Shanee Stepakoff, PhD


Background And Qualifications
I have been a member of the International Association for Study of Dreams (IASD) since 1989.  IASD is a multidisciplinary organization of scholars, researchers and practitioners who have a serious interest in learning about and working with dreams. For nearly three decades, I have attended IASD’s annual 5-day conferences. These conferences serve as an opportunity for the exchange of theories and research about dreams, as well as to practice a variety of methods for interpreting and working with dreams. I have given five presentations at the annual IASD conferences. I am scheduled to give two presentations at IASD in 2018.

I am a consistent reader, as well as an occasional reviewer, for Dreaming, the first professional journal devoted specifically to dreaming. The journal publishes scholarly articles from a wide variety of disciplines and viewpoints. Anthropological, historical, philosophical, psychological, arts-based, and literary perspectives are well represented.

In the Spring of 2018, I taught a course on The Psychology of Dreams at the University of Maine. In the past, I taught a course in “Imaginal Psychology” at Lesley University, in which dreams were a substantial focus. In 2009 and 2010, I designed and led two workshops for the counseling staff of the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) in Amman, Jordan, on ‘Working with Dreams and Nightmares.’ During 2004 and 2005, I designed and led four trainings in West Africa, on ‘Coping with Nightmares.’ (These trainings were conducted for NGOs in Guinea and Liberia, the Mending Hearts program in Sierra Leone, and for staff at the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone.) As a clinical psychologist licensed in Massachusetts since 2000, in New York since 2007, and in Maine since 2018, many of my clients in private practice as well as in agencies where I was employed brought in dreams that we worked on together to support their personal growth. During extensive travels through Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and the United States, I have interpreted the dreams of individuals from a variety of cultures and across a broad age span that includes children, adolescents, and young, middle-aged, and older adults.

As an independent scholar, I have immersed myself in the academic literature on dreams. I am currently submitting three manuscripts about dream interpretation for publication in peer-reviewed journals.  I have also pursued formal opportunities to learn about dreams. For example, I completed a graduate course on Dreams with Clara E. Hill, PhD, one of the most highly respected dream researchers in the world. I participated in a weeklong program at the International School of Analytical Psychology (Switzerland). I have completed two intensive study programs (as well as a variety of shorter workshops and seminars) at the C. G. Jung Foundation of New York. I have participated in two intensive workshops on ‘Embodied Dreamwork’, which were conducted by the renowned Jungian analyst Robert Bosnak. I am an elected professional member of the NTL Institute, and completed several NTL programs in which dreams were a focus (e.g., John and Joyce Weir’s “self-differentiation” workshops).

My qualifications as a professional dream interpreter also include my experience of journaling my own dreams on a consistent basis since 1984. I have systematically documented and interpreted over 2,800 of my own dreams, and have entered these dream reports and my interpretations of them onto a computer. By devoting enormous amounts of time and energy to understanding my dreams throughout the entire course of my adult life, I have become “fluent” in the language of dreams. I consider it my life’s work to share this knowledge and these skills for the benefit of others. For this reason, since 2016 I have made my entire dream series available to leading dream scholars. It is also for this reason that in 2018, I established my Professional Dream Interpretation practice and website.

In addition, the study of dreams was a component of my undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate education. I hold a BA from Clark University, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Highest Honors in psychology. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in urban studies, cum laude, from Worcester State College. I hold a MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in creative writing from The New School, with a specialization in poetry. As a poet/writer, I understand the power of metaphors and symbols, an understanding that is crucial in dream interpretation. I also hold a MA in clinical/community psychology from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in clinical psychology from St. John’s University. I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in ethnic/political conflict at the University of Pennsylvania, a postgraduate certificate in Trauma Studies at the Boston Trauma Center, and a postgraduate fellowship in comparative psychoanalysis at the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis. For further information on my academic/professional background, as well as a list of honors, awards, and publications, please refer to my general website,, after June 1, 2018.