Interviewing 101: Overview

Unit 1: Interviewing Overview 

Interviewing 101 Competencies and Learning Objectives:

  1. How interviewing, the first of the four modules focused on transformation in the Integral Deep Listening Certification Program, is related to:
    1. Healing, balancing, and transformation
    2. to Integral Deep Listening
    3. An integral and transpersonal dream yoga
    4. In the three realms of relationships, thinking, dreaming
    5. Coaching
  2. Purposes of Interviewing
  3. Practice interviewing dreams, life issues, yourself, others

Be able to explain

  1. Why interviewing is the foundational module in the IDL Certification program.
  2. Various purposes of interviewing.
  3. How interviewing relates to each of the other nine modules of the Coaching Certification curriculum.
  4. Understanding the difference between “regular” interviewing and “online” interviewing, which is explained in Interviewing 104.

What is IDL Interviewing?

Integral Deep Listening uses questioning protocols to access alternative perspectives that include your own. That is because, as aspects of yourself, they know what you know – your thoughts, feelings, memories, behaviors, intentions, and preferences. However, because they have their own perspectives which often, but not always, are different from yours in significant ways, their worldview not only includes, but transcends, yours. This is because they are not simply self aspects, nor can they be relegated to perspectives from your unconscious and therefore an aspect of some greater self definition. They include your unconscious, but can transcend it as well.  Integral Deep Listening most commonly interviews dream characters and the personifications of important and current life issues, like the “knife” of the “knife-like stabbing pain” or the “vice-like” stomach cramps. Just about anything and everything is a potential subject for IDL interviewing: synchronicities, family dramas, historical events, like the War on Gaza, geopolitical crises, such as 9/11, mythological characters, like the Egyptian god Horus, elements from fiction, like Voldemort from Harry Potter.  Multiple characters from the same dream or life issue can be interviewed at the same time with IDL interviewing. This is called “Dream Sociometry, and is both a powerful research tool and a way to speed the development of empathy and objectivity, through the near simultaneous interviewing of multiple perspectives.  To access a Dream Interviewing Protocol, go here. To access a Life Issue Interviewing Protocol, go here.

Why Do Interviews? Purposes of Interviewing

Addressing life issues: Our life issues are what most concern us, and the ability of Integral Deep Listening to move toward their resolution is a concrete way anyone can test the method in their lives. 

Reframing life issues: It’s not enough to surface and pay attention to life issues. If we knew how to resolve them and knew how to get over our resistances to resolving them, we probably already would have done so, right? What interviewing does is to put you in touch with perspectives that reframe your life issues in ways that are authentic, because they reflect yourself. They are also self-empowering, because they are not from some outside source. What those perspectives have to say is generally reasonable and makes sense. In addition, the recommendations they make can be tested and proved true or false, useful or not useful.

Interpreting any dream to your satisfaction: I did symbol-based interpretation, as a student of dreaming and then as a psychotherapist, for about two decades, from age twelve to thirty, of the variety found in Egypt, Rome, Freud, Jung, Cayce, and dream dictionaries. Because dream interpretation projects our associations onto dreams I found it disrespectful and assumptive. Characters embedded in dreams are themselves in a much better position to interpret their dream. One or more such dream character interview generally provides a superior interpretation of a dream to those you, experts, dream groups, or dream dictionaries generate.  IDL encourages you to first state your associations to your dream or nightmare – your interpretation – before conducting an interview of it. This is so you can objectively compare your stated interpretation with that produced by the interview. Then you can clearly see what you missed, ignored, minimized, or left out of your interpretation and arrive at your own conclusion regarding the quality of the interpretation rendered by your interviewed dream characters. 

Ending nightmares for good: Years of work with IDL interviewing demonstrate that it typically eliminates nightmares in just one session. 

Reducing or eliminating Post-traumatic stress disorder: Years of work with IDL interviewing demonstrates that PTSD (as well as phobias and various anxiety disorders) diminishes and even disappears with a few IDL interviews.

Stopping repetitive dreams: Dreams that are not listened to in a deep and integral way tend to repeat because the perspectives they represent are not being heard. Integral Deep Listening interviewing often stops recurring dreams in only one session. 

Ending toxic drama in dreams: Toxic drama is a recurring theme in dreams, and it generally is associated with behavior, like arguments, self-doubt, or fear of failure or rejection, that is causing some sort of psychological indigestion. IDL interviews tend to move us out of subjective blindness caused by our immersion in our life dramas by looking at them from the more objective perspectives of interviewed emerging potentials. 

Breaking the cycle of dreams undercutting waking progress: It is not unusual to emotionally and cognitively regress in our dreams, reverting to scripted strategies of feeling and thinking that we learned when we were five. The result is a waking residue of unease, bad feelings, or confusion that colors our attitude and problem solving during the following day. Interviewing breaks up this pattern by accessing perspectives that do not revert or regress the way that we often do. 

Detaching yourself from your preferences: What you like and dislike, love and hate, defined both your identity and your life choices when you were two and three. By the time you were four you started to learn to think about your preferences and realize that your emotional likes and dislikes were not always in your best interest. But some people never outgrow a life controlled by their preferences; they remain slaves to their likes and dislikes. IDL Interviewing, through interviewing multiple characters with multiple preferences, many of which are different from your own, slowly teaches you to become aware of your preferences without having your life controlled by them.

Developing an inner support system: Loneliness is often associated with a sense of a lack of an external support system, of people who really care about us. Instead of spending our time attempting to make ourselves likable by others so we will not feel lonely, IDL interviewing focuses on developing relationships of mutual respect with perspectives that are relatively objective, out of drama, and that care enough about us to give us realistic recommendations for dealing with issues that really matter to us. IDL calls this inner support system our “intrasocial sangha,” or inner support community. 

Accessing emerging potentials: “Emerging potentials” refer to any dream character or life issue element you choose to interview. They are called “emerging potentials” because that is what they most basically are: possibilities that are emerging into your awareness, rather than “things,” or elements of your imagination. Accessing emerging potentials is a big deal. They provide healing, balancing, and transformative possibilities.

Accessing your life compass: Beyond accessing your emerging potentials, through interviewing multiple dream and life issue elements, these often share a worldview and make similar recommendations. Those elements together point toward a set of priorities that transcend them as individual perspectives as well as your own waking priorities. This hypothetical set of priorities is called “life compass” by Integral Deep Listening. It doesn’t belong to you; it is not a subset of some definition of who you are. It includes and transcends all those definitions. It contains you; you belong to “it.” However, life compass is not a thing but an ongoing emerging process that reflects the potentials and possibilities of humanity as a whole that are attempting to emerge into manifestation in our collective reality. 

Getting in touch with relatively non-scripted alternative worldviews: Because interviewed emerging potentials are relatively independent of the socialization we received from our family, society, and culture, they present worldviews that are relatively non-scripted. They therefore provide alternatives to the scripting, most of which exists out of our awareness, that largely defines who we think we are. 

Getting in touch with perspectives that model assertiveness: Because interviewed perspectives are not alive they cannot die. Because they are immaterial they do not need to eat, drink, or sleep. They have no safety or security concerns because they have no physical bodies to get sick or die. The result is that they naturally possess a degree of authentic confidence that we often lack due to our inherent vulnerability. As we become such perspectives we gradually take on that confidence, which manifests as assertiveness. 

Developing empathy: Empathy is typically thought of as the ability to feel what others are feeling. However, that is an “entry level” definition of empathy and is not the definition primarily employed by IDL. How do we know that empathy exists? It is not enough to assume that we know what someone is feeling. We do not know that we are empathetic until we receive validation from the other that we indeed know what they are feeling.  IDL interviewing develops this deeper, authentic empathy by repeatedly looking out at experience from the perspective of an unlimited variety of viewpoints. Their responses to our questions tell us whether we are hearing them and actually possess empathy or not. As we receive that validation, our ability to empathize generalizes to our waking life relationships. We become more empathetic, more authentically.

Moving beyond dualities: Our waking reality is based on dualities, which are discriminations among oppositions. These include self/other, good/bad, true/false, real/unreal, sacred/secular, moral/immoral, ours/theirs, things/processes, rational/irrational, and healthy/unhealthy. The more interviews that you do the more you will discover and become perspectives that are much less dualistic than you are. You will encounter many perspectives that rely much less on these discriminations than you do. This is somewhat paradoxical, since Dream Sociometry is based on the elicitation of some seven degrees of preference from interviewed elements. However, these preferences exist to present perspectives that on the whole, support a process of waking up, objectivity, development, and evolution – a movement beyond dualities. On the whole, it does so more effectively and concretely than does meditation, although IDL endorses and teaches meditation.

Developing subjective sources of objectivity: Interviewed perspectives are subjective in that they are self-aspects. However, they are relatively objective in that their perspectives can be quite autonomous and distinct from our own. They can even be almost completely autonomous, as in hierophanies, kratophanies, near death experiences, dream visitations from deceased relatives, and shamanic experiences. These serve to break down the common dualities of sacred/secular, real/imaginary, and objective/subjective that we build our waking lives around. Their importance lies in their ability to provide reframings and solutions that include but transcend our own. 

Improved problem solving: IDL produces improved problem solving around any issue by increasing the variety of objective inputs into decision-making. In addition to the subjective input of our reasoning, common sense, intuition, and conscience, and the objective input of others, experts, Google, and chat bots, IDL adds the input of “subjective sources of objectivity” in the form of interviewed “intrasocial others” or members of our intrasocial Sangha or transpersonal community. These know our issues resistances to problem solving as well, if not better, than we do ourselves. The result of combining all three of these sources is superior problem solving. 

Integration of Microcosm/Macrocosm: In addition to our common differentiations between interior and exterior realms, waking and sleeping, conscious and unconscious, waking and dreaming, other and self, IDL teaches experientially how these mirror and co-create each other interdependently. The result is identification with and incorporation of the “other” and greater disidentification and depersonalization of the self, whether prepersonal, personal, or transpersonal. 

Clarification of your intent: We all have intentions. Much of our intent is normally assumed, subjective, and working outside our awareness. Consequently, those intentions can drive our lives in ways we do not intend to go and that are out of sync with our emerging potentials and life compass. By accessing the intentions of various interviewed perspectives we surface and objectify our own intent, thereby clarifying and focusing it so that our lives become more centered, balanced, and productive. 

Developing authentic, intimate relationships: Most people are so busy wanting to be liked, avoiding looking stupid, making mistakes, or pleasing others that they never develop authentic or intimate relationships. Instead, they build their lives around self-doubt, phony confidence, and toxic drama. All that is unnecessary, tragic, and avoidable. However, to do so we need to get in touch with perspectives that are not slaves to familial and socio-cultural scripting that we internalized from infancy and that now defines who we are in multiple useful and productive and non-useful, unproductive, and harmful ways. As we develop authentic and genuinely intimate relationships with such perspectives, our ability to trust ourselves increases, as does our ability to form authentic and intimate relationships with others. 

Empowering others: When we interview others, we empower them by showing them how easy and fun it is to access their own emerging potentials. When we teach others to interview us we further empower them by providing them with an easy and fun way to develop authentic and intimate relationships with others. 

Cultivation of objectivity: Personal development can be viewed as a process of objectification. When we are born we are our bodies and sensations. As we identify with our emotions we are our feelings and possess our bodies and sensations. As we identify with language and thinking we are our thoughts and possess our feelings, bodies, and sensations. As we identify with others we are our relationships and possess our thoughts, emotions, bodies, and sensations. As we learn to identify with interviewed emerging potentials we develop a multi-perspectival identity that includes others as aspects of ourselves. This increasing objectivity allows us to outgrow the curse of personalization and psychological geocentrism, the belief that life is all about us. (Psychological geocentrism is broader than egocentrism. For an explanation, see the explanation of this term in the Glossary, in the main menu.)

Personal development through service to others: By learning to identify with interviewed emerging potentials we grow into a life that is about self-fulfillment through service to others, as a larger and growing definition of who we are. 

Positively transforming familial scripting: As we learn in the first module of the Coaching curriculum, unless we surface and sort through the injunctions and messages that we internalized as infants and youth, they control the course of our development and life. IDL interviewing, by accessing perspectives that have not been subject to familial scripting, provide objective reframings and alternatives to it. 

Positively transforming socio-cultural scripting: The collectives in which we are embedded include not only our families. Those in our work, religious, and recreational environments have scripts that seek validation and reinforcement. This generates forms of groupthink which support group identity and solidarity while resisting, rejecting, or ostracizing perspectives that threaten it. Your interviewed emerging potentials have not been so scripted. They are not members of such groups. As a consequence, the more that you practice becoming them the more you disidentify from your socio-cultural scripting. But beware! Expect push-back from the collectives to which you belong; they may experience you as disrupting the groupthink status quo. 

Expanding and thinning identity: On our door is the saying, “Don’t believe everything you think.” To this we can add, “Don’t believe who you think you are.” It really doesn’t matter how you define yourself. If you continue to grow, you will outgrow your present definition of yourself. Integral Deep Listening supports and speeds up that process by constantly introducing you to alternative, expanded identities that are legitimate and authentic while peacefully co-existing with each other. This experience will teach you how to do the same, which means to move from psychological geocentrism and heliocentrism to a polycentric, multi-perspectival identity based on respect, reciprocity, trustworthiness, and empathy. (Geocentrism, heliocentrism, polycentrism, and multi-perspectivalism are all explained in the glossary.)

Making the secular and mundane sacred: As children life is new, exciting, spontaneous and joyful. As we develop and build on habitual patterns of behavior, emotion, and thought, life becomes largely habitual and routine. The result is that it also tends to become mundane and secular. On the one hand, there is nothing wrong with that; it is necessary as a foundation for further growth. For example, the naturalism of life itself, is secular in that it is a process of adaptation, violence, life and death. On the other hand, as we access the unlimited creativity of interviewed emerging potentials our sense of the sacredness of the mundane and secular grows. Our ability to experience the preciousness and joy of this moment, of the here and now, continues to expand, and with it our sense of gratitude and appreciation. Our desire to give back to others and to life for the sacred abundance that we experience in the here and now continues to enrich our lives.  As you do interviews, look for these purposes of interviewing. See which show up in your interviews and you find most important. 

The Function of Interviewing in the IDL Curricula

Due to the many benefits and uses covered above, interviewing is woven into every module on all three Certification levels. Although “Interviewing” is the first module in the transformational section of the IDL curricula, it is the first module studied. In all three levels of certification, Coach, Practitioner, and Trainer, interviewing plays a central role, with interviewing of self and others as well as being interviewed by others, with both dream and life issue interviews, in every unit of every module. Why is that? Due to the many benefits and uses covered above, interviewing is woven into every module on all three Certification levels. Therefore, a grounding in its purposes and uses, as well as how to interview and how to deal with common issues that may arise during interviewing is preliminary to the subject matter of all other certification modules.  There are a number of reasons for why interviewing plays such a central role:

Interviewing gives you feedback on your progress: Are you on track? That is, are your efforts really aligning you more closely with your emerging potentials and life compass? Interviewing helps to anchor all modules in all three realms: Your study is intended to integrate your life in the three realms of relationships, thinking, and dreaming. 

Interviewing ties together the different modules: By having healing, balancing, and transformation directed by interviewed emerging potentials.  It does so around two life areas, your own self-development (or that of your clients) and your collective development, that is, the development of an external sangha for mutual support. As you move through each of the modules, think about how the interviewing you do relates to the content of each unit. How does interviewing look when viewed from what you have learned about the Rescuer role in the Drama Triangle, about logical fallacies, or about assertiveness? 

As you conduct interviews, test these functions; see if they are true for you and your students.

How does integral deep listening interviewing support development of the transpersonal and expanding awareness of the sacredness of life on a day-to-day level?

 IDL interviewing is a way to access both wisdom and transpersonal wisdom. If we define “wisdom” as knowledge that stands the tests of time, transpersonal wisdom is knowledge that stands the tests of time that is tailored uniquely to the needs of your own unfoldment and development. It is also a way of objectifying prepersonal patterns that keep us stuck as well as transpersonal priorities that draw us toward greater wholeness. 

IDL also encourages you, through its interviewing of self and others, to embody and express sacred qualities and virtues that emerge through the process of deep listening and dialogue. By connecting with innate perspectives that embody qualities such as objectivity, creativity, compassion, gratitude, and unconditional love, you can cultivate a deeper sense of connection with the sacred dimensions of life and infuse your day-to-day experiences with transformational meaning and significance. Through regular practice, you can integrate these sacred qualities into your thoughts, feelings, and actions, fostering greater harmony, alignment, and authenticity in your life.

IDL interviewing also supports you in clarifying and aligning with the priorities of your life compass by listening, in a deep and integral way, to the guidance and wisdom that emerges from your dreams and personifications of life issues important to you. By identifying and embodying the values, passions, and aspirations that resonate with your deepest essence, you can live in increasing alignment with your higher purposes and contribute to the unfolding of the transpersonal dimensions of consciousness in your own life and the world around you.

Why alternate interviewing of yourself and others?

If you primarily focus on self-interviews you will likely burn out. This is because the recommendations will become repetitious and you will not hear new, creative reframings as often. Interviewing others will allow you to hear truths that speak to you that are presented in framings relevant to others. This will speed your self-development. At the same time, we learn best by sharing and teaching. That is how you develop both confidence in your coaching ability as well as in the methodology, as something that really can make a profound positive difference in the lives of others.

Why have others interview you?

By having others interview you, you share your competence and increase the confidence and autonomy of others at the same time. They can turn around and interview others and discover for themselves that they can make a real positive difference in the lives of others. Having others interview you also shows you to what degree your student has learned and internalized the method and where they need more instruction. Ideally, they will interview you at least twice – once interviewing the personification of a life issue and once interviewing a nightmare or dream character.

Assignments and Homework 


Under “Essays and Interviews,”  read: “How Does Integral Deep Listening Interviewing Work?” “Examples of IDL Interviewing”


In the IDL video curricula, watch:         How Does IDL Interviewing Work? IDL interviewing works because, when we drop our own identity and world view and allow ourselves to answer questions from the perspective, point of view, or world view of this or that image, we create openings for life to reconfigure itself in ways that increase integration. But why would life do that, instead of doing what psychology teaches will happen if we give up control: decompensation, discontrol, personality breakdown, going crazy, and basically deconstruction into a burbling mass of protoplasm? I don’t think there is anything magical, mystical, or metaphysical about that process, although from our waking perspective it can easily seem that way. If we look at evolution and the adaptive, developmental, and healing processes of organisms, what we find consistently is a selection for higher orders of integration. Even on a purely material level, for instance in the movement of wind currents into tornadoes and hurricanes, water currents into whirlpools, or inorganic matter acquiring structures and processes that are foundational to the emergence of life, we see this process, called autopoiesis, or self-organization, within individuals, and negentropy, or organization or development, the opposite of entropy, within systems. IDL merely mimics this entirely naturalistic process. Is it therefore surprising that it yields similar results? – Higher orders of integration and the reframing of life issues as well as our understanding of our dreams and mystical experiences in ways that support healing, balancing, and transformation? Generation of the Personification of a Chosen Life Issue for Interviewing This video explains how personifications of life issues are created by associating the chosen life issue with feelings, those feelings with a color or color filling one’s field of vision, and then spontaneously allowing those colors to congeal into a form, preferably an animal for subjects new to the process.

Quizlet Self-Tests


Trade interviews of both dreams and life issues with one or more partner, one interview a week.. Submit your written interviews to your supervising team member. To have your interviews automatically created for you, use the on-line interviewing format on this site.  Keep track of the interviews you do by listing the following: Name of the interview Date Who/What interviewed Major Recommendations Choose one or more recommendation from your interviews to apply and monitor. 


  1. Write down your answers to the following questions.
  2. Share your answers with your other study team members.
  3. Discuss.
  4. Submit your written answers to your team supervisor.

Which of the above purposes of IDL interviewing are most important for you? Why? Which of the above purposes of IDL interviewing are least important for you? Why? Are there other unnamed purposes or benefits that you experience or that you are aware of? If so, what are they? How are they important? How does familiarity with the above purposes of IDL interviewing change, affect, or broaden your interviewing of others? How would you rate the usefulness of this unit 0-10? Why? How can it be improved? Meet with your team at least once a week.

Setting Intent

What do you want to take away from this unit to improve your life?

How would you like it to influence your dreams tonight?

How can you format that as a statement of intention to read over to remind yourself, before you go to sleep, to incubate in your dreams tonight?

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