Interviewing 103: Testing the Method and Accountability

How Do You Know if Interviewing is Working for You?

To know if pursuing the IDL Curriculum is worthwhile you have to test it in your life. If you do so and find it useful and helpful for yourself and others, you will make it your own and it will become part of who you are and what you naturally share with others. However, if you don’t test it, IDL will never become authentic for you and you will have more difficulty sharing it, because it won’t come from your heart. In that case, move on – do something more authentic for you! 

How do you test IDL? Interviewing accompanies each module of the Coaching, Practitioner, and Trainer tracks because that is how you check out your own beliefs, knowledge, and behavior with what is authentic for you and your path forward for your life. Interviewing is designed to integrate what you learn about scripting, drama, thinking, goal setting, assertiveness, problem solving, meditation, pranayama, and setting intent into who you authentically are. Head knowledge is translated into heart knowingness. 

In every interview, characters make recommendations regarding life issues that are important to you. You are free to choose one or more recommendation, follow them, and see what happens. Are you happier? Do you have more peace of mind? Does some issue become less important or fade into the background of your experience? Do you have a better sense of how to deal with it? Does your life change for the better? 

In order to know, you have to apply a recommendation over a period of time and track your results. That takes discipline, persistence, and for most of us, the support of others. This is why IDL is a dream yoga and why we study in teams. Yogas are transpersonal disciplines and life practices that require persistence in application, just like learning anything else if we want to be good at it. This is particularly true with changing life issues, because where we are stuck in our lives often reflects ingrained habits of thinking, drama, and scripting. To expect these to change overnight or in one week or month is unrealistic. That is a reason why we need to do ongoing interviewing, to build internal support, what IDL calls your “intrasocial Sangha,” and it is why we need the support of others, like your team, with which you progress through your coursework. 

  Build Trust, Confidence, Credibility

Interviewing builds trust in strange places. When an imaginary toothbrush or penguin gives helpful advice, what does that do to your trust in the imaginary? When you experience interviewed perspectives of aspects of yourself, and they prove trustworthy, isn’t that likely to increase your trust in yourself? When you test recommendations made by those interviewed characters in your life and they bring greater health, balance, or transformation, isn’t that likely to increase your trust in the method? 

Regarding confidence, we start off life with a false confidence. We don’t know what we don’t know. The Dunning-Kruger effect, a cognitive bias, states that based on ignorance, we tend to overestimate our ability and underestimate how difficult it is to achieve competence in some area, like a sport or mastering a musical instrument. This is not all bad, since if we knew just what would be required of us to attain our goal we might not attempt it at all. But not knowing how complicated language is, children pick it up bit by bit, and naturally build confidence in their language skills. 

Because a fundamental script message we all receive is “Gain control,” and “Stay in control,” we can develop a superficial and false confidence based on maintaining the appearance that we have control and are in control. As a consequence, we tend to ignore our limitations, mistakes, and failures and build on our strengths and successes. The disadvantage is that we tend to ignore our limitations, mistakes, and failures and build on our strengths and successes! We build on our strengths while being less likely to learn from our mistakes and ignoring our weaknesses, thereby generating a personality and life that is out of balance. 

IDL provides a means of developing an authentic, genuine confidence that is based neither on ignorance or on a need to maintain control. As we identify with interviewed perspectives that are not afraid in ways that we are we gradually internalize greater confidence and outgrow fear-based assumptions and reactions. For example, my wife Claudia had a number of close calls in airplanes, including a crash landing when the landing gear wouldn’t deploy. She overcame a subsequent fear of flying with the help of a very confident imaginary raven who joked about her fears when they arose and who also gave her common sense reasons why her fears were not realistic.  

Testing the Methodology

That is an example of how students of IDL go about testing it. Does getting in touch with relatively non-scripted perspectives reduce our capture by unquestioned script assumptions left over from our childhood? Do we find ourselves less seduced into toxic drama? Are we more responsive instead of emotionally reactive? Is our ability to catch, question, and outgrow our emotional cognitive distortions, cognitive biases, and logical fallacies improved? Do we set SMARTER goals (Specific, Measurable or meaningful, Attainable/achievable, Realistic/relevant, Time-bound, Evaluated, Revised) more often and have more success at attaining them? Do they move out of passivity and aggression and into assertiveness? Do they find meditation more meaningful and relevant to their lives? Do they discover a useful method to use their breath to balance their mood and lives? Do they move into clearer intent that directs their goal setting, mood, worldview, and relationships with others? D

These things may prove true for us, but are they true for our students and clients? We help them find out for themselves by helping them set up systems of accountability regarding the recommendations that they choose to implement and test. In addition, we find out by looking at progress by groups of students and clients across different populations, doing an analysis as a team, and publishing our findings so those results can be reviewed and critiqued by therapists, teachers, parents, the military, and others who have a strong investment in helping their children, friends, or clients heal, balance, and transform. 

  Testing Individual Characters

During the interview process, interviewers naturally have questions, doubts, or confusion from time to time. We may have a burning interpretation that we are sure is a correct understanding of what is going on or what a character is saying. Is it correct? How do we know? Instead of assuming our interpretation is correct, ask the character about it: “Pumice, are you telling I need to stop and cool off before I respond when I feel attacked?”  “Magpie, are you telling me I need to spend less time on social media and get more exercise?” This is why the interviewing protocols have, as a standard question, “(Character), you are imaginary. Why should I believe anything you have said to me?” This is an example of challenging the validity and authority of any interviewed emerging potential. IDL does not assume that even ascended Masters, visitations by deceased relatives, or elements in near death or mystical experiences are ipso facto authoritative or to be believed. This is because anything authentically transpersonal is built on a foundation of healthy questioning: Is the information relevant? Is it helpful? Is it factual? How do I know?

  Collecting, Building, and Using Your Intrasocial Sangha

“Sangha” is a Buddhist word meaning “spiritual community.” Within that context it refers to the collective of monks in a monastery. IDL has appropriated this useful concept to refer to two communities that IDL intends to generate, your community of fellow students of IDL, beginning with your study team, as well as your interior yet social, or “intrasocial” community of characters, perspectives, emerging potentials, and worldviews that you have interviewed and found helpful or useful. 

IDL teaches you how keeps track of who or what has been interviewed and what it recommends, whether you have implemented this or that recommendation and if so, what has been your outcome. 

How Do You Stay On Track?

The recommendations that you receive in interviews about your life issues are often subjective and vague. For example, perhaps an interviewed velociraptor tells you “not to react.” How do you “operationalize” that recommendation? What does it mean not to react? In what situations? How do you monitor your progress? For example, your answers might be, “I won’t attack or respond defensively when I feel attacked by (my spouse).” “I will monitor it by creating a weekly grid and make a check each day I don’t react.”

Daily Recommendation/Application Tracking Chart

Character/Recommendation Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Snowball: Chill out when criticized √ √ √√√√ √√ √√√
Cactus: Avoid engaging prickly people  √√ √√√√ √√√
Gila Monster: Maintain peace of mind 7 3 3 6 2 7 4
Velociraptor: “Don’t react.”

To monitor your progress and help you stay on track, IDL also uses the SMARTER formula. SMARTER stands for:

Specific: What is it that you want to change? What will you do or think that will be different?

For example, if a can of tomato sauce recommends that you become it when you feel lonely. Do you remember to do so when you feel lonely? How do you remember? How do you know if you are more lonely or not? How much? 

“Three times a day I will ask myself, “How lonely do I feel?” I will give my loneliness a score between 0 and 10, with zero being “not at all” and ten being “feeling super lonely.” “I will then become the can of tomato sauce and see if my score is lower, higher, or stays the same.” 

Or, if an interviewed groundhog recommends meditation for stress management, you might decide, 

“I will manage my stress by practicing naming meditation, naming my thoughts, feelings, and sensations, as I become aware of them. I’ll just do this for a little while, three times a day. I can set timers on my phone to remind me to do so.” 

Measurable or meaningful: How will you measure your application of your recommendations? We have found that two different types of measurement cover most recommendations: 1) A quantitative change: “Did I do it or not?” Just use a check mark whenever you remember to enact the recommendation. √,  If you remember five times in one day you would give yourself five check marks. 2) “How much did I do?” This is a qualitative change, such as “How empathetic was I today?” Or, “Remembered not to take things personally.” These sorts of recommendations require a rating on a scale. Use a zero to ten scale with zero meaning less and ten meaning “a lot” or “the most.”

For example, “I will meditate once a day using naming meditation for at least three minutes, for starters. Meditating is something I find value in as it helps to manage my stress.”

Attainable/achievable: Be kind to yourself! If you do a lot of interviews you can easily get overloaded with recommendations. That reduces your chance for success with any one of them. Remember: quality over quantity! So feel free to “retire” recommendations or to choose not to enact some that are calling out to you. However, if recommendations reappear over multiple interviews, that is a sign that they are particularly important for your emerging potentials and your development away from scripting, drama, and delusion and toward greater balance and transformation. 

For example, “If I feel criticized it is easy for me to chill out by becoming the snowball.” Or, “Using naming meditation is easy because I can do it anytime I have a thought, feeling, or sensation. Meditating once a day is a reasonable amount given my schedule. I can do it in the shower, while cooking, eating, in a vehicle, or getting ready to go to sleep.”

Realistic/relevant: Realistic recommendations are those that are bite-sized and simple enough to allow follow-through without major hassle. Most recommendations will be relevant because they will be tied to life issues that are already meaningful for you.

For example,  You know who the “prickly,” or highly sensitive and reactive people are in your life.” Or, you know what “buttons” to push to set your friends and family members off in a prickly way. Maybe it’s because you bring up certain subjects; maybe it’s because you forget to clean the kitchen. You might decide, “I will associate those people and situations with a nice, prickly teddy bear jumping cactus.” (These are like cockleburs from cholla cactus that are really hard to get off if they “jump” on you.). Or, “I feel confident that I can keep up with this meditation plan because it is only once a day and for a short amount of time. It is relevant to my goal of managing stress.”

Time bound:  Ask yourself, “What is the minimal amount of time commitment each day, each week, for how many weeks, in order to determine whether this recommendation I am testing heals, balances, or transforms my life in some way? 

For example: “To test the recommendation of the Gila Monster that I develop inner peace, I will meditate every day for the next (four) weeks.”

Evaluate: IDL views charting of your application every night before sleep as the most important evaluation because it serves as a pre-sleep suggestion to impact your dreams in a positive way. You are building a relationship of mutual respect with your emerging potentials. Your night-time dreams will take that and build on it, whether you remember them or not. 

  In addition to pre-sleep evaluations, put in your calendar a date when you are going to go back and re-read the related interview and ask yourself, “What, if anything, has changed?” If so, why? If not, why not?

Whatever the recommendations you choose are, put them into a form where both you and others can tell if there really has been some improvement or not. If you don’t have evidence, why should you trust the method?



Major characteristics


SMARTER plan implemented


Date Interview Name Character Characteristics Recommendations SMARTER Plan Implemented Result

For example: “At the end of the four weeks, I will reflect on my progress.”

Revise: With IDL, revision happens automatically, in the form of new interviews and recommendations coming down the pike. But be careful! Don’t let them distract you from discipline and perseverance! It is easy for a banquet of interviews and recommendation to create psychic indigestion if they are not assimilated! When that happens you can burn out on the process, simply because your application has not kept up with your interviewing. The tendency can be to become an “interview dilettante,” with a cognitive practice that lacks heart, passion, and commitment. 

Character Recommendation SMARTER Plan:

Character Recommendation Specific Measurable/Meaningful Attainable Relevant Time Evaluate Revise

For example, “If I find that I can’t commit to this goal, I will change it and try a different plan for the next four weeks.” One of the great things about doing multiple interviews is that you receive multiple recommendations that are relevant to your life. What this means is that if you burn out on one you can switch to another. By all means, track your progress with implementation, but make it fun by experimenting and switching. If you burn out on a recommendation, don’t feel bad! I do it all the time! If it’s important, it will resurface in a future interview, probably reframed in a way that makes more sense to you and you can tackle it again. Be persistent with the overall program but don’t get self-critical if you don’t follow through with specific recommendations. That’s normal. Be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances. 

Start off slow! Just pick one recommendation from one interview and talk to your team members about 

  1. how you want to track your application of the recommendation you pick?

        Chart your progress for the day before you go to sleep?

        Do you need to use a √ for measuring quantity (like say, remembering to become the Snowball), or a 0-10 scale for measuring quality, or do you want to use some other method?

2) what sort of accountability do you think you need from your team?

     How often do you need to report back to them?

     Perhaps you may need someone on your team to message you and rattle your chain?

     What sorts of application reminders do you want to set up on you mobile phone or calendar?

Expect resistance to change! It’s natural! Parts of you have an investment in maintaining the status quo!

Remember that it’s always a good thing to talk with your team about any resistances or obstacles that arise and problem solve together about what to do about them. One fun option is to get in touch with the feeling of your resistance, allow it to take a shape, and interview it!

Common Recommendations

There are some suggestions for application that come up again and again in interviews, implying that they are “low hanging fruit” to help you remember and apply whatever recommendations you choose to test in your life. 

  • Become the character in specific circumstances or at specific times. For example, a fox that you interviewed recommends that you become it whenever you get stuck in trying to solve some problem, or a toothbrush recommends you become it whenever you need to do but don’t want to do, like get up or carry out the garbage.
  • Find or create visual representations as reminders. For example, paint or draw a picture of your new Sangha member and post it where it will remind you: above your bed, on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator or next to the TV, or on the dash of your car. Find a representation of it on Google Images and then put it on your desktop so that when you open your computer or mobile phone you are reminded of its perspective and what it represents in your life.
  • Read over the interview. Because we revert to our everyday way of looking at our lives after an interview it is normal to not only forget about it but discount its value and relevance. A normal experience is to re-read an “old” interview and be amazed at its relevance and wisdom. We wonder, “How could I have forgotten that?” 

Assignments and Homework 


Under “Essays and Interviews,”  read:

How to Work With Character Recommendations:

Working With Interview Recommendations:

Working With Interview Recommendations


In the IDL video curricula, watch:


Addressing Life Changes:

Application of Character Recommendations and Character Dream Interpretation

Integrating what you have heard: Adding Your Interpretation and Those of Others

Quizlet Self-Tests

(Add your own study sets)


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. Instructions are included in Unit 4 of this Module.


  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.

How do I want or need to measure the application of my chosen recommendation?

Do I need to chart it?

Do I need a daily check-off if it involves quantity, like the number of times I remembered to become the character?

Or, do I need a daily 0-10 scale by which to measure some quality, like how self-critical I was or how many times I did something the first time I thought about it, instead of putting it off?

What sort of support do I need from my team and others to keep on track?

How would you rate the usefulness of this unit 0-10? Why?

How can it be improved?

Attend an on-line team conference at least once a week.

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