Who is most likely to know the meaning of your dreams? Did the person who wrote your favorite book about dream symbols have your dream? Did other people in dream interpretation groups have your dream? Did any psychic you might consult have your dream?
While all of these sources can offer interesting interpretations, they can’t compare in value with the perspectives of those characters that appear in your dream. This is because they are personally invested in your dream, because it is as much theirs as it is yours. Since your consciousness created the dream and they are invested in the dream, are they not more likely to both care and understand in ways other people cannot?
This is the hypothesis that Integral Deep Listening uses to interview the characters that appear in your dreams. It asks you to suspend your assumptions about what is real or true, including your own interpretations of the dream, in favor of simply becoming this or that character and answering a series of carefully constructed questions that are designed to do much more than provide you with a personally satisfying understanding of why you had the dream in the first place. Prepare to be astonished at the wisdom, acceptance, and autonomy you are about to experience within yourself!
IDL Dream Interviewing Protocol
Joseph Dillard, LCSW, Ph.D.
What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
Tell me a dream you remember. It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand.
Why do you think that you had this dream?
If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?
These are the characters in the dream, beside yourself…
If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?
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 this or that character in your dream 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!
_______ are you a character in ______’s dream?
(Character), look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see…
(Character), 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 and act as you would?
(Character), why do you think that you are in ______’s life?
(Character), why do you think ______ had this dream?
(Character), why do you think (some dream event happened) or (some character) was in the dream?
(Character), why should _____ pay any attention to what you have said? Aren’t these just a projection of ______’s own wishes and desires?
Thank you, character! And now a couple 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:
To learn more about approaches to dreamwork, see Transformational Dreamwork.
For more information see:
Interviewing Your Dream Characters