IDL teaching may be offered by coaches, counselors, and therapy, but it is not coaching, counseling or therapy. It is a form of teaching in the sacred tradition of masters, gurus, adepts or the experienced offering wisdom and practical direction in specific skills to students or chelas. The problem with most of these words, however, is that they either indicate a spiritual or secular proficiency, and proficiencies in integral deep listening in order to develop lucidity and wake up are considerably different.
IDL differs from traditional psychotherapy in that its teachers do not diagnose or treat. They do not gather histories nor do they prescribe cures. While they offer interpretations, these play a tertiary role, after those interpretations offered by interviewed dream characters and personifications of life issues and the interpretations offered by the student themselves. IDL is neither therapist or client centered, but rather directed by your own life compass, as represented by the consensual perspectives of your interviewed emerging potentials. It focuses on increasing both your ability to practice deep listening to your inner or li9fe compass and to put its recommendations to work for you in your life. Most of the following methodologies are covered in more detail in Waking Up.
IDL counseling is teaching; it is an educational process directed by interviewed emerging potentials. Therapists who learn IDL are still therapists, and they are functioning primarily in the role of teacher. The difference is one of empowerment. Clients and patients contract for re-parenting in many cases. This is an implied assumption and one that is both useful and necessary in many cases, but one that has notable drawbacks, chiefly in a degree of deference and subordination that can also exist between teacher and student, but which is easier to minimize. Teachers of IDL need not be therapists, and students of IDL need not be in need of therapy. While a number of the powerful tools taught by IDL traditionally are in the province of psychology and therefore counseling, such as understanding and changing life scripts, the Drama Triangle, and cognitive distortions, this information is essentially something that can be taught, and it can be taught by a teacher who also happens to be a coach, parent, counselor, friend, employee, spouse, or psychotherapist.
Sessions center around interviews of dream characters and also personifications of life issues, like fears, daily challenges and hopes, instruction in the areas mentioned above (understanding and changing life scripts, the Drama Triangle, and cognitive distortions), dealing with resistance and other challenges that can arise during interviews, and the development of action plans based on the recommendations of interviewed emerging potentials, and the application of recommendations that arise from interviews. Here are these areas in more detail:
IDL interviewing. In addition to interviews of dreams, nightmares, and the personifications of life issues, IDL sessions may include interviews of physical symptoms.
Identification/disidentification with scripting. Are you your body? Are you your emotions? Are you your thoughts? Are you your cultural assumptions? Most of how we think of ourselves is a product of our early childhood environment and accidents of birth. Your name was the arbitrary choice of your parents. Your gender is a product of biology. How you think is largely a function of the language of your birth, combined with your role models and their belief systems. When you identify with these factors, when you think they are “you,” they not only describe you; they control you and limit your options in life. IDL considers your scripting to be part of the life dream in which you are immersed and out of which you need to awaken in order to be whole and maximize your gifts to the world. To this end, you may be given script questionnaires and other tools to help you to recognize and free yourself of your scripting, so you can write one that is in closer alignment with that of your inner compass.
Identification/elimination of drama. Most normally functioning, “healthy” people are enmeshed in drama. Some of it they recognize; much of it they do not. In either case, drama mars our ability to problem solve, to set realistic priorities, to communicate with those that we love, and to move ahead in our lives. IDL identifies drama not only in waking relationships, but in patterns of thinking and feeling, and in night time dreams, both normal and lucid. This is important, because dream drama unravels waking progress, even if you do not remember your dreams. When you reduce dream drama you will remove a major barrier to your personal development.
Identification/substitution of emotional, formal, and perceptual cognitive distortions. The work of Ellis, Beck, and Burns has demonstrated that how we feel is determined by what we think. To eliminate most forms of depression, anxiety and delusion it is necessary to identify cognitive distortions and then substitute rational statements for them. It is not enough to do so verbally; these must be changed in the way that you habitually think about yourself and others. Most of the research into cognitive distortions has involved emotional cognitive distortions. However, formal and perceptual cognitive distortions are also extremely important. Formal cognitive distortions involve the rules of logic and learning how to think rationally. They also involve understanding and following basic rules of communication and insisting that those rules be agreed to and followed in your relationships. Perceptual cognitive distortions are cultural and pervasive. Most people are so enmeshed in them that they are like a fish in water, unaware of the pollution in the element in which they live. Examples of perceptual cognitive distortions include nationalism, the myth of exceptionalism, religious orientation and beliefs, and loyalties to groups and causes. IDL enables clients to recognize the dreamlike, delusional quality of such distortions and to minimize their impact, even as they continue to live within social and cultural frameworks that assume them.
IDL Integral Life Practice Growth requires discipline, and students of IDL are encouraged to treat it as a yoga. Click on the link to learn about Wilber’s integral life practice and how IDL increases its effectiveness and potency.
IDL also makes use of masks, role-play, and art therapy