Dialogue Therapy for Couples and Real Dialogue for Opposing Sides: Methods Based on Psychoanalysis and Mindfulness

Author(s) : Jean Pieniadz, Author(s) : Polly Young-Eisendrath

Dialogue Therapy for Couples and Real Dialogue for Opposing Sides: Methods Based on Psychoanalysis and Mindfulness

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A clear, cogent, and comprehensive account of the rationale and methods of Dialogue Therapy and Real Dialogue, this volume introduces models of facilitated dialogue designed specifically to end polarization.

This book offers a straightforward and comprehensive encounter with some of the most effective theories and methods to facilitate dialogue and disrupt deadening power struggles between life partners, grown children and parents, siblings, co-workers, and others whose conflicts have led to harmful polarizations. The book is based on ideas and relational models from mindfulness and psychoanalysis that have not been applied in this unique way before. This melding of mindfulness (containment, concentration, equanimity, maintaining a "mindful gap") with the psychoanalytic understanding of projection and projective identification (the "hijacking" of our subjective experiences) creates much more than light at the end of the tunnel. It engenders the acceptance of another that leads to love and insight, based on the recognition and acknowledgement of our autonomy and our common humanity in the midst of conflict.

This book introduces a new, revolutionary model for couple therapists, life coaches, group facilitators, and leaders to open a mindful space that increases witnessing capacities in the midst of emotional conflict without imposing goals of agreement, reconciliation or compromise.

Reviews and Endorsements

"This ambitious, beautifully written text represents decades of accumulated clinical wisdom. Integrating feminism, Buddhism, psychoanalysis, and empirical scholarship, the authors show how to help antagonistic parties to listen respectfully, grow in self-knowledge and autonomy, and appreciate the equal humanity of the other. Their work is both inspiring and quintessentially practical. I recommend this book to all therapists who work with couples as well as to professionals in the fields of coaching, consulting, and conflict resolution." - Nancy McWilliams, Ph.D., Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

"We live—politically and psychologically—in a world of deaf ears, isolated silos, and grotesque caricature. For democracy to survive, we need to find ways to listen deeply, see others’ points of view, respect difference and generate creative dialogue. In this exciting and ground-breaking book, Pieniadz and Young-Eisendrath describe the conceptual and practical tools this requires. Elegantly eclectic, they integrate ideas from psychoanalysis, feminism, psychodrama, attachment theory and Buddhism. Central to their practice are attentive witnessing, dialogic space, and validation of autonomy. Real Dialogue has implications that extend far beyond couple therapy to conflict resolution and political change. Beautifully and accessibly written, it will appeal to a wide audience of both professional and lay readers." - Jeremy Holmes, M.D., University of Exeter, U.K.

"It is well known that Dialogue Therapy—since its creation four decades ago by Polly Young-Eisendrath—has helped lift countless intimate partners out of deadening  emotional ruts.  This book describes and develops the model which  makes brilliant use of psychoanalysis, mindfulness, and psychodrama. Couple therapists of all schools of thought will benefit from the authors'  description of a method which goes beyond interpretation and transference cures.  It will be essential reading for those who aspire to see love  "as a form of psychological and spiritual development." - Deborah Anna Luepnitz, Ph.D., author of Schopenhauer's Porcupines: Intimacy and Its Dilemmas.

About the Author(s)

Jean Pieniadz, Ph.D., is a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and supervisor in private practice. She is a founding and current faculty and board member of the Vermont Institute for the Psychotherapies. Her publications are in the areas of developmental psychology, feminist ethics, and neuropsychology.

Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D., is a psychologist, writer, speaker, and Jungian analyst. She has published eighteen books (translated into twenty languages), including The Self-Esteem Trap and Love Between Equals. A lifelong Buddhist practitioner, she is also a mindfulness teacher.

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