#396 – Dream Tending with Stephen Aizenstat PhD

Stephen Eizenstat


Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the Chancellor and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute, an accredited graduate school offering masters and doctoral degree programs framed in the traditions of depth psychology. He is a professor of depth psychology with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and a credentialed public schools teacher and counselor. He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fielding Institute, M.A. in Confluent Education (Educational Psychology) at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and B.A. in Political Science and Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Aizenstat has provided organizational consulting to companies and agencies and teaches extensively worldwide. Dr. Aizenstat has explored the power of dreams through depth psychology and his own research for more than 35 years. His Dream Tending methodologies extend traditional dream work to the vision of an animated world where the living images in dream are experienced as embodied and originating in the psyche of Nature as well as that of persons. His work opens creativity and the generative process. His book, Dream Tending, describes multiple new applications of dreamwork in relation to health and healing, nightmares, the World’s Dream, relationships, and the creative process.

His other recent publications include: Imagination & Medicine: The Future of Healing in an Age of Neuroscience (co-editor with Robert Bosnak); “Dream Tending and Tending the World,” in Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind; “Soul-Centered Education: An Interview with Stephen Aizenstat” (with Nancy Treadway Galindo) in Reimagining Education; Essays on Reviving the Soul of Learning; The Soul Does Not Specialize: Revaluing the Humanities and the Polyvalent Imagination, with Dennis Patrick Slattery and Jennifer Leigh Selig: “Depth Entrepreneurship: Creating an Organization out of Dream Space”, in The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-First Century; and “Fragility of the World’s Dream”, in Eranos Yearbook 2009-2010-2011 Love on a Fragile Thread.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

copyright 2014: David Van Nuys, Ph.D.


One Comment

  1. phwaap
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Interesting discussion in several ways. With respect to the dream discussion, I’m curious how Stephen feels his method differs from that detailed by Robert Johnson in Inner Work. Two aspects that seemed prominent in Stephen’s discussion were allowing the dream autonomy and ritual. Johnson is very insistent along these lines as well. He encourages us not to dismiss the figures that come to us as mere facets of our personality but to treat them essentially as separate beings. He also points out the importance of performing some small ritual to honor and bring the teaching into the world.

    Since there was substantial time given to discussing Pacifica, I have to take Jungian/depth psychology to task a bit on continuing to largely cater to the affluent. It is a real shame since much of what informs it comes from marginalized populations, which have been poorly repaid, either through affordable service or educational opportunities. Jungian analysis is out of the question for most (I think even Deborah Bryon quipped last week about how expensive it was!) and going to Pacifica or Zurich is beyond the means of most.

    Finally, I have to comment on Dave’s “errors of animism.” What we’re slowly coming around to now is the hubris of Western science which has devalued everything but the human will. Of course, it’s just this lack of respect that has opened the floodgates to so much destruction in the West. We have much to learn from world views like the Lakota’s Mitakuye Oyasin, whether we believe in a spiritual essence or not.

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