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

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.




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


March 23-24, 2018

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

Montréal, Canada


April 28, 2018

NJ Couples Therapy Training Program

Montclair, NJ


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

Save the Date: June 22-24, 2018 at the Pacifica Graduate Institute to hear 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

Previous Events

May 4, 2016

Vermont Humanities Council

7:00 p.m.
Brooks Memorial Library
Brattleboro, VT

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.


April 15, 2016

The Jung Club

1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The Academy House
1420 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA
4 CEs available

Seminar: Transformation through Love and Loss

Transformation through loss is a necessary and frightening part of human life. Love always brings loss into our lives because it guarantees a broken heart. No matter how love develops, it eventually includes loss through separation, death, or betrayal. The presentation will closely examine both Buddhist and Western psychological approaches to love and loss. We will draw on personal experiences and some of the presenter’s favorite poetry to respond to the question: What is love, anyway? Differentiating love from desire, romance, attachment bonds, and idealization, we develop a clearer sense of whether we are truly loving our partners, children, parents and friends — or whether we are in an unconscious identifications or enmeshment that results in feeling used, cheated or erased. We will acknowledge that love is blessed by loss – and that true love demands that we engage vitally with our beloved through being and becoming a whole self, accepting our beloved as another whole self. We will talk about loss and love in the context of the Buddha’s teachings about the nature of our existence: Off-centeredness (Dukkha), Impermanence (Anicca), and Interdependence (Anatta). We will begin to shift professional and personal perspectives on the deep context of love and loss.

Advanced Seminars in Depth Psychology – Noted Presenters – Small Group Setting. These activities are being co-sponsored by HealthForumOnline and The Philadelphia Jungian Professional Club and are associated with four (4) hours of CE credits each. HealthForumOnline is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor Continuing Education (CE) for psychologists. HFO maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The Pennsylvania Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors allows APA-approved programs to be used as CE credits for these professionals.



February 19/20, 2016

Friday Lecture and Saturday Workshop

5 CECs available

C.G. Jung Society
Montreal QC

Friday Lecture: Gather Up Your Brokenness:
Love, Imperfection and Human Ideals

Polly Young-Eisendrath at C.G. Jung Montreal

In the poetic tradition of Zen monk and bard, Leonard Cohen, this presentation celebrates our brokenness. 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.


Friday, Feb. 19 • 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m
The John Molson School of Business
Room MB 3.210
1450 rue Guy (Metro Guy/Concordia)
Members $12
Non-Members $15
Students/Senior Members $8

Saturday Workshop: “The Present Heart”: Love, Loss and Discovery

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.


Saturday, Feb. 20 • 10:00 a.m – 4:30 p.m.
The John Molson School of Business
Room MB 3.435
1450 rue Guy (Metro Guy/Concordia)
Members $70
Non-Members $90
Students/Senior Members $50
($50 for OPQ Credits)
OPQ # RA01451-15

November 13/14, 2015

Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies Presents Enlightening Conversations: Enlightenment: Idealized or Real?

The Second Program in a Series in Which Psychoanalysts and Buddhist Teachers Speak Opening and Honestly About the Nitty-Gritty of Human Liberation. Through panels and small group conversations, these conferences engage all participants — speakers and audience — in reflective conversations about our discoveries from deep investigations of the mind. Idealization, with its tendencies to split our experiences into expansive and contractive or pure and impure, is required to enter into psychoanalytic and Buddhist practices. When idealization is not humanized, however, it leads to destructive projections, self-attacks, lying and ethical violations. This conference will focus precisely on what it means to be enlightened and how it is a human activity with human failures.

Read More and Register at

November 13-14, 2015, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm (Registration 8:30 – 9:00 am)
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA

September 27, 2015

Book Reading and Signing: Flyleaf Books

When All You Want Is Taken Away: A Personal Love Story of Discovery Through Loss

2:00 pm

Sometimes change is deeply unwelcome, disrupting everything we have ever wanted. In my own case, my beloved husband and best friend gradually reversed his cognitive and emotional maturity as early onset Alzheimer’s disease swept through his neurons like a wild fire. He and I were long-time practitioners of Buddhism and came to embrace the inescapable without fanfare or self-pity as our love changed from a partnership, to his profound dependence on me, and then my placing him into end-of-life care. In this presentation, I will read from my new book, “The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Discovery” and discuss what I have learned about the nature of personal love as a spiritual practice of vulnerability and equanimity that requires being a whole self and accepting another as a whole self, as well.

September 25/26, 2015

“Gather Up Your Brokenness: Love, Imperfection and Human Ideals”

Lecture • Friday, September 25th | 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

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 the imperfection of life itself, then, we may become captured by endless envy and competition.

“Gather Up Your Brokenness: Love, Imperfection and Human Ideals”

Workshop • Saturday, September 26th | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

C.G. Jung Society
Church of Reconciliation
110 N Elliott Rd,
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

September 11-13, 2015

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

14 Barrows Road
Stowe, VT  05672

Before July 15 – early bird registration: $250 After July 15: $285
18 hours CEU available

REGISTER NOW: Via email to: or by calling 802-793-7923

About Dialogue Therapy:

Dialogue Therapy is a time-limited couples therapy, usually done by co-therapists (two therapists in the room), that is designed to help married or co-habiting couples who experience repetitive, and sometimes aggressive or troubling, difficulties in handling their conflicts with respect. Developed originally by Polly Young-Eisendrath and Ed Epstein in 1982, Dialogue Therapy has been practiced, taught, and supervised by Polly since the early 1990’s. Polly has written two books about it: Hags and Heroes (1984) and You’re Not What I Expected (1993).

After the initial romance has ended, all couples enter into power struggles in which the partners play out emotional scenarios that are unconsciously generated from their original family life in childhood. There may be other problems, as well, such as an inability to commit to each other and parenting or step-parenting issues. Disillusionment with the partner and the relationship follows. Disillusionment is natural and the first opportunity for a true and enduring love and intimacy to develop. But if power struggles are not handled with skill and mindfulness, a couple is at risk for separating or destroying the foundation of trust on which true love rests. Many married couples even remain in a “cold war” of emotional deadness, repetitive power struggles, and little intimacy over years and decades – a situation that can be deleterious for mental and physical health.
Dialogue Therapy is a program of just six therapeutic sessions that extend over a year’s time in which a couple is evaluated and then showed how to relate in conflict without entering into active or passive aggression. Dialogue Therapy addresses more than “communication problems,” however. Combining psychoanalytic methods and theory, with aspects of psychodrama and mindfulness, Dialogue Therapy addresses the fact that, in times of confusion and conflict, partners tend to perceive each other as an “intimate enemy” with the consequence of casting the relationship into a chronic pattern of “victim” and “victimizer” that has to be broken open before communication problems can be solved.

Course of Dialogue Therapy:

Session #1: Evaluation (3-4 hours): The initial assessment is a structured meeting with the co-therapists to evaluate a couple’s emotional power struggles and relationship patterns. The co-therapists observe the couple speaking with each other, give a brief pencil and paper assessment, and conduct a “Relationship History”(that covers all major relationships, moving backwards in time to include relationships with parents and siblings).
The co-therapists also act as a “reflecting team,” speaking with each other about what they see in the couple. All activities typically take place within the foursome, encouraging trust and openness. At the end of the meeting, the partners receive feedback and are told whether or not they are suitable for Dialogue Therapy. If not, they are referred for other forms of therapy.
Session #2 – First Session of Dialogue Therapy (2 hours): Working on a Conflict
Session #3 – Second Session of Dialogue Therapy (2 hours): Practicing Skills
Session #4 – Building Empathy for Your Partner (2 hours): Practicing “Role Reversal”
Session #5 – Using the Skills of Dialogue Therapy and Empathy to Repair Trust (2 hours)
Session #6 – Follow-up (2-3 hours): Occurring Six Months after Session #5

The 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.

Friday, September 11th:

Noon until 4:30 P.M. w/ 10 min. break
Introduction and Session #1 with a demonstration couple

Saturday, September 12th:

9 AM until 12:30 P.M. w/ 10 min. break
Session #2 with demonstration couple

12:30 P.M. until 1:45 P.M.: Lunch

1:45 PM – 4:30 P.M. w/10 min. break
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.

Sunday, September 13th:

9 AM until 12:30 P.M. w/ 10 min. break
Session #4 with demonstration couple

12:30 P.M. until 1:45 P.M.: Lunch

1:45 PM – 4:30 P.M. w/10 min. break
Session #5 with demonstration couple, overview of full course of Dialogue Therapy and Q & A

The Teachers/Dialogue Therapists

POLLY YOUNG-EISENDRATH, Ph.D., is a Jungian analyst, writer, psychologist and mindfulness teacher 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. 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

TAMARA BISBEE, Psy.D.,Tamara Bisbee, Psy.D. is a psychologist who began her clinical work as a psychiatric nurse. She practices psychoanalytically informed psychotherapy and continues her training to become a relational psychoanalyst.  Tamara has more than 35 years of experience in observing, thinking about and intervening with the life problems that attend relationships, and has practiced couple therapy for fifteen years.Tamara practices mindfulness meditation and has a particular interest in how it interfaces with emotional wellness and the capacity for individuals to communicate effectively in relationship. She maintains a full-time clinical and consulting practice in Montpelier, Vermont. She is a Clinical Supervisor at Norwich University.



September 4 – 7, 2015

Weekend Teaching on “The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Discovery.”

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
57 Interlaken Road, Stockbridge, MA 01262 (413) 448-3100

No matter how love develops, it eventually includes loss―through separation, death, or betrayal. This workshop draws on personal experiences and poetry to explore what love is from Buddhist and Western psychological perspectives. Examining love in terms of loss, we embrace the fact that love is blessed by loss and true love demands that we engage vitally with our beloved through being and becoming a whole self.

We learn to
•    Define love in the context of mindfulness, equanimity, and deep acceptance of the beloved
•    Look at love through the lens of psychoanalytic thinking and practice
•    Investigate loss and love in the context of Buddha’s teachings about the nature of existence: off-centeredness (dukkha), impermanence (anicca), and interdependence (anatta).

Using reflection, dialogue, writing, and mindfulness practices, we examine the stories we tell ourselves and release the fear and self-consciousness generated by repetitive “micro-narratives.”

Recommended reading by Polly Young-Eisendrath, The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Discovery (Rodale Books).

Note: Bring a notebook and be prepared for some time in silence and mindfulness practice.