conference with Dr. Judy Kantrowitz

Privacy and Disclosure: Ethical and Clinical Considerations in Writing and Speaking about Patients
The Davis Auditorium,
UVM Medical Center Campus
Burlington, VT

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Registration: 8:00 a.m.
Conference: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Polly Young-Eisendrath will be in the panel discussion at 1:00 p.m.


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The aim of this workshop is to examine the conflicts that psychotherapists face in sharing their work. In contexts such as clinical supervision, case presentations, and published writing, sharing clinical material opens up a series of important ethical questions regarding methods of maintaining confidentiality and obtaining consent. Despite these challenges, sharing clinical work within the broader professional community can support psychotherapists’ creativity and growth and help them avoid the hazards of working in isolation.



May 3, 2017

Vermont Humanities Council

7:00 p.m.
Rutland Free Library
Rutland, VT

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What the Buddhists Teach: Finding Clarity in Everyday Life

How do we develop mindfulness and a compassionate optimism about a highly imperfect world? Author Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath discusses the Buddhist model for remaining fully engaged in the ups and downs of everyday life.


About the Vermont Humanities Council

Polly Young-Eisendrath at the VT Humanities CouncilA statewide nonprofit organization founded in 1974, the Vermont Humanities Council strives to make Vermont a state in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life.

Vermont Humanities Council LogoA state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, VHC believes that engagement with the world of ideas, in interaction with others, contributes uniquely to richer lives, stronger communities, a more humane society, and a better world.

The Vermont Humanities Council has developed a broad range of programs that serve Vermonters of all ages and backgrounds. Each year VHC sponsors more than 1,200 programs. They occur in more than 160 Vermont towns, including communities in every county.

Programs include book discussions, speaker events, conferences, a statewide one-book community reading program, and a grants program that supports humanities projects of other nonprofit organizations.

These programs and events strengthen Vermont’s communities not only by their character and design, but also by happening in the facilities of key town organizations such as libraries, museums, community centers, and schools. And humanities-based literacy programs reach childcare providers, middle school students, teen and underserved parents, incarcerated adults, and adult basic education students.

The humanities are those subjects that help us understand the human experience. They are the tools of self-reflection. The humanities include history, literature, ethics, philosophy, archaeology, linguistics, comparative religion, jurisprudence, and the history, criticism and theory of the arts.

April 22, 2017

True Love Ways: Psychoanalysis and Mindfulness in Dialogue Therapy for Couples

Advanced Clinical Education Foundation of the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work
The New York Blood Center
310 East 67th Street
(Btwn 1st and 2nd Avenues)
New York, NY 10065

Seminar: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Polly Young-Eisendrath will teach the afternoon session: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
5.5 Contact Hours Will Be Awarded for This Program

Polly Young-Eisendrath Rediscovering the Art of RelationshipsThe unique demands of “personal love” or “true love” in today’s couple require that individuals develop both psychologically and spiritually. This kind of love, which is a form of witnessing and deep personal engagement, has been born from romantic love, but is substantially new to human relationship since the mid-twentieth century. When personal love is confused with the biological imperative of an attachment bond or the illusion of romance, couples therapy will fail because partners will not develop the skills they need to remain separate while together. Drawing on object relations, Jungian Theory, Dialogue Therapy for Couples  as well as Mindfulness and Buddhist Teachings, this presentation will introduce the unique demands of personal love that require couples to work through disillusionment, disentangle chronic projective identification, and develop on-going curiosity about self and other.

Handouts:  Bibliography/References

Learning Objectives:

As a result of attending this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Define and apply the concept of projective-identification in couples therapy.
  2. Compare and contrast adult pair bonding (biological attachment bond) with personal love.
  3. Define “disillusionment” and its role in the development of intimacy and provide an example of the use of conflict negotiation and harmony skills.

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., Jungian Analyst, Psychologist, Clinical Supervisor, Norwich University, Northfield,Vermont; Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont and in private practice in Central Vermont. Dr. Young-Eisendrath is the chairperson of the non-profit “Enlightening Conversations: Buddhism and Psychoanalysis Meeting in Person” that hosts conferences in cities around the USA. She has published fifteen books that have been translated into more than twenty languages and has also published many articles and contributed chapters to books. Her most recent books are; The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Discovery (Rodale, 2014) and The Self Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self Importance (Little Brown, 2008).  She is co-editor with Terrance Dawson of The Cambridge Companion to Jung: New and Revised (Cambridge University Press, 2008).  Dr. Young-Eisendrath’s forthcoming book, True Love Ways: Relationship as Psycho-Spiritual Development will be published in 2018.


Dec. 9-12, 2016

The Community Training Weekend for the Analyst Training Program

C. G. Jung Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Society of Jungian Analysts
Chicago, IL


Nov. 11-12, 2016

Center for Jungian Studies of South Florida

Lecture & Workshop

Center for Jungian Studies of South Florida
Duncan Conference Center
15820 Military Trail
Delray Beach, FL

Lecture: Gather up your Brokenness: Love, Imperfection and Human Ideals

Friday, November 11
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Registration, Reception, & Book Signing: 6:30 pm
Lecture: 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Friday Night Lecture only $50
2 CEUs $6 ($3 each)
Lecture + 2 CEUs $56

Most of us fear and hide our failures, difficulties, and limitations, but they may be at the heart of what makes us human and compassionate. In this presentation, I draw on my profession of Jungian psychoanalysis and my spiritual practice of Buddhism to celebrate — not grieve — human frailty. Broadly speaking, Buddhism asks us to find equanimity within adversity and change, and Carl Jung invites us to think about our neurosis as the opening into individuation, our ability to become insightful and complex. As we come to understand and embrace our limitations in the light of what life demands of us, we have the possibility of developing self-compassion, love, and wisdom, but if we refuse to pay attention to the profound imperfection of life itself, then, we may become captured by endless envy and competition. (2 CEUs)


Workshop: The Present Heart: Love, Loss and Discovery
Saturday, November 12
9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Registration: 9:00 am – 9:30 am
Workshop (Lunch Included): 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Saturday Workshop only $150
6 CEUs $30 ($5 each)
Workshop + 6 CEUs $180

Love always guarantees a broken heart. No matter how else it functions in our lives, love will include loss, separation or betrayal. From my personal tragedy of my husband’s early onset Alzheimer’s – and his death after a decade of reversal of his emotional and cognitive maturity – I have closely examined both Western psychological and Buddhist approaches to love and loss

In this workshop, I will answer the question, “What is love, anyway?” In the process, I will talk about desire, romance, harmful idealizations and enmeshments with our partners, children, parents and friends. We will talk about loss in the context of the Buddha’s teachings about reality. This workshop presents a new context for personal love as a spiritual practice of deep acceptance of the human condition.

  • What do you think “true love” is?
  • Why is it so hard for us to practice true love with those who are closest to us?
  • What has happened in your own life in regard to love – of your parents, your children, your partner(s), your friends?
  • What about “therapeutic love”? How is it different from, and the same as, “transference love” and “true love”? (6 CEUs)