Jung argued that one could consider every person in the dream to represent an aspect of the dreamer, which he called the subjective approach to dreams. Fritz Perls presented his theory of dreams as part of the holistic nature of Gestalt therapy. Perls expanded Jung’s perspective to say that even inanimate objects in the dream may represent aspects of the dreamer. For Perls, dreams are seen as projections of parts of the self that have been ignored, rejected, or suppressed. In an elaboration of Jung’s Active Imagination, in Gestalt therapy the dreamer may be asked to imagine being an object in the dream and to describe it, in order to bring into awareness the characteristics of the object that correspond with the dreamer’s personality.
IDL suspends assumptions of the origin and ontology of characters in dreams (or the personifications of life issues) in favor of a phenomenological approach that is based on respect. It asks interviewed characters what aspect(s) of the dreamer they most closely represent. Sometimes characters will answer that they do not represent some aspect of the dreamer or that they both represent some aspect of the dreamer and are independent. IDL sometimes asks characters what aspects of themselves the dreamer most closely represent. Because this is a difficult question for most people to wrap their brains around, it is not often asked, but it can be and sometimes is asked, and it serves as a reminder that IDL views the ontological status of interviewed perspectives as indefinite; neither completely reducible to aspects of self nor completely reducible (as in say, the case of the appearance of dead relatives) completely other.
The benefits of such an approach is that it supports objectivity and creativity in ways that assuming that all dream characters are self projections does not. It thereby opens both the interviewer and the subject to possibilities for healing, balance, and transformation that they otherwise are blind to.