IPAP is delighted to invite you to the 3rd edition of the IPAP OPEN HOUSE: ‘Dreams and Imagination in Digital Psychotherapy: Managing Fear, Anxiety, and Nightmares in Times of Uncertainty and Isolation’ (Zoom, June 27-28, 2020), held by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., and Alia Aizenstat, M.A., M.F.T.A.


This international workshop is jointly organized by APAP | Associazione per lo studio della Psicologia Analitica e dello Psicodramma junghiano – through its institute, IPAP | Institute of Analytical Psychology and Psychodrama – Postgraduate Training School (Ivrea, Italy) – and Pacifica Graduate Institute (Santa Barbara, California, USA), with the support of Dream Tending (Santa Barbara, California, USA) and the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences (Carpinteria, California, USA).



The Digital Age has brought to light emerging individual, social, and cultural changes, which effect how mental health care practitioners should approach psychotherapy. We live in a world dependent on the digital code of algorithms. Highly complex systems of cyber technology are replacing human imagination and expression, once rooted in the organicity of the Anima Mundi, the ‘soul of the world.’ Advanced machines and cyborgs have attained high level capabilities of consciousness (e.g., intelligence, attention, autonomy, and intention). At lightning speed, the future of human experience will be located in a matrix of virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. The fate of the dream, originating in the mystery of psyche, is challenged by the take-over of the programmer’s digital code.

Moreover, today’s generation of children and adolescents are growing up in a digital world where they are constantly bombarded by media and advertisements. This generation, deemed the ‘i-Gen,’ are digital natives who spend little time facing boredom or imaginative play. Newer research is bringing to light changes in brain development from screen time, especially for youth. As psychotherapists, how can we help families and youth gain control around their digital use and offer a way to re-enter states of play and imagination?

The yearly workshop explores how online identities can be integrated into the psychotherapeutic process namely through the ‘Virtual Identities Integration Treatment’ (VIIT) model. The VIIT model is presented as a methodology to work with families, individuals, and youth in psychotherapy to gain control around digital use in developmentally appropriate ways, help assist youth in identity development, and expand space for imagination. Through the use of direct clinical examples, students explore: how to set digital boundaries, important elements in creating digital boundary agreements, and how to work with virtual identities as a portal to imagination. This work is expanded by also covering how to bring digital responsibility and elements of the VIIT model into teenage group therapy settings as a means of decreasing screen time and increasing social emotional intelligence, positive body image, and overall better self-esteem.

Evening sessions focus on ‘Dream Tending,’ a practice that sees the world as alive and always dreaming. Dream Tending is a way of attending to ‘living images’ in dreams. This methodology offers a way of working with imaginal figures in a broader psychological field. In this wider ecology, there is consideration given to both the ‘avatars’ of cyberspace and the ‘autonomous figures’ of the dream time. In addition, students can host new emerging ‘hybrid’ images generated from the confluence between the two. Emphasis is in particular on tending to those illuminated images that offer guidance in our life and access to the deep imagination.

IPAP / Pacifica course is developed in cooperation with the Global Dream Initiative (GDI), which calls for recognition of the trauma in the world, and the need to participate in its healing. We assert that the world’s suffering appears in the living images of dreams and that we can creatively respond. Through the practice of Dream Tending, we are able to engage the voices of the world’s dreams, speaking on their own behalf and asking for response. The Global Dream Initiative supports a forum to see and hear the world’s dreams and to utilize them to create new and more generative ways of responding to the trauma of the world—ways that are not trapped in the cultural, political, economic, and environmental approaches that now are failing us.


Part 1: Life Unfiltered: Psychotherapeutic Methods for Managing Anxiety, Overwhelm, and FOMO in the Digital Age

According to the World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders worldwide (ADAA, 2020). As we roll into the new decade, this session offers a 20/20 vision of how psychotherapists and mental health workers can help individuals, couples, families, and youth manage and heal their relationship with anxiety, overwhelm, and the fear of missing out (FOMO). Students will walk away from this lecture knowing what anxiety, overwhelm, and FOMO are and have a better understanding of the relationship between the digital world and the rising global rate of anxiety disorders. In the second half of the panel, students will learn treatment methods of how to work with anxiety disorders in the digital age out of the Virtual Identities Integration Treatment (VIIT) model. Clinical case studies will help bring to life how creativity and psyche-centered expression can break the trance of anxiety. In closing, students will examine how group psychotherapy, especially for youth, is a path to healing and normalizing the unedited human behind social media’s pervasive filters.

Part 2: Dream Tending and the Psychotherapeutic Process

Especially in times of uncertainty and crisis, dreams originating in both the traumatic conditions of the world situation and in the fear based experiences of individuals become pronounced. Horrific images recurring in nightmares are not uncommon. We will bring particular attention to working with the ‘intolerable images’  or nightmares. We will explore the healing potential of such images, and too, the medicinal value in relation to boosting the immune system. Nightmares often open the portal to deep imagination and ‘soul making’: in the workshop we will explore how this is just so. A five step process of discovering the generative possibilities of the nightmare will be described, demonstrated, and distributed.



Saturday, June 27, 2020

04:00pm – 05:45pm: How to Manage Fear, Anxiety, and Nightmares in Times of Uncertainty (part 1) (AA, SA)

05:45pm-06:00pm: Coffee Break

06:00pm-07:00pm: How to Manage Fear, Anxiety, and Nightmares in Times of Uncertainty (part II) (AA, SA)

07:00pm-08:00pm: Dinner Break

08:00pm-09:30pm: How to Manage Fear, Anxiety, and Nightmares in Times of Uncertainty, including dreamwork (part III) (AA, SA)

09:30pm-10:00pm: Introduction to Sunday work and Goodnight (AA)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

04:00pm – 05:45pm: Psychotherapeutic Methods for Managing Anxiety, Overwhelm, and FOMO in the Digital Age (part 1) (AA)

05:45pm-06:00pm: Coffee Break

06:00pm-07:00pm: Psychotherapeutic Methods for Managing Anxiety, Overwhelm, and FOMO in the Digital Age (part II) (AA)

07:00pm-08:00pm: Dinner Break

08:00pm-09:30pm: Psychotherapeutic Methods for Managing Anxiety, Overwhelm, and FOMO in the Digital Age, including dreamwork (part III) (AA, SA)

09:30pm-10:00pm: Questions & Answers, and Goodbye (AA, SA)


Aizenstat-foto-2019-lowStephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., has devoted his life to understanding the profound wisdom and healing power that exists within each of us. Through our dreams and imagination, we access limitless creativity, innovation, improved relationships, and ultimately our human potential. Professor Aizenstat’s Dream Tending methodologies have helped thousands of people to unlock their deep imagination, to increase intellectual and emotional bandwidth, and to realize personal and professional goals. He asks us to experiment with a worldview that playfully and soulfully sees the world as alive and always dreaming, in an attitude of wonderment, curiosity, and presence. This inquiry was a driving force in Dr. Aizenstat’s creation of Pacifica Graduate Institute, a center for the study of the human experience through depth psychology, mythology, and the humanities. Professor Aizenstat has served as an organizational consultant to leading Tech Companies, Hollywood films, community and educational institutions, and he has lectured extensively on the subject of dreams, the deep imagination, new technologies, and organizational development. He is affiliated with the Earth Charter International project through the United Nations, where he has spoken. Professor Aizenstat has been mentored by and collaborated with many notable masters in the field including Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, and Robert Johnson. He has conducted sold-out Dream Tending seminars, workshops and “pop-up” events in the U.S. Asia and Europe. His publications include Imagination & Medicine. The Future of Healing in an Age of Neuroscience (co-edited with R. Bosnak, 2009), ‘Dream Tending and Tending the World,’ in Ecotherapy. Healing with Nature in Mind (2009), ‘Soul-Centered Education: An Interview with Stephen Aizenstat,’ in Reimagining Education. Essays on Reviving the Soul of Learning (with N. Treadway Galindo, 2009), ‘Fragility of the World’s Dream,’ in Eranos Yearbook 70 (2009–2010–2011), ‘The Dangers and Opportunity of Cyberspace: A New Vision of Global Dreaming,’ in Eranos Yearbook 71 (2012), and ‘The Fate of the Dream in the Future of a Cyber World,’ in Eranos Yearbook 74 (2017–2018, forthcoming). His major work, Dream Tending, appeared also in Italian as Vegliare il sogno. Teoria e pratica del Dream Tending (a cura di R. Bernardini e G.P. Quaglino, 2013). Dr. Aizenstat serves as Advisory Board Member of IPAP – Institute of Analytical Psychology and Psychodrama in Ivrea (Italy).

IPAP-Alia-Aizenstat-lowAlia Aizenstat, M.A., M.F.T.A., is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (#106561), who works in private practice and as a Lead Group Facilitator at AHA!, a non-profit organization educating teens on emotional intelligence and social justice. She is the author of ‘Psychotherapy in the Digital Age: The Integration of Online Identities in the Therapeutic Process’, and the founder of the Virtual Identities Integration Treatment (VIIT) model. Alia has trained in EMDR trauma therapy levels one and two with an attachment focus through the Parnell Institute and in Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) with one of the programs founders, Steven Hayes. She is certified in: Dream Tending, a depth psychological approach to working with dreams; leadership through Leadership Santa Barbara County; and is a registered yoga teacher. She is a lecturer and has been working to implement psychoeducational segments on digital responsibility into schools and therapeutic treatment centers. She regularly teaches at IPAP – Institute of Analytical Psychology and Psychodrama in Ivrea (Italy).

Information & Registration

A simultaneous translation from English into Italian and from Italian into English will be provided.

Participation is free, subject to availability; registration is required.