Believing that each person seeks to be whole and healthy, Sandy is interested in the growth of self-awareness and the promotion of personal responsibility. As awareness increases, there is often a gain in the congruence between internal feeling and outward expression. Ultimately, when these aspects are less at odds, there is an increased esteem for the self.
Often working with creative arts therapy techniques and dreamwork, she offers opportunities for self-growth. With these and other methods, symbolized “unfinished business” can be identified, options recognized, and solutions found.
For some there is trauma in childhood. It may exhibit itself as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction or some other difficulty in adult years. It may have come between an individual and their spiritual wholeness. The goal in psychotherapy is a full range of expression with responsibility and authenticity, and relationships with others that feel rewarding and fulfilling.
Sandy Ginsberg has a private psychotherapy practice in Encino. She is licensed by the State of California as a Marriage and Family Therapist (License #MFC32670).
She is a certified crisis counselor, and a member of CAMFT's Trauma Response Network in California.
She received her Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology - Counseling, from California State University, Northridge, and was Honored with Distinction. A copy of her thesis/project, “JOURNEYING TOGETHER, A WOMEN'S ART THERAPY GROWTH GROUP” is available at C.S.U.N.’s Oviatt Library. It documents the creative process a group of women experienced as they deepened their sense of self, their sense of spirituality, and their inter-relatedness by working with a variety of media while meeting in a group format. The project culminated in the art show, "Gestures of Journeying Together" at the C.S.U.N. Art Gallery. Sandy’s undergraduate degree was in Art, which provides the foundation for the use of arts therapy techniques that are sometimes employed in therapy.
|IN THE MEDIA:|
In spring of 2011, the Los Angeles Times asked Sandy her thoughts about the relationship between dreams and survival.
Later, she was interviewed by Carlos Amezcua on Fox TV News regarding the nature of dreaming as it reflects the recession in our lives.
Sandy's articles, “Honoring the Dream” (Spring, 2000) and “Even Nightmares Bring Gifts” (Spring, 2005) were published in DreamTime Magazine, a publication of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
She was interviewed and her artwork featured in the March/April 2011 issue of Sprituality & Health magazine. The article, "The Art of Stress Relief - Opening a New Way of Seeing" focused on the use of creativity to heal and grow.
There are many valuable groups that are available to counselors and psychotherapists. They provide ongoing updates regarding research findings, relevant studies, and colleagiality. Some are Local, some are National and others are International. Feel free to visit, recognizing that other websites bear responsibility for their own content.
American Counseling Association
Association for Creativity in Counseling
Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling
Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Counselors for Social Justice
International Association for the Study of Dreams
San Fernando Valley Chapter of CAMFT
There are many places that wisdom can be gained. Therapy offers a weekly
possibility. Others may be available less frequently, but will provide
a wonderful influence. Sandy encourages furthering the subconscious
work of dreams in the waking world.
Sheila Asato offers
workshops when she comes to Southern California from Minnesota.
A Jungian technque that is much like harvesting dream material is
Michael Daniels, PhD's,
"Watchword Technique", which he offers as an interactive experience online.
Local to us here in Southern California, Stephen Aizenstat's
Pacifica Graduate Institute offers many weekend (and longer) trainings.
The International Association for the Study of Dreams offers Regional Conferences in Southern California.
IASD is a wonderful organization to join and attend the International Conferences annually.
Of course, Sandy Ginsberg offers her own Dreamwork Group for practitioners and laypeople alike,
no prior experience necessary.
There are a number of dreamworkers that Sandy holds in high regard, among them are:
Jeremy Taylor, D.Min.
and Robert Bosnak, Psy.A.
A wonderful resource, DreamTree
deals with so many aspects of dreaming and how it enriches our culture.
, created by Richard Wilkerson, offers a thorough look at psiber dreaming and links people together in amazing ways.
Another site that offers a very comprehensive list (also maintained by Wilkerson) is
"Dreamworkers, Information, Education
Last, but certainly not least, the World Dreams Peace Bridge
provides a variety of opportunities to join with other dreamers across the globe in creating a more just and peaceful planet.
EDUCATING THERAPISTS AND LAYPEOPLE:
Sandy has taught fellow psychotherapists about “Integrating Dreamwork Into [Their] Psychotherapy Practice,” providing Continuing Education Units through C.S.U.N. Other presentations include “Exploring the ‘I AM …’ with Gestalt Dreamwork” in Santa Cruz (ASD Conference, 1999), “Dreamwork Workshop” at “Exploring the Therapist Within” (the SFV-CAMFT Retreat in 2002), “After Dreaming, Explore That Aspect Which Has Eluded You” in Berkeley (ASD Conference, 2003). In 2003, she also presented “Getting the Dream Down and Following Where It Leads” on the Long-Term Journaling Panel at the IASD Annual Conference. More recently, she has shared more about dreaming with “Visioning the Dream” for Friends of the Family Clinic (September, 2007), “Manifesting the Dream” at a Unitarian Universalist Annual Retreat (deBenneville Pines, October, 2007); “A Hands-On Introduction to Dreamwork” at the Annual Conference of Phillips Graduate Institute in Encino, California (4/1/2008); “Creative Expression of Dream Symbols” at the 2008 Southern California IASD Regional Conference; “Revealing ‘The Third Perspective’ of the Dream” at the 2008 IASD Annual Conference in Montreal, Canada; “Dream Journaling in Relationship” on the Long-Term Journaling Panel at the 2009 IASD Annual Conference in Chicago; “Foundations of Dreamwork for Clinical Practitioners” on the Panel for Beginners at the 2011 Southern California IASD Regional Conference.
Presenters at the 2011 Southern California IASD Regional
Conference (L to R):
Lauren Schneider, M.A.; Ana-Karin Bjorklund, Ph.D.; Sandy Ginsberg, M.S.; Rita Hildebrandt; Athena Johnson, M.A.; Barbara Bishop, M.A.; Jeremy Taylor, D.Min.; Janice Baylis, Ph.D.; Walter Berry, M.A.; Rev. Geoff Nelson, D.Min.; and Richard Paseman, D.Min.
Psychotherapy is accomplished in a variety of modalities.
INDIVIDUAL therapy often helps to contain a crisis, identify feelings, enhance awareness, promote personal responsibility and change, and helps to resolve unfinished business.
RELATIONSHIP therapy can enhance communication skills, resolve conflict, identify common goals, promote healthy boundaries and teach negotiation.
FAMILY therapy helps by identifying the workings of the "system" which operates to keep the family from changing to a new style, and helps the individuals within the system to learn respect and empathy as they find they can get their needs met in a new way.
GROUP therapy provides an atmosphere of commonality in a dynamic setting of exploration in which members benefit from their own and others' contributions. Sandy has facilitated therapy groups for Incest Survivors, Adult Children of Alcoholics, Adults Who Were Molested As Children and Growth Groups for Creative Individuals. She presently offers a Dreamwork Group.
A video of her philosophy can be found on the Therapick website.
The therapeutic alliance that is created between the client and the therapist is the primary dynamic which stimulates the healing process. After trust is built, clients feel confident to talk about more important issues. For some, the talking itself is the key to healing. Knowing you are valued in the context of your life story encourages the freedom to explore more difficult areas.
For some, additional creative healing methods may be helpful. Sandy's background in the art world provides for a variety of creative aspects to be employed. These may include: working with clay, creative imagery, non-verbal dialoging, emotional and relational sculpting, or journaling. Be sure to talk about your interest in these.
Dreamwork can be a powerful tool to finding the internal ally. Sandy has been working with dream imagery for more than thirty-five years and has found that great wisdom and insight can come from the smallest fragment of a dream as well as the most horrific recurring nightmares. Her philosophy holds that dreaming is a method by which the subconscious delivers “benevolently-intentioned” information. Working with dreams in the psychotherapeutic setting provides an opportunity for that wisdom to be honored, which can help to promote lasting positive change.
A non-traditional Sandtray is available for the externalizing of personal themes. It can be a powerful tool in the therapeutic process when a client “sees” for the first time the dilemma that surrounds them in their everyday life. Because this is a changeable medium, there is empowerment when one sees and accomplishes the resolution of the challenge in the sandtray; and can then imagine it accomplished in their life as well.
|CRISIS AND TRAUMA COUNSELING:|
The Chinese symbol for "Crisis" is a combination of the symbols for "Danger" and "Opportunity". A trauma, a tragedy, a disaster ... all of these situations make it very difficult to observe any "opportunity". On the other hand, the "danger" aspect is usually pretty clear. In relationships there may be traumas and tragedies. There will often be crises to overcome. When there is a disaster, however, the goal becomes a matter of survival by responding to the present dangers; and coping in the "here and now".
After the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, Sandy was hired with a FEMA Grant to provide Crisis Counseling to elementary school students, their families and school staff at L.A.U.S.D. After the grant ran out, one of the schools hired her from their own discretionary funds to continue to counsel their students regarding a variety of their concerns.
That was the beginning of a long-term interest in helping people deal with disaster and trauma. Now, certified in crisis counseling, Sandy is a member of CAMFT's Trauma Response Team; and is a Disaster Mental Health volunteer with the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. She has assisted those who suffered during the Chatsworth Train Disaster, and several wildfires in and around the San Fernando Valley.
|YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS:|
You don't have to put an age limit on your dreams. In what ways do you consider your dearest hopes and dreams? Are you actively working toward them? You may think of them as the aspirations you had as a child, those hopes you held to for a while and have long since abandoned. Your dreams may be the desires that you fear to acknowledge (perhaps even to yourself). How do these dreams tie in with your sense of self worth? Messages that were received as a youngster continue to have incredible power ... and yet, dreams are strong. What is it that would make your life more fulfilling? Do you have a sense of it already, or does it seem like you'll never quite understand what is making you feel so confused, depressed or anxious?
Therapy can have a way of helping recognize how the dreams of the past might become realized. There may be obstacles blocking the way. Injuries from real wounding may need to be addressed and attended to, even if the situation happened long ago. It may feel difficult to find a way to trust this new ally, the therapist. In the past, it may have been hard to trust others, so recognize that it may be good to go slowly. You set the pace.
There are many new behaviors that are learned in therapy. You enter the process with a "toolkit" and many existing tools. For the tasks that have felt too hard for you to handle, we find new tools and add them to your toolkit. We might sharpen or adjust others, and we may need to fashion some special ones that haven't even been invented!
Gaining awareness is an early goal and taking responsibility is the key to long-lasting change. Therapy is often the practice ground for new behavior.
Sometimes it's difficult just to be yourself, comfortable in your own skin. You may have been taught from an early age that pleasing other people is more preferrable than meeting your own needs. Perhaps you felt bullied, or inadequate to stand up for yourself. ; You might have witnessed behaviors which lacked courage or were only self-serving. The people who raised you may've had ideas about some people that were founded on old hatreds or lack of information. You might find yourself in a double-bind now; loving your family, but wanting to be more authentic with yourself in the world. It might feel as if it's too hard a task to find a way to change the way things are. You might even think you need to change other people! The change you want starts with YOU.
Sandy would like to help you become a more authentic you ... to really like yourself, no matter who you are. This probably means that you would be able to easily feel a full range of emotions and relate to the people around you in satisfying, rewarding ways. The dreams you have had may be reachable in one form or another. You needn't go it alone.
|YOUR DREAMS (YES, THE SLEEPING ONES):|
Just a few facts first. All warm-blooded creatures dream. We dream whether we remember or not. Sleeping occurs in 90 minute cycles. At the beginning of a daily sleep period, the R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement period) is relatively short as compared to the deep sleep; but as the 90 minute cycles continue, there is progressively more and more R.E.M. relative to deeper sleep. So, at the end of sleeping, a person may have 30 minutes or more of active dream time during that sleep clycle. However, it is now understood that R.E.M. is not the only time that dreams are known to occur.
Dreams are benevolently intentioned messages that are timely, and intended for the dreamer (and sometimes the wider community). They may speak of very practical matters (like getting something fixed on the car before it malfunctions). They may speak in metaphor about the health of the physical body. For some, they speak of the future or defy our sensory understandings. There is a great power and wisdom within us which tries to make a connection every night. It may seem silly or frightening. In fact, most of us have been taught to dismiss them with the message, "... don't worry ... it was ONLY a dream." Imagine though, that there is more to it than that.
Carl Jung said, “A dream is the theatre in which the dreamer is the scene, the player, the prompter, the producer, the author, the public and the critic.” All aspects of the dream are available to be learned from.
Robert Bosnak, author of “Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming” and “A Little Course in Dreams” (among others) said, “The beings in the dream act as if they have their own interior life.”
Sandy promotes an understanding that the subjectivity of a dream is a special gift to the dreamer. The Gestalt (“I AM...” ) methodology helps to widen the horizon on the potential of the dream's message, and deepens the dream's importance and value to the dreamer.
The Gestalt (“the whole”) method of dreamworking is a system that promotes the dreamer's empathic identification with various aspects within the dream.
This means the ability to detach from the dream-ego’s point of view and enter into an understanding of the point of view of the “other”
(person, place, thing, animal, object, time of day, mood, etc.).
The understanding of the dream from a variety of perspectives enhances the dreamer's understanding of the message of the dream. Imagine a white wall filled with many masks. Someone may "Gestalt" the wall in this way: "I am busy, colorful, and full of life." Someone else may see it differently and say, "I have no peace, they cover me, crowd me. It feels as if I can't even breathe!" And yet another person may say, "These are my friends, I am so flat, and so blank. If it weren't for these friends, no one would even look at me. I'm grateful for their vibrancy and diversity. Sometimes I wish I were as colorful as they, but it's my purpose to just give them a place to be unique and wonderful. I guess I have to be sacrificed for that to happen." When an aspect of the dream seems to call to the dreamer, it can be very beneficial to attend to it directly. When using this Gestalt approach, new persepectives are found on the personality of the dreamer. New information can be understood regarding the message of the dream itself. It's also very clear that since each person can "Gestalt" something differently than the next person, it is highly important that we recognize that the dreamer is the ONLY one who knows what fits and what doesn't regarding the meanings of their own dreams. The author is the "Author-ity" of their own dream.
This is the subjective gift from the dream’s image to the dreamer. Only the dreamer can fully know a meaning that is being offered. A therapist is wise to understand this subjectivity and refrain from the temptation to interpret the dream. A therapist who can assist in the process of dreamworking will journey with the dreamer to explore the landscape of the dream and help the dreamer to contain and honor this process of gaining awareness.
Sandy offers a Dreamwork (Therapy) Group. It meets for 1½ hours each session. Members share dreams, deepening their understanding of their innermost selves, their methods of operation in the world, and the impact of interacting with one another in the group. Dr. Montague Ullman's concept for boundaryful dreamworking has had such a widespred acceptance, and has just recently been deepened at the 25th Annual IASD Conference, so this Dreamworking Group will promote a "This being my dream, ..." approach when reflecting impressions to one another.
A small number of dreamers participate in the group under Sandy's facilitation. We follow the Ethical Guidelines of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
Please call Sandy at 818-780-7619 to inquire about doing Dreamwork, whether in Individual therapy, or in this Group setting.
A refreshing sleep ... and good dreaming to you.
Psychotherapy is a rich and complex process. The client has the responsibility and capability to accomplish change. The therapist accompanies the client on the journey to wholeness. Sandy Ginsberg would be honored to “Help you find yourself the way you want to be.” Sandy's office is in Encino, in the San Fernando Valley (which is a part of Greater Los Angeles). Please feel welcomed to contact her with your questions and comments if you believe she can be of help.
Sandy Ginsberg, M.S., L.M.F.T.
16055 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1020, Encino, California 91436
Click here to relay your comments or questions to Sandy.
The office is located on the North-East corner of Ventura Boulevard and Woodley Avenue.
This website was last updated on February 1, 2012.