Joseph Dillard was first exposed to holistic health, meditation and dreamwork in 1963, when he was thirteen and traveled to the Middle East for five weeks with the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE), an organization dedicated to the study of the trance readings of the medical clairvoyant, Edgar Cayce. The group included Hugh Lynn Cayce, son of Edgar Cayce, Bill and Gladys McGarey, founders of the American Holistic Health Association, Ida Rolf, founder of the bodywork known as Rolfing, and several very talented psychics. Immersion in the inclusive, holistic and compassionate worldview of the Edgar Cayce readings created a major paradigm shift from his roots in Protestant US culture. He began a lifelong interest in dreamwork and meditation: Dillard taught seminars in these areas in conjunction with the ARE from 1967 to 1975. In college, Dillard studied comparative religion, psychology and philosophy, with a particular interest in Nagarjuna’s Madhyamika (Mahayana) Buddhism. This caused a second major paradigm shift, because the causal and non-dual perspectives found in Buddhism were not addressed by the “Christian Vedanta” worldview of the Cayce readings. In 1975, Dillard graduated from the University of Texas with a BA in philosophy. In 1976, he began work in the mental health field and received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Arkansas in 1978. He practiced Jungian, Gestalt and other forms of therapy that use dream material extensively. Dillard also received training in Berne’s Transactional Analysis and Glasser’s Reality Therapy. He later received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with David Burns, M.D. In 1979, while working in northern Arkansas as the administrator of one of two multidisciplinary pain-treatment centers that he developed and managed, he had the opportunity to develop and present health risk reduction programs to groups of senior citizens. For this work, in addition to program development at the pain treatment center, he was awarded a PhD in Holistic Health Sciences from Columbia Pacific University in 1980. In 1981, with inspiration from the sociometric methods developed by psychiatrist J.L. Moreno, Dillard created Dream Sociometry, a dreamwork methodology. The multiple, authentic, autonomous and wise perspectives that Dillard continuously encountered within himself as a consequence of applying this method to his own life created a third crisis in his world view, calling into question fundamental assumptions about who he was, why he was here and what the purpose of life was. Assumptions fundamental to Buddhism, including karma and dharma, were in turn relativized within a broader perceptual context. In 1983, a dream led to a move to Phoenix, Arizona and work as a psychotherapist at the ARE Clinic. About this time, he became an admirer of Ken Wilber’s integral psychology, whose influence is found throughout his writings.
In 1985, Dillard co-authored Dreamworking, How to Use Your Dreams for Creative Problem Solving, with Stanley Krippner, a pioneer in dream telepathy and the exploration of shamanic healing. Dillard married for a second time in 1986, and his daughter Kira was born in 1987. From 1983 until 2008, he worked in private practice as a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) in Phoenix, Arizona, treating individuals, couples and families for relationship issues, depression, anxiety, addiction, ADD/ADHD and spiritual development issues. Therapy using Dream Sociometry led to the development of a type of Dream Yoga called Integral Deep Listening. IDL is a transpersonal methodology that creates an I-Thou relationship with one’s inner compass using an interviewing protocol with dream characters and the personifications of life issues. In 2000, Dillard began teaching therapeutic imagery, dreamwork, comparative religion and psychology at the Southwest Institute for the Healing Arts (SWIHA), in Tempe, Arizona. In 2006, Dillard began training Integral Deep Listening practitioners in Germany. In 2011, he married Claudia Hahm, a Berlin naturopath and art therapist. Dr. Dillard loves to hike, mountain bike, and swim. He co-leads yearly trips to Bimini, Bahamas with his wife to free dive with wild dolphins.
In addition to Dreamworking, Dillard is author of several textbooks used with the IDL curriculum. These include: Transformational Dreamwork: Toward an Integral Approach to Deep Listening, Waking Up, Integral Deep Listening Interviewing Techniques, Integral Deep Listening Practitioner, Integral Deep Listening and Healing, Integral Deep Listening and Meditation and Dream Sociometry. An introductory text, Dream Yoga: Der weg der Träume, is available in German. He has also written another text on meditation, Transcending Your Monkey Mind: The Five Trees and Meditation, as well as a text dealing with nightmares, night terrors and PTSD, Ending Nightmares for Good. and a work exploring mystical experiences, Light from Heaven: Deep Listening to Near Death Experiences.
More information about three transformational world views that have been part of Dillard’s development can be found here.