Jungian-based depth psychotherapy in Media, PA.


Stephen Aizenstat

Stephen Aizenstat

Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the founder and President of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. He is a professor of depth psychology with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a credentialed public school teacher and counselor.

He has served as an organizational consultant to companies and agencies worldwide, and teaches extensively. Dr. Aizenstat has explored the potential of dreams through depth psychology and his own research for more than 35 years. His Dream Tending Methodologies extend Carl Jung’s traditional dreamwork to the vision of an animated world, where the living images in dream are experienced as embodied and as simultaneously originating in the psyche of Nature and the psyche of human beings. In his writings he describes multiple applications of dreamwork in relation to health and healing, nightmares, the world’s dream (anima mundi), relationships, and the creative process.

Fundamental emphasis

  • Curiosity
  • Relationships

Dream Tending

Dream Tending is a method of working with dreams that considers dream images as “living images.” It makes the particularity and presence of these images available to the dreamer. The “intelligence” of the dream is listened to from the inside out.

To “tend” a dream is not just to interpret or analyze it. The figures and landscapes of dreams are experienced as alive and moving about with a certain degree of autonomy. When a dream is ”tended,” images come “awake,” imagination is animated, and we participate in life more fully rooted in the way of the dream.

Four essential orienting ideas

1. The Dreaming Psyche Is Multidimensional

Three “dimensions” of experience

  • Awake Circumstances, or the Awake Consciousness
  • Personal Development, or the Personal Unconscious
  • A trans-cultural sensibility, or the Collective Unconscious

2. Dreams Are Alive

Images interact; Images are alive; they are moving about in the dreamscape, coming into relationship with each other, changing one another.

3. Everything Dreams

People are dreaming, rocks are dreaming, mountains are dreaming. It is the idea that the world itself is always dreaming — that all things, phenomena and creatures have a subjective interiority.

4. Dreams Happen Now

Dreams exist in the immediacy of our experience. Dream images are like a poem or a painting that ask us to hear or see differently.


Dream Tending Outline

I. Preparation - Entering the Realm of the Living Dream

  • Meet the Dream in the Way of the Dream
  • Open Body Awareness
  • Becoming Present in the Here and Now
  • Engage the Dream in an Attitude of Not Knowing

II. Working with Living Images

  • Basic Skill Set

- Contacting the Archetypal Ego

- Asking the Core Questions

- Using Language to Vivify Dream Images

  • Relationship Skills

- Hosting the Guest

- Sustaining Relationship with an Image by Using the Senses

  • From Relationship to Revelation

- Portals of the Soul

- The Intelligent Image

- The Evolving Image

- The Love of an Image

Video Presentation

Interview with Stephen Aizenstat where he gives a definition and examples of the technique he developed for working with dreams: Dream Tending.