Tender Talk: Developing Skills of Dialogue as a Couple

A Five-Day Retreat for Couples, with Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D.

Love in the 21st century, with its emphasis on ideals of equality and reciprocity, and its “vows” of personal desire (“I will stay as long as this suits me”), cannot be unlocked through the old archetypes or the new neuroscience or attachment theories. Instead, the challenge of today’s love demands psychological and spiritual development in both partners, no matter your family of origin or your attachment style.


Love, by its nature, requires two ingredients: knowing your beloved well and accepting your beloved deeply. Today’s relationships, with their regular power struggles and need for constant negotiation and their idealized desires for “chemistry,” create expectable and problematic “enemy-making factors” between partners.


In this five-day workshop you will learn how to be in contact with your own experience, even when you are emotionally agitated, and discover how and why you misperceive your partner and how to remain in contact with them, even in conflict. Being able to hold up a mirror in which your beloved feels “known and seen” requires equanimity and compassion with your own complexities and contradictions. You will learn what it means to retain a “mindful space” for all of your differences and desires, in which you and your partner can always renew your connection.


Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. is a Jungian psychoanalyst, a psychologist, and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont. She is also Founder and Director of the Institute for Dialogue Therapy and the author of 16 books that have been translated into more than twenty languages. In addition to a demanding speaking schedule, Polly maintains a private practice in central Vermont and is a mindfulness teacher. She has been a practicing Buddhist since 1971. Her newest book is Love Between Equals: Relationship as a Spiritual Path (Shambhala, 2019). Her most recent published book is The Present Heart: A Memoir of Love, Loss and Discovery (Rodale, 2014).



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