Dream Sociometry Overview



An outgrowth of Moreno’s sociometry, phenomenology, and Socratic elenchus, Dream Sociometry is the core methodology of a phenomenological and experiential multi-perspectival integral life practice called Integral Deep Listening (IDL).[1]Applicable to life issues such as physical pain, interpersonal conflicts, and personal growth as well as to dreams and nightmares, Dream Sociometry is a structured interviewing methodology that is meant to be part of a yoga, or a disciplined approach, to personal unfoldment.[2]The subject becomes and interviews characters associated with a particular dream, nightmare, or life issue, using the framework of a Dream Sociomatrix, which collects and tabulates degrees of preference. These scores reflect patterns of intrasocial group preference which can be depicted in a Dream Sociogram.[3]Various Dream Sociometric commentaries contain provocative alternative perspectives regarding life issues which concern the subject. Character recommendations are operationalized and applied in one’s daily life as a way of both testing the methodology and ameliorating life issues.

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What is Dream Sociometry?

How can a group be reorganized, based on the preferences of its individual members, in order to function more effectively? Those familiar with J.L. Moreno’s sociometry will recognize this as a fundamental question that motivated his creation of the method. Moreno defined sociometry as “the inquiry into the evolution and organization of groups and the position of individuals within them.”“…As the …science of group organization, it attacks the problem not from the outer structure of the group, the group surface, but from the inner structure.” (Moreno, 1934).

Dream Sociometry asks, “When dreams and waking life issues are approached as interior or intrasocial groups, and one takes the perspective of its various characters, answers a series of questions from their world view, then gathers, tabulates, and has each elaborate or explain their preferences, can the results be used to reorganize the self in ways that promote both integration and problem-solving?”

Dream Sociometry grew out of a dissatisfaction with the projective nature of traditional dreamwork, psychotherapy, and indeed the healing arts in general. While it was first applied to dreams and nightmares in the early 1980’s, by 1983 it was understood that the same processes could be applied to any life issue, with the consequence that the underlying dreamlike nature of waking life became obvious.[4]Consequently the “dream” in Dream Sociometry is an allusion to the dreamlike nature of life itself, with the further implication that we are constantly in a process of awakening in both dreaming and waking states of consciousness. It also became obvious that anyone capable of accessing a structured approach to multi-perspectivalism could access valuable and useful information relevant to their particular life issues.

Multi-perspectival approaches stand at the doorway to the transpersonal, a realm of expanded empathy and increased transparency, in which the major developmental task is getting out of our own way.[5]While cognitive multi-perspectivalism, such as Ken Wilber’s Integral AQAL, focuses on the attainment of a multi-perspectival world view, experiential multi-perspectivalism focuses on the accessing of values, priorities, and perspectives that are emerging and potential, authentic and relatively autonomous, that point us toward higher order balance and integration.[6]Dream Sociometry emphasizes experiential multi-perspectivalism to provide access to emerging potentials in order to provide direction in getting unstuck. As long as a student is capable of getting into role they are likely to access perspectives which help them resolve issues that are of personal importance.

In addition to having a transpersonal and multi-perspectival orientation, Dream Sociometry is also thoroughly phenomenological, in that it emphasizes the suspension of assumptions, preferences and interpretations of both client and therapist. Dream Sociometry focuses on understanding the dynamics of intrasocial groups and how they may restructure themselves. These purposes are well supported by adapting Moreno’s original work. Since the innovative and pioneering work of Dr. Moreno in the 1920’s and 1930’s, sociometry has continued to evolve, thanks to the outstanding contributions of Ann Hale (Hale, 2012); and others. There is no doubt that Dream Sociometry will benefit from the adoption of subsequent discoveries and advances in sociometric methodologies to it.

Purposes of the Dream Sociomatrix

While Dream Sociometry is a research tool for the exploration of the nature of intrasocial groups, it is primarily a transpersonal methodology for remediation of various life issues, for the removal of blocks to increased development, and heightened lucidity. Dream Sociometry is similar to psychodrama in that it is experiential, multi-perspectival, playful, and phenomenologically-rooted. It differs from psychodrama in that it is more structured, following a protocol or template for questioning, is dialectical, follows precepts of Socratic elenchus,[7]is a life discipline, is consciously framed not only as therapy, but as an integral and transpersonal life practice, and emphasizes operationally-defined application. It also differs in the recording or transcribing of interviews, with review part of the application process.

The basic theory behind the creation of Dream Sociomatrices involves the development of objectivity and lucidity through the practice of a phenomenologically-based multi-perspectivalism.[8]Integral Deep Listening theorizes that anxiety, which is a component of the vast majority of mental health and life issues, is associated with a shrinking and walling off of the self, as more stimuli are perceived as threatening “other.” Repeated identification with alternative perspectives and world views has been found to reverse this process: as we practice “becoming” multiple alternative perspectives we expand the self; fewer stimuli are perceived as threatening “other,” while more are recognized to be “emerging potentials” inviting sources of creativity and experiential growth. The result is a reduction in many forms of anxiety and some forms of depression. In this regard, Dream Sociometry has been found effective in a clinical setting in the treatment of anxiety disorder, phobias, including agoraphobia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the reduction of the intensity and quantity of nightmares, a shortening of the course of situational, exogenous depressions, and even in psychological co-morbitity associated with mild head injury.[9]

While the free-flowing nature of unstructured character interviewing, as seen in Psychodrama, Gestalt, Constellation Therapy, and various other methodologies has the advantages of flexibility, spontaneity, and adaptability, the structured interviewing protocol of Dream Sociometry provides consistency for research, thoroughness, and intentional focus. Because the methodology directs action toward specific goals in repeatable ways, play and creativity are employed to support both remediation and transformation.

Statement of Three Life Issues and the Writing of Associations

Before the Dream Sociomatrix is created, the subject is asked to list three life issues and to state why they believe they had the dream or are experiencing the life issue they are working on. The purpose of these steps is to make sure that the process of creating a Dream Sociomatrix is relevant to ongoing life concerns of the subject and to serve as pre-tests by which to evaluate the usefulness and efficacy of the Dream Sociomatrix and its resulting recommendations. How do our initial associations compare with the interpretations by the interviewed characters? If they are similar, that implies that we either are in sync with a multi-perspectival approach to our life or, on the other hand, have not successfully gotten into role, so that all character responses simply echo our own priorities.[10]What feedback do we get about how to handle our life issues? Is it helpful? Does it re-frame our issues in such a way that we can move forward? Are there recommendations about how to handle our life issues that make sense to us and that we would like to experiment with in our daily lives?

Creation of the Dream Sociomatrix

Functionally, the Dream Sociomatrix involves the creation of a grid with “choosers” comprised of a selection of characters from a dream, nightmare, or life issue, written down the left margin of the grid, and the “chosen,” a selection of characters, actions, and emotions written in chronological order across the top of the grid (see the example sociomatrix grid, below). Choosers, beginning with your own perspective, called “Dream Self,” state their preferences toward each chosen element in succession. There are seven degrees of preference, like, like a lot, love, don’t care, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, and non-attached, which are given associated quantitative values of 1, 2, 3, 0, -1, -2, -3 and *. Once a character has stated its preferences toward all characters, actions, and feelings listed across the top of the Dream Sociomatrix, the subject “becomes” the next character in the list to the left of the Dream Sociomatrix and repeats the process. This process is continued until all listed choosers are interviewed. The numerical values of the various preferences are tabulated, with total scores at the far right of the Dream Sociomatrix representing how accepting or rejecting of the chosen elements one interviewed character is or is not. Total scores at the bottom represent how accepted or rejected each chosen element is by all choosers. Choosers may have mixed preferences. That is, they may both like and dislike the same chosen element, including themselves. Such mixed preferences are also numerically noted. Here are some examples of mixed preferences: (1/-1), (-1,1), (3/-1), (-2/3). Because scores often reflect a mixture of preference and rejection, they also indicate a degree of ambivalence or conflict, either internally, by this or that chooser, or by multiple choosers.

Our own perspective, called “Dream Self,” is interviewed first to provide the subject’s world view and perspective toward the dream, nightmare, or life issue. This serves to offload our expectations and assumptions and to serve as a baseline by which we can determine whether the results of Dream Sociometry really are multi-perspectival or not.[11]The last character in the list of interviewing choosers, located along the left border of the Dream Sociomatrix, is always Dream Consciousness, or the perspective that generated the dream or life issue. There is no claim that our identification accurately or realistically reflects that actual perspective, but only that it serves as an indicator of our intention to look at the world from an inclusive context that embraces all other interviewed perspectives. The construction of the Dream Sociomatrix is explained in detail in Dream Sociometry (Dillard, 2018).

The Construction and Purpose of the Commentaries

The elicitation of preferences in the Dream Sociomatrix naturally beg for clarification. For example, why did an interviewed Sword dislike a lot (-2) the Knight (its owner) while liking a lot (+2) being used to kill people? Why did the Grape like (+1) being ground to bits in the blender and love (+3) being shat out? Why in the world do we dream such things? Are they simply, as Freud said, “day residue,” or is there more to them? How do we know? Why did the Table watching my argument with my daughter, in an interviewed life issue, like the argument a lot (+2) when I hated it (-3)? For answers, we first turn to the interpretations of the characters themselves. These are written as elaborations in the first of several Commentaries, the Dream Sociomatrix Commentary. Particularly striking answers that we want to remember, return to, or think about, are underlined.

Next come a series of descriptive and orienting questions for the purpose of solidifying role identification as the interviewed character, to allow it to interpret its own role in the dreamer’s waking and dream experience. These questions are, “My strengths are…,” “My weaknesses or limitations are…,” “The aspects of (this dreamer) that I most closely personify are…,” “The reason why I am in this dream is…”[12]

In the next section, entitled, “What Surprises Me About What I Have Heard Is…,”the subject is invited to step out of role and to assess what has been said so far. The purpose is an initial integration of the multiple perspectives with which the subject has identified to this point.

The next Commentary, called the Dream Commentary, asks each character, “If I could change the dream (or life issue) in any way, would I change it? If so, how?” The purpose of this question is to problem solve in metaphorical terms. Assuming that our dreams and life issues depict issues related to our development, what are alternative ways that those issues might best be approached? The “why” of these metaphorical depictions is addressed later, but for now, it is enough to collect the proposed revised “dreams” suggested by the various interviewed characters.

The Dreamageis a rewritten dream based on consensus recommendations of interviewed characters, as taken from the Dream Commentary. If there is no consensus, there can be no Dreamage. If everyone is happy with the dream or life issue the way it is, then it functions as its own Dreamage. The purpose of the dreamage is to provide a metaphorical statement of integration, expressed in a narrative or story that is assumed to make sense to the particular interviewed intrasocial group, since it is a consensus production by them. The further purpose is to use the Dreamage as a pre-sleep suggestion to amplify or affirm an intention of integration that is based not on our waking priorities but on consensus priorities that therefore represent a higher order integration than that of our waking identity alone.

The Waking Commentaryprovides interviewed characters an opportunity to say how they would deal with our lives if they were in charge and how they would handle our three life issues. They also have the opportunity to share what life issues they would focus on if they were in charge of our lives. These answers are often eye-opening. It is not unusual for issues that are central to us to suddenly seem irrelevant or digressions from more central issues. It is also not unusual to find an obvious but different approach that allows us to either resolve or move into a state of inner peace regarding the issue.

The Identification Commentaryasks each character if there are times when it would recommend that the subject become it and act in situations as it would? For example, an interviewed garbage can might recommend becoming it when you find yourself getting into drama with co-workers, because by doing so you can “put your drama in the trash” and not be bothered by it.

These various Commentaries together provide us with masses of interpretive data from sources that are most likely to know: those perspectives that are actually embedded in our dreams, nightmares, and life issues. There is no claim that any of these are Truth, and obviously, our ability to get into role is determined by our experience, state of mind, and other factors.

These Commentaries are followed by interpretive assessments by the subject as an answer to the question, “If this experience were a wake-up call from your life compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?”[13]

This is followed by the listing of recommendations that characters made in the course of the interview.

Subsequently, those recommendations which the subject wishes to act upon or test are operationalized in the Action Plan. The role of an Integral Deep Listening teacher, therapist, or coach is to provide an accountability structure to support the application of those interview recommendations that the student or client wishes to implement in their life. In addition, IDL coaches conduct follow-up interviews as well as ask previously interviewed characters for advice, guidance and feedback about the ongoing implementation of action plans.

Other Commentaries elaborate the depiction of intrasocial relationships in the Dream Sociogram, explained in detail in Understanding the Dream Sociogram(Dillard, 2018b).

An example of a completed Dream Sociomatrix is pictured at the beginning of this essay. The various Commentaries with their elaborations are below. Other examples are available at


Three life issues I am currently dealing with are:

Controlling news and sugar addictions!

Improved dream recall/recording

Deeper, more regular meditation


I am looking under an elevated, square building, raised on posts. The building is Palestinian, and Israelis have planted vines underneath it that are meant to give cover for snipers to attack the building. There is an attempt to combat this by moving the vines, or only allowing them to be planted, outside the footprint of the building, with the idea apparently that they will then provide some sort of protection for the building when grown there.

Title: Targeted Building
Sociomatrix Commentary

Have each character element state its preferences toward the other dream elements. “The reason I like, (like a lot, love, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, don’t care about, or am non-attached toward) element name is…”

Follow up questions: “What I liked/disliked most about being in this dream is…”

For characters with internal ambivalence (the preference expressed toward themselves is conflicted) ask: Why do these interviewed characters not like themselves? Why do I not like myself in this life situation? What can I do to like myself more in this life situation? If I cannot realistically like myself in this situation, how can I move toward a more neutral assessment of my role in this situation?

Dream Self:

  • Likes “Dream Self” because: I am curious and interested in issues of safety and justice.
  • Likes “Building” because: it is interesting. There is no water around, so that is not the reason for its elevation. I see no access to its interior from the ground. The building appears to be of recent construction, in good shape.
  • Likes “Posts” because: they create roominess, spaciousness, visibility, and a sense of contact with nature in cities or areas where buildings normally interfere with such things. They are round and non-angular, unlike the mass of the raided building.
  • Likes “raised” because: for the above reasons.
  • Likes “Vines” because: they provide greenery, softness and beauty to the hard and angular lines of the building.
  • Hates “Snipers” because: they’re assassins, murderers, state criminals, terrorists.
  • Likes “move” because: when these plants are moved, they create protection for this building
  • Loves “protection” because: safety is a foundation for growth


  • Likes “Dream Self” because: he’s concerned about my welfare.
  • Likes a lot “Building” because: I am solid, well-built, and provide useful services.
  • Likes “Posts” because: they raise me above the ground, the mundane.
  • Likes a lot “raised” because: more elevated, I have a better view and also can provide those who use me with a better view
  • Likes a lot “Vines” because: they soften my lines, provide me with nature, and in some way I don’t understand, provide protection.
  • Hates “Snipers” because: they are dangerous! What are they doing here! They could kill the people in me and destroy me!
  • Likes a lot “move” because: moving these plants is meant to protect me in some way
  • Likes a lot “protection” because: safety is fundamental to life, growth, happiness


  • Likes “Dream Self” because: he’s paying attention to us and appreciating us!
  • Likes a lot “Building” because: it gives us purpose! We are doing something useful by supporting something useful!
  • Likes a lot “Posts” because: of the same: We are doing something useful by supporting something useful!
  • Likes a lot “raised” because: we give this building an unusual feel and visibility, both from inside out and for those around it, outside.
  • Likes a lot “Vines” because: they are a source of nature and somehow, are meant to add protection.
  • Hates “Snipers” because: they are a danger to my building!
  • Likes a lot “move” because: this moving of these plants is in some way protective of me.
  • Loves “protection” because: it makes everything else possible.


  • Likes a lot “Dream Self” because: he appreciates us, our purpose, and this building, even though he doesn’t understand how we are protective, or even if we are – he just thinks that!
  • Likes a lot “Building” because: we belong to it and around it. We are its keepers. It’s our job to look after it.
  • Loves “Posts” because: they give us room to grow under our building!
  • Loves “raised” because: we become visible and a part of this building because now we have room to grow!
  • Likes a lot “Vines” because: we are alive, healthy, green, natural, and protective!
  • Hates “Snipers” because: they are everything we are not. They stand for death, not for life, for fear, not for trust and growth; there’s nothing natural about them. They destroy; they don’t protect. It is paradoxical that their attempt to camouflage their attack with vines supports the cause they are attempting to destroy.
  • Likes a lot “move” because: I am being protective and supportive!
  • Likes a lot “protection” because: because to protect is to support, so everyone can do their work, live their lives, and grow!


  • Has no preference for “Dream Self” because: He is not involved in this dream; he is a disembodied bystander.
  • Dislikes a lot “Building” because: it houses our enemies, the Palestinians.
  • Dislikes a lot “Posts” because: they support this building, which belongs to and houses our enemies, the Palestinians
  • Dislikes a lot “raised” because: it gives this Palestinian building prominence and therefore publicity.
  • Dislikes a lot “Vines” because: they have some sort of protective function for this building and therefore for our enemies. They are alive and natural, rather than dead and unnatural. We did not think about all of that when we put them around the building, or we wouldn’t have done it!
  • Likes a lot “Snipers” because: we are defending our country, values, beliefs, and people.
  • Dislikes a lot “move” because: it shows these vines have the ability to adapt and be protective of our enemies
  • Hates “protection” because: it counters and defeats our wishes to bring down our enemies.

Have Dream Consciousness state its preferences toward the other dream elements. “The reason I like, (like a lot, love, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, don’t care about, or am non-attached toward) element name is…” 

Dream Consciousness:

  • Likes a lot “Dream Self” because: he is paying attention to my production!
  • Likes a lot “Building” because: it is protecting these Palestinians and raising their cause in public consciousness
  • Likes a lot “Posts” because: they are the mechanism by which the cause of those anywhere whose human rights need protection is raised in consciousness.
  • Likes a lot “raised” because: it promotes justice, respect, and reciprocity, values I strongly support.
  • Likes a lot “Vines” because: they provide natural support and protection, a growing, alive aid if not solution
  • Likes/Dislikes a lot “Snipers” because: they have a function in the dream; they are necessary. however, I dislike a lot that they are repressing and disrespecting the human rights of others.
  • Likes a lot “move” because: it shows the ability of life to naturally respond in a positive, protective way to threat.
  • Loves “protection” because: it allows growth through stability and balance. With these, in time the forces of stability, balance, harmony, and justice win out.

Have Dream Consciousness state: “What I like most about creating this dream is…” and “What I dislike most about creating this dream is…”

I am supporting Joseph’s efforts to stand up for human rights and justice and illustrating metaphorically how the battle is won.

Have Each Character answer the following questions:
  1. My strengths are…
  2. My weaknesses or limitations are…
  3. The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are…
  4. The reason why I am in this dream is…

Dream Self: My strengths are that I have the ability to watch, learn, and involve myself when and where I think it can make a positive difference, and stay detached when I don’t know or do not believe it will help.  My weaknesses or limitations are that sometimes I don’t get involved when I need to and at others I get involved due to reactivity and ignorance.  The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are his waking perspectives and world view. The reason why I am in this dream is to educate myself, my waking perspective about the perspectives of imbedded elements, particularly Dream Consciousness and various emerging potentials.

Building: My strengths are that I am sturdy, large, and elevated. My weaknesses or limitations are that I am not natural. I would like to be natural, like these vines. The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are the noospheric realm in which the battle for justice and human rights is largely waged. It is a rational and abstract realm. The reason why I am in this dream is to represent the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause.

Posts: My strengths are that we are strong and do our job of both raising and supporting. My weaknesses or limitations are that we are not natural. We would prefer to be stone rather than concrete pillars. The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are the foundations of his assumptions about the rights of Palestinians.  The reason why I am in this dream is to validate the strength of his assumptions, but nevertheless to imply that they could be stronger if they were more rooted in nature.

Vines: My strengths are our naturalness and our ability to grow quickly and anywhere. We overwhelm both natural and unnatural obstacles and objects wherever we want to, given enough uninterrupted time. We are multiple and we are strong and persistent. We are not easy to kill or eliminate. My weaknesses or limitations are that perhaps we are not as fast as one would like. The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are his naturalness, particularly his emerging potentials and his life compass. The more he embraces these the stronger his protection, defenses, and ability to overwhelm obstacles of all sorts becomes.  The reason why I am in this dream is to awaken him to this reality, that the more he identifies with me the less he has to fight and the more he naturally overwhelms obstacles to a natural harmony and balance.

Snipers: My strengths are that I have vast potential for effective violence. My weaknesses or limitations are that this is short term; it cannot be easily maintained. It is quickly exhausted and overwhelmed. The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are his ability to act decisively in unnatural and powerful ways that may be useful or effective but generally are ineffective in the long term because they are unnatural and require great resources to sustain. The reason why I am in this dream is to contrast unnatural and relatively aggressive approaches to relatively natural and peaceful approaches to problem solving.

Have Dream Consciousness answer the following questions:
  1. My strengths are…
  2. My weaknesses or limitations are…
  3. The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are…
  4. The reason why I created this dream is…
  5. This dream group came together to…

Dream Consciousness: My strengths are my ability to portray life issues in ways that are metaphorical, yet specific and concrete, that can be applied to specific real life issues. My weaknesses or limitations are that what I am communicating is rarely obvious to waking consciousness; it has to suspend its perspectives and take up various alternative perspectives to grasp my world view and recommendations.  The aspects of Joseph that I most closely personify are his life compass. The reason why I created this dream is to amplify the differences between unsustainable unnatural and violent approaches to problem solving and relatively sustainable, natural, and peaceful approaches, using the analogy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  This dream group came together to…

What surprises me about what I have heard is….

That this is about how I approach problem solving in general, using the Israeli-Palestinian situation as a metaphor because it is often on my mind and therefore a framing that I understand.

Have each dream character answer “If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it?”  “If so, how?”

Dream Self: I would support the cultivation and spread of the vines and the transformation of the building into stone covered with these vines.

Building: I agree. I would prefer to be all natural, of stone, and covered with these vines.

Posts: I agree. I would like to be made of stone and covered with these vines.

Vines: I would like to cover everything, including these snipers and their area!

Snipers: We would like this building and its occupants to disappear. We want to control these vines.

Dream Consciousness: We would like the vines to cover the building as well, and ideally, for there to be a garden, or a variety of plants, not just vines, that produce benefits for both Israelis and Palestinians so that they have cause to cooperate and build something mutually beneficial.


Rewrite the dream based on a consensus of dream group member recommendations.  If there is no consensus, there can be no dreamage.

There is no dreamage possible because there is no agreement among the interviewed characters.

Waking Commentary

Ask each element the following question:

  • If you were in charge of Joseph’s life, would you live it differently? If so, how?

Dream Self: I would do more interviews to get more in touch with this natural approach to problem solving through identification with Dream Consciousness and its surrogates.

Building: I would be of stone and covered with vines, meaning his mental world, his world of reasoning and noospheric problem solving, will become increasingly melded with natural patterns of homeostasis, harmony, balance, and autopoiesis.

Posts: We would encourage him to continue to stand tall, to support and speak out strongly for those issues that he feels strongly about, because he has a good sense of direction, purpose, and priorities. We also encourage him to do what he can to identify more strongly with the perspectives of Dream Consciousness because metaphorically, that is turning us into stone and covering us with vines.

Vines: We agree with posts. We want to continue and expand our protective function, and cover this building and overwhelm this aggressive approach to dealing with perceived threats of all sorts. However, we are preliminary to turning this entire area into a magnificent garden.

Snipers: We are always necessary when decisive, powerful, but short-term intervention or action is required, but we are generally, reactive, fear-based, and out of harmony with natural flows. So while we have our purposes, they are generally unnecessary and misused.

Ask each element the following question:
  • If you were in charge of Joseph’s life, would you have the same issues or different ones? If different, what would they be?

Dream Self: He is already doing better on the news, mostly by doing better at addressing non-news priorities. That is, in fact the answer. The news is not the problem; the problem was it was crowding out other priorities. As long as he addresses those, the news is not such an issue.   Regarding improved dream recall and recording, simply by raising it in his awareness over the last few weeks by making it a life issue his recall and recording has increased to a satisfactory level. So this is also taking care of itself. The key is increased awareness, and the process of creating Dream Sociometric interviews accomplishes this purpose. Meditations have also been improving and deepening. It feels as if these issues are already taking care of themselves.

Building: I agree with Dream Self. Addictions tend to take care of themselves when you focus on purposes and directions that are authentic and meaningful. That’s what you are doing. Regarding dream recall, keep on course! You’re doing great! Regarding meditation, these interviews are strengthening meditative consciousness as a background awareness for all activities, including meditation, which means that all become deeper and richer.

Posts: Remember to focus on elevation without elevationism. This is natural, not noospheric or mental elevation. You want it to be grounded and grow out of the priorities of your life compass. This is happening. Regarding dream recall, you have more than enough material to work on! Ha ha! Regarding meditation, we are not concerned about this. Continue to focus on expanding your identification with the perspectives of your life compass through doing interviews and following those recommendations that make sense to you.

Vines: We see you naturally outgrowing your previous issues through our cultivation. This is a big deal. We can and will provide the protection, naturalness, and neutralization of opposition that you need.

Snipers: We are good defenses against addictions if you will use us as such. We can keep them from progressing; we can control them. We can also defend you against various forms of attack. Simply knowing that you have us as resources will boost your confidence and your willingness to stand up for what you believe.

Identification Commentary
  • Would there be times in Joseph’s daily life, such as with partner, at work, while dreaming, during meditation, while exercising, when cooking or showering, when you would recommend he/she becomes you and acts as you would? If so, when?

Building: Your noospheric or thought-world of reasoning and problem-solving is strong and capable. You are making it increasingly natural and gaining a sense that it is naturally protected against threat. Become me when you want to feel rock-solid and check to see if your ideas are supported by your life compass or not.

Posts: Become us when you want to check to see if your approach is authentically elevated above the concerns of your everyday mind and your sociocultural scripting.

Vines: Become us when you want to grow organically, as a powerful process of self-renewal that is also self-protective, and which has an intelligence and life of its own.

Snipers: Become us on those rare occasions when you don’t want or need to put up with any shit, either from others or from your own mind. We can back down most anything or anyone.

Dream Consciousness: You have a broad range of support and growth possibilities here at your disposal. You can become me when you want to see the big picture and internalize it, to grasp important perspectives that otherwise you overlook or miss.

Thank you, characters!

Now here are several questions for your human that created this Dream Sociomatrix:

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

Never think you understand a dream. It is only through going through a process of interviewing multiple perspectives, such as in this interviewing process, that you can come to a broad, adequate perspective. Similarly, never think you understand another person or a waking life situation. If it is confusing or blocking for you, you need to interview its various elements so you can gain perspectives that transcend polarization and grasp the bigger picture, because it is only from such perspectives that you are able to make decisions that are balanced and pass the tests of time.

What recommendations did you hear the characters make? List them here:

Continue as is with dealing with news, diet, dream recall, and meditation.

Move beyond perceptions of interior and world conflict by accessing forces of organic, natural growth that generate harmony and balance in integrative ways.

Do regular interviewing of both dreams and life issues to hasten the alignment of your waking identity with the priorities of your life compass.

Action Plan

Are there any you want to act on? If so, how will anyone know if anything has changed? What will be different?

As I do more interviews the feedback I get will tell me if I am on course or not. In terms of feedback from others, am I more helpful? Is the feedback I give them more useful, relevant, and helpful or not? Am I able to avoid drama and “tar baby” situations more easily and often? Am I able to do a better job of not reacting and making situations worse instead of better?

How can you measure your progress daily or weekly to see if there has been change?

I can observe how I am doing with crowding out my addictions with focus on priorities that are in alignment with those suggested by interviewed emerging potentials.

I can observe how well I do at staying out of drama and maintaining my peace of mind.

I can solicit the feedback of others regarding how they experience the quality of my presence and helpfulness.

Applications of Dream Sociometry

Obviously, a single interview opens up a vast variety of resources for personal development. Rather than offering their own interpretations of the process, the teacher, therapist, or coach next reads back the interview to the student as if these were things they were saying to themselves, about who they are and how they live their lives. Obviously, some interpretation is required to change and adapt the language, but the impact is generally remarkable. Students and clients hear their own truth mirrored back in a powerful and profound way that makes sense to them. Subsequently, the coach or therapist can add their own interpretations, but the focus remains on helping the client integrate and apply what they have heard.

As indicated above, Dream Sociometry, and its one-character interviewing variant, the IDL dream and life issue interviewing protocols, have been used with good results to deal with a wide variety of issues. Some of these are traditional therapeutic issues of anxiety, depression, gender and relationship issues, insomnia, addiction, and pain management. Others involve a less traditional focus on taking subjects to the “next step” in their development by getting them in touch with emerging potentials that are innate and attempting to be born within them. This work results in a sense of inner alignment, balance, and inner peace.

One application of Dream Sociometry to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder involved a young man who was attacked by two watch dogs when he came to open the place of business one morning. Someone had not locked them in their kennel the night before. One of the dogs grabbed him around the neck with its jaws and he thought he was going to die. He could not shake the recurrent nightmares and related symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that haunted him: heighted reactivity and arousal of the sympathetic branch of his autonomic nervous system, nightmare reenactment imagery encroaching into his waking life, insomnia, anxiety, withdrawal, and moodiness.

Interviewing of characters in this repeated nightmare/life issue, including the dogs, their pen, the store, and his neck generated reductions in anxiety, fewer nightmares, and dreams that told us we were on the right track. For instance, in one dream he was walking down the street accompanied by a dog from his childhood, which was in a protective role. The fact that he could now not only experience himself safe in the presence of a dog but that dog had a guardian role was taken as a statement that his work at assimilating the perspectives of other characters in his life drama, through his interviewing of them, was resolving an overwhelming life panic. In fact, his PTSD symptoms, including his pervasive fear of dogs, went away and did not return.

In another example, a lady in Israel had PTSD for several years, with recurrent nightmares bleeding into waking mentation, due to a terrorist attack in which terrorists broke into her home at night. By interviewing her home, the weapons involved, and the terrorist, she was able to eliminate her nightmares and her symptoms of anxiety.

To experience creating a Dream Sociomatrix, go to “Dream Sociometry Interviewing Instructions” under “Questionnaires” at IntegralDeepListening.Com.

We are currently looking for both subjects for research in PTSD as well as for those with phobias and mild head injuries. Those clinicians who are interested in serving as co-authors in such studies can contact the author.[14]


Dillard, J., (2010) http://integraldeeplistening.com/idl-resources/questionnaires/, IntegralDeepListening.Com.

Dillard, J., (2012) Waking Up: Using Integral Deep Listening to Transform Your Life. Deep Listening Pub., Berlin.IDL also emphasizes goal setting, behavioral monitoring and communication skills.

Dillard, J. (2013) Integral Deep Listening Interviewing Techniques.Deep Listening Pub., Berlin.

Dillard, J. Dream Sociodrama. The Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy: Spring 2017, Vol. 65, No. 1, pp. 73-84.

Dillard, J. (2018a)Dream Sociometry: A Multi-Perspectival Path to the Transpersonal.London: Routledge.

Dillard, J., (2018b). Understanding the Dream Sociogram, London: Routledge.

Hale, Ann E., (2012) Three Cyclical Models Which Enhance Interpersonal Connection.Self Published

Hale, Ann E. (1985) Conducting Clinical Sociometric Explorations: a manual for psychodramatists and sociometrists. Roanoke, VA, Royal Publishing Co.

Hale, Ann E. and Donna Little (2005) Sociometric Processing of Action Events,  rev ed  Toronto, TCPS.

Hollander, Carl E., (1980’s?) An Introduction to Sociogram Construction. Monograph.

Jennings, H.H. 1987. Sociometry in Group Relations. 2nd ed. Westport: Greenwood


Maheshwari, V.K., Introduction to Sociometry. July 1, 2011.


Moreno, J. L. (1934) Who Shall Survive? Foundations of Sociometry, Group Psychotherapy and Sociodrama. Beacon House.

Moreno, Jacob Levy (1951). Sociometry, Experimental Method and the Science of Society: An Approach to a New Political Orientation. Beacon House.

Simmons, Daniela (2017) Implementing Sociometry in a Long-Term Care Institutional Setting for the Elderly: Exploring Social Relationships and Choices.The Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry, and Group Psychotherapy: Spring 2017, Vol. 65, No. 1, pp. 85-98.

Wilber, K., The Integral Approach: A Short Introduction by Ken Wilber, eBook, 2013

Williams, Antony. Forbidden Agendas – Strategic Action In Groups. Routledge. pp. 127–8. ISBN 0-415-04402-2.

[1]For information about IDL see IntegralDeepListening.Com.

[2]The word “yoga” has a much broader meaning within the Hindu tradition in which it originated than is commonly understood in the West. In addition to referring to

[3]For an explanation of the Dream Sociogram, see Dillard, J., (2018). Understanding the Dream Sociogram, London: Routledge.

[4]This is not to imply that life is illusory, but that it contains more or less the same degree of reality that we experience while we are dreaming. In that state, we may be unaware that we are dreaming, in which case our experience is real, or we may wake up, to one degree or another, in one way or another, into states of relative lucidity while remaining asleep and dreaming. These are states of increased objectivity or witnessing, in which we retroflect and recognize the relativity of our assumptions about ourselves and reality that are based on our habitual waking perspective, which we now understand to be one of an unlimited variety of possible world views.

[5]“Transpersonal,” meaning “beyond the personal,” or “transcending the personal,” is not a metaphysical concept for Integral Deep Listening. It does not make assumptions about spirit, spirituality, deity, or non-physical existence. Instead, it uses “transpersonal” in the sense of expanding a developed and healthy sense of self to include increasingly wider circles of empathy.

[6]Wilber, K.,The Integral Approach: A Short Introduction by Ken Wilber, eBook, 2013. The difference between cognitive and experiential approaches and multi-perspectivalism is important. Cognitive approaches expand our world view to include multiple world views. Experiential approaches expand the self that holds world views. Instead of simply understanding and honoring multiple world views, experiential multi-perspectivalism detaches our self-sense from any and all world views, including multi-perspectival ones. The result is not cognitive relativism, as a manifestation of post-modernism, but an ability to assume a variety of different world views, depending on which is most effective. We are no longer prisoners of any one world view, even that of multi-perspectivalism.

[7]Dillard, J. http://www.dreamyoga.com/the-socratic-method-and-integral-deep-listening/.

[8]For the relationship between phenomenology and IDL, see http://www.dreamyoga.com/idl-and-the-phenomenological-perspective/Lucidity is clarity, and it is associated with non-reactivity and the reduction of various scripted and cognitive filters that stand between ourselves, life, and hearing others in a deep and integral way. There are multiple forms of lucidity, some of which are discussed at DreamYoga.Com.

[9]Dillard, J. (2013) Ending Nightmares for Good. Berlin: Deep Listening Publishing.

[10]While an inability to take the role of another is a well-documented indication of personality disorder, it may be that the practice of repeated requests for role identification, a characteristic of Dream Sociometry, may cultivate empathy in those with personality disorders.

[11]Our waking perspective is referred to as “Dream Self” because in dreams and nightmares, while it reflects the perspective of our waking identity that thinks it is awake, this self can die, resurrect, transmogrify, fly, and in various other ways defy laws of time, space, and causality in ways we typically do not in our waking life.

[12]“Dream” is used in a generic sense to refer not only to sleep productions but to the dramas of our life issues.

[13]The concept of “Life Compass” is explained in Dillard, J. (2012) Waking Up, Berlin: Deep Listening Press, and Dillard, J. (2014), Integral Deep Listening: Accessing Your Inner Compass. Berlin: Deep Listening Press.


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