Saturday, March 01, 2008

Polly Young-Eisendrath

I have the pleasure of teaching from one of Polly Young-Eisendrath's texts this semester (The Psychology of Mature Spirituality). Polly is a colleague and friend, who is an authority on feminism, Jungian analysis, and the interface between Zen and psychotherapy. She is a sought after speaker, and her next public conference will be at Harvard this spring: Click here for conference information ... Polly will also be presenting at the Omega Institue in Rhinebeck New York this summer at a conference entitled Love & Relationships: What the Buddhists Teach along with Silvia Boorstein, John Tarrant, and Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Click here for workshop information ...

Polly's latest book, forthcoming in the next few months is entitled "The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance" which chronicles the difficulties of the current young generation and seeks to undertand this dissatisfaction from a psychological and cultural perspective. You can learn more about the Self-Esteem Trap and Polly at Polly's website ...

Below is a selected list of Polly's published books with descriptions and links to purchase on Amazon.

Awakening and Insight: "The intersection of East and West is a vital one on many levels. The efforts to integrate Buddhism and its therapeutic ancestors to the Western ideas of Jungian Psychology have been particularly fruitful. Taking Japanese Zen-Buddhism as its starting point, Awakening and Insight is a collection of critiques and histories of Buddhism from a psychological perspective. Based on accounts of the Buddhism and Depth Psychology conference that took place in Kyoto in 1999, this volume serves to unite the cousins of Eastern religion and Western thought. Featuring a new translation of the historic conversation between Schinichi Hisamatsu and Carl Jung which took place in 1958, Awakening and Insight will be of great interest to anyone interested in Psychology and Buddhism."

Women and Desire: "In providing some answers to Freud's famous question about what women really want, Young-Eisendrath draws on her experience as a psychotherapist and on ideas gleaned from Buddhism, Jung and feminist writings. She argues that most women don't have a clue about what they want because society has programmed them simply to want to present a desirable image. Illustrating her thesis with mythic tales and case studies of her own patients, the author shows how our culture recognizes two female stereotypes: the beautiful muse and the ugly hag-bitch who wields power to fulfill her own desires. Women should not be objects of desire, but subjects of desire, she writes, not only in personal relationships but in the workplace. While women may believe that competence leads to success at work, she contends that "what leads to power is self-promotion, making the right connections and being self-confident." According to Young-Eisendrath, women's rampant consumerism, shoplifting and binge eating are simply manifestations of unconscious desires. Although she contends that established religions have subordinated women, the author advocates learning to distinguish pathological desires from authentic ones through traditional spiritual practices or New Age feminist communities. She treads on familiar ground, but Young-Eisendrath writes with authority, offering women a valuable perspective on understanding and changing self-defeating behaviors."

Psychology of Mature Spirituality: "Split into three sections - integrity, wisdom and transcendence the book describes and analyses a mature form of "skeptical spiritually" that will be a hallmark of future years. Analytical psychology text addressing the question of how to reconcile spiritual and religious practices with intelligence and rationality, two hallmarks of the secular age. Combines developmental and depth psychology with religious studies to create a concept of 'skeptical spirituality."

You're Not What I Expected: "Along with reciprocal trust and shared power, dialogue between equals "on a personal and public level" is essential to the experience of full intimacy in heterosexual relationships. So argues Jungian therapist and feminist Young-Eisendrath ( Hags and Heroes ) in this persuasive guide. In accessible language, she demonstrates that culture, not biology, promotes the gender-based stereotypes that, along with shattered dreams, often prevent couples from establishing true intimacy. The reader sits in on intensive sessions of "dialogue therapy" as practiced by the author and her social worker husband, Ed Epstein, with four composite couples. In addition to aiding the husbands and wives in facing their own and each other's limitations and negative feelings, these dialogues are intended to foster "mature dependence" and to lead the couples to the recognition that attachment and suffering go together."

The Gift of Suffering: "Psychotherapist Young-Eisendrath (The Cambridge Companion to Jung, Morrow, 1993) combines insights of Jungian psychology and Buddhist meditation to fashion a reflection on the creativity of suffering and loss. Through the stories of several individuals who gained new perspectives on self and the world through a creative use of their suffering, Young-Eisendrath constructs a journey of resilience and renewal that involves compassion, Jungian alchemy, and selflessness."

Reslient Spirit

Hags and Heroes

Cambridge Companion to Jung

Gender and Desire

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