About Sandy Ginsberg, M.S., M.F.T.
I am a lifelong dreamer. I began seriously studying dreams more than thirty years ago, and have been journaling my own dreams ever since then. In addition to dreamworking with my individual psychotherapy clients, I offer a Dreamworking Group. I am also a provider of continuing education for MFTs and LCSWs in the State of California (PCE#3999).
I first attended an ASD Conference in Berkeley in 1996, later attended the Hawaii Conference in 1998, and presented at the Santa Cruz Conference in 1999. My workshop was entitled, "'I Am,' An Experiential Workshop on Gestalt Dreamwork." Although only attending the Boston Conference in 2002, I presented "Getting the Dream Down and Following Where It Leads" on the Long-term Journaling Panel and presented a workshop entitled, "After Dreaming, Explore That Aspect Which Has Eluded You" in 2003 in Berkeley, California.
I think the International Association for the Study of Dreams is unique and inclusive. There are so many facets of dreaming which are represented at any one conference. Attending a conference creates an opportunity for growth and education which is unavailable in this way anywhere else. In addition, it is comforting to meet and deepen relationships with people who understand the importance of dreaming and dreamworking. As a psychotherapist, I need this kind of renewal, and I appreciate the IASD for providing these opportunities.
"Honoring the Dream" is an article I wrote which is included in the IASD's Spring, 2000 publication of DreamTime, which focuses on Creativity and Dreaming. I believe in honoring the dream with action. In this way, an additional message from the dream's offering can be accepted. As a psychotherapist, I often suggest following through with a dream by honoring the message. The might include making an object, doing an activity, or creating artwork which is suggested from within the dream.
I am asked about a favorite dream. For this I give a horrifying "nightmare" that I experienced about 1977: I am at the beach of a large lake. Many parents and children are lazing and playing, and out from the lake comes a many tentacled octopus-type undersea monster. It is huge, and reaching out to grab the little children. We all run away screaming, and the scene changes to a later time. We have failed to thwart the creature, so the army is involved. They are shooting at it, and bombing it, and it keeps coming. I suggest to the general that they spray it with firehoses connected up to the water of the lake, and when they do, the creature slinks back under the water.
I had just been learning about doing dreamwork by facing the nightmare, and "becoming" the various creatures in the dream, so I gave it an immediate try right there in the middle of the night. Here's what the monster had to say: "I've been asleep here at the bottom of the lake for such a long time. I hear the laughter of children, and it cheers me as I long for company. I feel so alone. I want to join them and play with them. As I look up from the bottom of the lake, I can see their little feet jumping and running in the shallow part of my lake. I want to join them, and as I reach out to play, children and their parents scream and run from me in horror! Oh no, can't they see I just want to play? It's been such a long time, and I want them to understand, I envy them, and I want to join in. 'Come back'...and I pursue them and soon they start shooting at me, and I'm so mad. All I want to do is join in and play. Now they bomb me, and I'm so mad! I'm really going to hurt them for hurting me so much! But just then somebody sprays me with water from the lake, and I am reminded of the solitude and the quiet, and they don't want me anyway, so I go back into the depths and I'm so lost and so sad! I just wanted to join the children in their play."
At that time, I was raising my sons by myself, feeling I had to be both mother and father. I had no time to play at all. When I saw the dream from the monster's point of view, it was so close to what was actually going on with me. I had gone into hibernation. I had sorely missed the playing and the frivolity. I knew this was what the dream intended me to know. The message had to become a "nightmare" before I would pay attention. Now the task was clear. "Wake up and play with the kids!" (Which I began doing.)
That nightmare of mine ... and one of my son's from the same time period are highlighted in a second article entitled "Even Nightmares Bring Gifts" in the Spring, 2005 issue of DreamTime.
There is a great wisdom to be found every day. Our dreams connect us to the mystery, and we democratically have access to it all the time. Dive in!