Dream Interviewing Protocol

IDL Life Issue Interviewing Protocol

Joseph Dillard, LCSW., Ph.D.

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?




Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

What feelings does this issue bring up for you? 

If those feelings had a color (or colors), what would it be?

Imagine that color filling the space in front of you so that it has depth, height, width, and aliveness.  

Now watch that color swirl, congeal, and condense into a shape. Don’t make it take a shape, just watch it and say the first thing that you see or that comes to your mind: An animal? Object? Plant? What? 

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are the shape that took form from your color and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

_____, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

(Character), what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

(Character), what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

(Character), what aspect of _____ do you represent or most closely personify?

(Character), if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

(Character), how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence, 0-10. Why?

Compassion, 0-10. Why?

Wisdom, 0-10. Why?

Acceptance, 0-10. Why?

Inner Peace, 0-10. Why?       

Witnessing, 0-10. Why?          

(Character), if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?

(Character), how would _______’s life be different if he/she naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

(Character), if you could live _____’s life for him/her, how would you live it differently?

(Character),if you could live _____’s waking life for him/her today, would you handle ____’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?




(Character), what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of ______’s life?




(Character), in what life situations would it be most beneficial for ____ to imagine that he/she is you, become you, and act as you would? 

(Character), why do you think that you are in ______’s life? 

Thank you, (Character!) Now here are a couple of questions for _______: 

What have you heard yourself say? 

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Look back over the interview and list the specific recommendations that were made:

Every night before you go to sleep read over the recommendations you choose to work on. Score yourself 0-10 on how you did on each. Read the interview over several nights a week to incubate a non-drama alternative reality in your dreams.

Find a partner or a support person, like another person who you exchange interviews with or an IDL Practitioner. Exchange emails. Send a report each week on how you have done on applying your recommendations. Don’t worry about perfection; just focus on making a game out of doing better!

Initially it is helpful to explain the six core qualities to the person being interviewed.

“Confidence” refers to fearlessness.

“Compassion” refers to selflessness, both toward others and oneself.

“Wisdom” is not intelligence but the ability to know what to do or say, to be in the right place at the right time for things to “click.”

“Acceptance” is the transcendence of preferences toward others and yourself.

“Inner peace” is not only the absence of distress but a positive state of broad and deep well-being.

“Witnessing” is the ability to watch the drama of your life go by without being caught up in it. “Drama” refers to taking things personally, emotional reactivity, experiencing yourself or others as persecutor, victim, or rescuer.

If you interview a dream, please post it on our blog for us to benefit from your work! Also, we will be happy to support you in understanding and using what you discover.

For more information about the interviewing protocol, see Integral Deep Listening Interviewing Techniques

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