Origins of IDL

It is natural whenever we come across some body of knowledge to classify it in terms of those systems with which we are already familiar. This allows us to make assumptions about the new work that save time in both assessment and application. The danger is that we will draw incorrect or partial conclusions about it and then either close our minds or pass incorrect information on to others. We have seen this happen with Integral Deep Listening dream yoga, particularly among highly experienced and knowledgeable therapists. There is a tendency to observe its superficial resemblance to other methodologies and conflate it with them. Many people observe an interview and say, “that’s gestalt,” or “that’s Voice Dialogue,” focusing on the interviewing protocol instead of the context out of which the interviewing process evolved or, even better, experiencing an interview themselves. The methodology is a way of disclosing a world view which in turn opens significant opportunities for healing, balancing, and transformation. That world view is the core of the work, not the psychospiritual methodology itself. This core involves a specific understanding of what it means to awaken and how to go about it; a particular understanding of the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm built around a deep understanding of breath and a particular approach to meditation; and a view of community that has major implications for personal and social decision making. This world view is transpersonal, which means it is designed to transcend and include both prepersonal and personal world views.

Various versions of the interviewing questionnaire are out there, promoted by different people under different names, and it is not uncommon for people to think that IDL was derived from one of them. It was not. The roots of Integral Deep Listening are in the sociometric methodology developed by J.L. Moreno, who also developed psychodrama and was a source for many of the concepts and methods later appropriated by Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt therapy. Dillard learned sociometry in 1978 in graduate school and applied the methodology to dreams beginning in 1981. While Dillard was also trained in psychodrama, gestalt, transactional analysis, hypnotherapy, psychodynamics, rational-emotive therapy, reality therapy, cognitive emotional therapy, and was familiar with a number of other schools, such as Jungian analysis and psychosynthesis, none of these were major sources for IDL. Dillard did not hear about Voice Dialogue until about 2006, as a response of exposure to Genpo Roshi’s “ Big Mind” process.  Several Dream Sociometric “commentaries,” were created in the early ’80’s based on a series of questions developed by the author. They did not come from any outside source. Rather, they evolved organically out of the sociometric methodology. You can find an example of the early commentary questions here:

Origins of IDL

             Creating a Dream Sociomatrix and Dream Sociogram

             Understanding the Dream Sociomatrix

             A Completed Commentary

             Dream Sociometry Template

             The Dream Sociogram

             A Completed Dream Sociogram

The particular questions in the various question protocols used by IDL and their order were worked out in the early 1990’s, in an effort to simplify the questions that are associated with the various commentaries of the Dream Sociometric method.

There are slightly different versions of the questionnaire based on whether one is interviewing a dream or a life issue:

There is also a version for children:

Comparisons and contrasts with various modalities, including Voice Dialogue, Gestalt, Jungian, and NLP can be found at:

Every approach is built upon borrowed and adapted knowledge from other schools and approaches. IDL is no different. If something in the work rings true to you or is effective for you it is generally because it resonates with something that is innate and universal, and therefore can be found in many places. Therefore, IDL does not claim to offer anything new in that sense.  Because of this, IDL has no problem with people borrowing or taking parts of the work and adapting them for their own uses, with or without attribution. The purpose of IDL is to get good tools out to as many people as possible, as effectively as possible, not to receive credit for doing so.

Leave a Comment

For more information, contact While IDL does not accept advertising or sponsored postings, we gratefully accept donations of your time, expertise, or financial support.