Helping Children Find and Follow Their Inner Compass

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Using Integral Deep Listening (IDL) to Help Children  Grow, be Happy and Healthy

The First Stage of the Rocket of Human Development

The development of children can be thought of as a three-stage rocket. The first stage produces enormous thrust to get a child’s body and cognitive wiring launched. This heavy lifting stage is biologically pre-programmed and unfolds during the first years of life. For example, capacities to walk and talk are largely hard-wired into the operating systems that children are born with. Biological programs set off timed processes in automatic sequences. The influence of these programs tapers off throughout childhood and adolescence; in adulthood the machinery is left to run on its own and eventually run down. However, if we are born with healthy genes and yet lack a social network – something essentially impossible in today’s world – we will grow up to be a biologically healthy animal, but a stunted human. Even our biological health would be in doubt because, just like dogs, elephants and dolphins, we require socialization, the business of the second stage of our developmental rocket, for happiness and health.

The Second Stage

Beginning very young, perhaps at eighteen months, while the first stage of our rocket is still providing massive thrust away from ground zero, the second stage of our  developmental rocket starts to ignite. Socialization, not biology, largely determines the second stage of the rocket of our development. The culture and societal expectations and structures into which we are born script our identity and largely define who we think we are: our name, our familial, cultural and social identities, including the vast majority of our preferences. This social and cultural identity is largely set by the time we reach five, which means that who we are largely exists out of awareness as an unconscious set of operating instructions  designed to bring us security, health and happiness within the context of our culture and society. This second stage continues to fire throughout our adolescence, with career and family decisions typically made by the twenties, although these can shift radically throughout adult life.  Most of us spend our entire lives coasting on the inertia of the thrust of this second stage social engine. It takes where we want to go: into conformity with the expectations of our family, friends, employers, religion and nation, a life that is designed to bring us the financial security necessary to raise a family and the social status that provides us with the validation that lets us know that our life is meaningful.

What Do Children Actually Learn to Value?

None of the common social and religious “recipes” for health and happiness match the practical, everyday instructions for  health and happiness that children face day in and day out. Society rewards children for obedience and good grades. The popular media, school, and parents hold up role models of wealth and power, such as politicians, corporate executives, or military officers, despite the fact that these people are generally deeply flawed, if not corrupt, and unbalanced. The messages that  children receive from mainstream culture, their parents, schools, and role models often contradict what these people claim to be teaching children. For example, they are taught to share, expected to share and punished for not sharing while their role models probably do not share. Instead, they dictate and accumulate power, status and wealth. What children both hear and observe is that health and happiness come from making a lot of money and attaining positions of status and control. What other explanation could there be for the brightest and most talented students routinely choosing to go into the financial sector, which provides no products or value to society, but gambles money for the purpose of personal enrichment?

It also is important, according to the cultural world in which children are immersed, to do whatever you can to be beautiful or handsome. Children know that both popularity and success are largely determined by how you look. Although parents, teachers, and role models often are not so honest as to come right out and say it, money, power, status, and physical attractiveness are values that parents hope for their children. Other parents may be quite overt about it and push their children into beauty contests, toward modeling careers, or toward those occupations that provide status, power, wealth, or ideally, all three. Such careers are assumed to reflect well on parents, who can proudly announce that their child is a doctor, lawyer, politician, banker, broker, or performer. The undeniable reality is that as children grow they experience powerful and constant adult, peer, and societal pressures to have wealth, power, control, and beauty. Is it any surprise that so many of them suffer from anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem? Is it any surprise that entire industries now exist, such as the pediatric pharmaceutical industry, whose income and financial growth depends on encouraging dysfunctionality in children? Society makes vast amounts of money stoking these insecurities, desires, and hopes, as well as providing escapist forms of self-rescuing that both train children into cultural values and create the illusion that they are independent from it.  Barbies, video games, porn, and popular magazines do both. How much are interest in the accumulation of wealth, power, control, and beauty drivers of the world economy? Certainly they are responsible for most of it.

What are the Implications of Cultural Immersion for Children?

So what? Aren’t these interests, pursuits, and purchases harmless? We are now at a point in the history of the world where it is obvious that the pursuit of such goals, as personal and social priorities, do not simply undermine the continued existence of societies, whether they be democratic, socialistic, autocratic, theocratic, or capitalistic; they are increasingly seen to be what they in fact are – inherently exploitative. This means that in time the ecological and social fabrics that sustain existence of plants, animals, and people disintegrate when we pass such dysfunctional cultural scripts on to our children.

IDL does not believe that wealth, power, control, or beauty are bad, wrong, or to be avoided, but only that they need to be pursued within the context of the priorities of one’s own inner compass. But who does this? And of those who are sure that they are the exceptions to the rule, how do they know?

How can we know? IDL is exceptional in that it provides a way to objectively evaluate what we think so that we can move beyond the self-delusion that is pervasive for humans that we are doing what we are “supposed” to be doing, that we know and follow God’s will, and that everything is turning out according to Divine will. IDL does so by accessing perspectives that are aligned with core qualities that are associated with waking up, greater lucidity and enlightenment.

The Third Stage

The third stage of our developmental rocket rarely ignites. If it does, it generally sputters and goes out before boosting us into orbit. This third stage involves the development of choices that reflect the priorities of life, not ourselves or society. Although most of us assume that our actions reflect the priorities of life, few of us ignite this third stage. Instead we largely live out the preferences and assumptions of our social and cultural programming or simply react to it. To live a life in alignment with the priorities that life is generating within us as emerging potentials we have to do more than rebel against cultural and social scripting. We need not only to develop the ability to reason but also the ability to separate ourselves from our subjective scripting sufficiently to avoid simple rebellion from it. We have to develop a deep and broad awareness of the pervasiveness of personal scripting and also some way to understand which parts are important and necessary to keep and which are detrimental, a waste of time and energy. Few of us develop the objectivity to view our self-identity and the forces that maintain it clearly enough to make decisions for our growth that reflect innate, unique needs and competencies. We are so immersed in our personal, cultural, social and spiritual definitions of ourselves that the third stage does not ignite.

Society, culture, education and religion do not support the ignition of the third stage. Society in all its forms has a strong interest in producing socialized humans who fulfill roles and functions that benefit society and that reflect well on their parents and social institutions. These institutions and interests support us adopting their world views, whatever they are, and living our lives according to their model. If we do, we are rewarded; if we do not, we may be punished. Therefore, fear is a major factor that keeps us from igniting the third stage of our developmental rocket.

Society has little or no interest in producing humans who question the basic assumptions of social order because they thereby present threats to it. Questioning that is permitted only is permitted within clearly delineated boundaries. Scientists can question everything, except science itself, for example by embracing the reality of psychic phenomena; religious philosophers and scholars like Thomas Aquinas can question everything except the doctrines of Catholicism; capitalists can challenge every social and ethical assumption except the priority of profit; students in Iran and other Islamic countries can receive outstanding university educations in the sciences and humanities as long as they do not question Islamic orthodoxy; spiritual seekers can question everything except the existence of souls and life after death. Instead of igniting our third stage we develop further by making horizontal moves from one culture and society to another. We change partners or jobs, move to another country, join a different religion or enter a monastery. We take on the styles, fashions and activities of others and then make them our own and use to define ourselves.

Sources of support to ignite the third stage of our developmental rocket must therefore largely come from outside society. The pursuit of life’s priorities and third stage ignition has traditionally meant the pursuit of mystical, spiritual and shamanic openings in the hope that enlightenment will lead to a vision of a true, real, and reliable individual path forward. The problem is that these openings are generally interpreted in the context of their societal and social scripting, which means that it is often a reaction to society and culture rather than a more autonomous expression of personal uniqueness and creativity.

In addition to coming from outside society, third stage ignition occurs outside the interpretations that we make of our experience. This is quite an unusual thing to do, because even when we have mystical, near death, shamanic, psychic or lucid dream experiences we are the ones doing the interpreting of our experience. This assumed and normal interpretive stance is called psychological geocentrism. Just as Ptolemy and most humans have believed that the sun rises and sets and that therefore the universe revolves around the earth, so in our daily experience we normally use our waking identity, stuck in its second stage social and cultural scripting, as our interpretive reference point. The problem with this is that our socially-scripted identity is defining our reality. This means that a second-stage self is declaring that it has ignited the third stage of alignment with the priorities of life and has attained orbit, or is about to. This is a delusion so common, so profound and so basic that few recognize it. We overlook it because we are so subjectively enmeshed in our socially-conditioned sense of who we are.

IDL offers a method of not only igniting the third stage, but of starting its ignition very young, as early as five or six. It provides access to sources of objectivity that are both subjective and internal, on the one hand, and objective and external on the other. This is very different from completely subjective and internal sources of direction, such as conscience, dreams, drugs, mystical, psychic and near death experiences, intuition, “inner voice,” or one’s “higher self.”  While internal sources such as these can be powerfully transformative, the problem they share is that they lack objectivity. Interior sources of objectivity are subjectively enmeshed with the life scripting of society and culture to a degree that what is experienced as Truth is in fact more social and cultural entrapment. For example, dreams of one’s soul mate generally turn out to be self-delusions that sour people on looking at any dream at all. Dreams of any and all sorts are interpreted by our socially scripted waking identity, both while we are dreaming and, if we remember them and think about them, later when we are awake. We know how subjective and confusing the results can be. Regarding external sources of objectivity, consulting “experts,” dream dictionaries, or the collective wisdom of dream interpretation groups is not much different from going shopping and trying on clothes to find which ones fit and look good. People normally do not recognize the social and cultural scripting of their dreams, mystical, drug, psychic and near-death experiences because of the novel, extraordinary, and “rightness” of many subjective and internally-derived feelings, thoughts, visions and inspirations. The solution offered by IDL is also very different from traditional objective and external sources of support and life direction, such as teachers, role models, gurus,  various experts, focus group processes and peer review committees. While these offer important and necessary objectivity, and can be extremely beneficial related to defined areas of individual or group expertise like math, sports and music, they do not and cannot know you from the inside out because they do not share your history, thoughts and feelings.

What we require to ignite our third stage are objective sources of subjectivity that are also subjective sources of objectivity. We need sources that are both objectively “other” and therefore relatively autonomous, yet that still know us better than we know themselves. This alternative is traditionally associated with the guidance provided by religious figures, such as God or Jesus, who are imagined or “felt” to be both objective and yet know us completely because they are immanent as well as transcendent.  However, a casual historical and contemporary review of the lives of individuals who fervently believe this is true reveals not alignment with third stage life priorities but either with second stage scripting or rebellion from it. Archetypes and the “collective unconscious” are sometimes assumed to fill this role, but they do not. Personal archetypes lack the objectivity to ignite our third stage rocket while the collective unconscious, with its collective archetypes, like UFOs or Marian apparitions, are too rare, unpredictable, objective and impersonal to reflect the unique emerging potentials that want to be born in us.

IDL is different from both internal and external sources of objectivity because it combines both in a reliable, repeatable, readily available way that provides the fuel for the ignition of a child’s third stage, the constant support he or she needs to maintain a trajectory away from the terra firma of the comfortable, secure life of their cultural and social scripting and their carefully developed self-identity. In addition, it provides ongoing cybernetic course correction to keep a child’s developmental rocket on track as it gains both velocity and altitude. How important is this? In our experience, this can occur in childhood, saving people years of misery. It can do this at a very early age, as soon as children begin reporting dreams and have the capacity to begin interviewing the characters in them.

The importance of early childhood interviewing of dreams and nightmares with IDL is that it anchors a child in perspectives that are free of social and cultural scripting. This is because these perspectives have not been scripted and because they do not share a child’s identity. While these perspectives have definite identities and possess expectations, assumptions and preferences that can be considered scripts, they are much less products of social enculturation. These perspectives are both relatively autonomous and innate. They reflect potentials that are attempting to emerge or wake up within children. The autonomy of these perspectives is derived from their relative unpredictability. You do not know what a soup spoon is going to say before you interview it. Whether you are the subject of your own interview or interviewing someone else, you can test this theory yourself by simply writing out your associations, interpretations and predictions regarding what will come out of the interview regarding what the dream or interviewed personification of a life issue “means.”  Compare your prediction with the actual data after the interview and you will be humbled. You will become convinced that these perspectives do indeed possess sufficient autonomy that they cannot be easily or rationally “owned” by the dreamer or subject of the interview as “self-aspects,” nor does it work to simply assign them to some personal or collective unconscious. In the first case, they are too autonomous to be conveniently dismissed as aspects of some greater self; in the second, they are too personal to be viewed as completely separate and autonomous.

Having access to perspectives that are free of your own scripting is not the same as accessing perspectives that are script-free. Each perspective that you interview has its biases, prejudices, preferences and interpretations. However, these operate in contexts that include your own, in that the perspective is innate, or aware of the contents of your psyche, yet inhabits contexts that transcend your own, and also to the extent that the perspective is autonomous, or presents a framing, worldview, attitudes and preferences that include but encompass your own. While we can access such perspectives on drug trips, in dreams, mystical, near death and psychical experiences these openings are extremely difficult to duplicate. We can have far more transformational openings through such experiences, but the fact that they are so transcendent makes them extraordinarily difficult to integrate. The result is that we can spend years trying to return to or recapture a transcendent, transformational experience, or we can spend years in misery due to our return to everyday consciousness, with no clear way to return to bliss.

Accessing a Child’s Life Compass

With IDL children can learn at an early age personally-directed constant transformation in a way that speaks innately to them, helping them to steer a course between the demands and expectations of parents, teachers, peers, and their own conscience. When they do so they access their inner compass, which in truth is not “inner,” nor does it belong to them. It is much more accurate to say they belong to it, and that it is neither “inner” nor “outer” but rather both “inner” and “outer.” Consequently, your “inner compass” is more accurately termed your life compass because it reflects the priorities of life’s emerging potentials that are striving to be born within you. Whether they are or not depends on several factors. First, you have to become aware of them. Generally these are inchoate and so lost in the background of our lives that they must be extremely strong and persistent to break through our second-stage social and cultural scripting.

When these emerging potentials are accessed, either as interviewed dream characters or as the personifications of life issues that concern us today, we strengthen the power of our third stage engine. The priorities of life grow in comparison to the influence of our social and cultural scripting. How important is this for children? If a child has been traumatized physically, emotionally or mentally, as almost all have, access to emerging potentials is like water on a desert. The difference from other forms of support arise from the experiential genuineness, emotional nurturance and sensible cognitive framing of the IDL process. This framing may not make sense to parents or other interviewers or listeners; it doesn’t need to. The image, experience, emotions, and understanding all “fit” for the individual in a way that broadens the context in which the trauma is remembered and mentally re-experienced.

While one interview generally eliminates a specific nightmare for children, the object of IDL interviewing is not the reduction and elimination of symptoms, but the igniting of the third stage of the developmental rocket. Think of it as containing the gyroscope that controls the trajectory of the entire rocket. If it is ignited early, the path of the entire developmental course is shorter and requires far less energy. This gyroscope is the life compass, which is more than the pattern of the oak inside an acorn or the cosmic “idea” of horses after which all horses are patterned; it is an unpredictable chaotic, irrational upwelling of spontaneity that fits precisely into the particular mental, emotional and physical structures of the being who opens themselves to it.

Achieving Orbit

Life does not create Edens or utopias; the minds of men do that. Achieving orbit is not a comfortable, secure, effortless gliding unhindered through a life without challenges or stress. Rather, achieving orbit represents the ability to re-enter the atmosphere as a space shuttle, pegasus, prometheus, rainbow, lightening bolt, great eagle, UFO, angel, or whatever else flows and fits with the time, space and need. No one returns as an avatar, guru, bodhisattva or messiah. IDL is not about turning you into a spiritual rescuer of mankind because to do so would submerge you in the Drama Triangle where playing one role, such as rescuer, inevitably means that you will end up playing the other two: persecutor and victim.

What is the Approach of Integral Deep Listening?

Integral Deep Listening (IDL) assumes that life is negentropic, which means that it attempts to do two things: grow and wake up, or become more aware of itself.  What does it mean to “grow?” Typically, parents mean, “to raise children in ways that they will thrive within the culture in which they live.” However, as culture expands and quickly transforms, it is more and more difficult to predict what the culture of the future will look like. If you raise a child to fit into today’s culture you may be raising a child who does not fit into tomorrow’s realities, because of the speed at which world culture is evolving. This problem becomes obvious when poor people from third world countries migrate to first world countries, or even to a large city within their country. They were raised for one culture and are inadequately prepared for survival and growth in another. This becomes increasingly likely as the rate of cultural transformation continues to speed up.

The answer lies in helping each child to find and follow their life compass. Every child has access to a type of gyroscopic, or self-balancing, and cybernetic, or self-correcting, expression of the negentropic nature of all life. Governing the evolution of living beings,  we see it in the extraordinary complexity of unfolding life forms, for example in the pattern of an oak within an acorn.

Supporting Parents

Some parents and educators will hear this and fear that their child will become head-strong and independent, no longer willing to obey or be compliant with self-discipline, ethics, or law. Parents might reasonably ask, “If I support my child in accessing their life compass will they be less obedient?” The answer based on work with many children and young people is that no, there has been no reduction in obedience observed, nor have any reports of same come from parents. While this is a normal concern, over forty years of work with IDL demonstrates that this is emphatically not the case. In fact, the opposite occurs. The more centered that a child feels in their own sense of direction, the less they see parents, teachers, peers, and society as the source of their happiness or unhappiness and therefore find fewer reasons to be in conflict with them. This does not mean that they do not disagree with authority, but that these disagreements are much more likely to arise from an authentic need rather than from emotional reactivity or simple selfishness.

The same is true for another common fear, that your child will decompensate or become possessed by some spirit, demon or sub-personality from which they cannot escape. They will lose control, fragment and either become multiple personalities or experience great conflict with sub-personalities that now take on a life of their own. These fears make for great drama, but only a cursory familiarity with IDL will demonstrate to you that you have nothing to fear. Nonetheless, you are advised to use the method on your own dreams and with your own life issues and gain confidence in it before you use it with children. Do this not because there is any damage to children or because you are likely to misuse the method based on your lack of experience with it and hurt the child – you won’t; the method is not that powerful – but to reassure yourself that you are not doing something crazy or stupid even though interviews themselves often look crazy, stupid or both!

Children like to play and they like crazy and stupid. They are able to adapt to different expectations, priorities preferences, which happens normally when parents disagree or when school and home agendas are different. If children move between households of separated parents they adapt to the expectations of each, just as adults adapt to different priorities when they work two jobs. Both educational systems and society have clear expectations and requirements, and shielding children from them is not going to help them prepare to deal with the realities of different obligations and assumptions, which they most certainly will have to do. When a child learns to listen deeply to their life compass they reduce conflict rather than increase it because IDL generates contexts that can embrace and contain whatever conflict there may be.

Parents support their child’s growth out of what they believe is best for them or what they want for their child, both for altruistic or selfish reasons. Parents need to be educated regarding what a life compass is as well as the importance of a child accessing their own. They need to understand why it is in their best interest as a parent that that their child does so.  Parents know full well that the world is a complex place and that they don’t know which, of multiple opportunities and possibilities, are best for their child. “Should my child go to school here or there?” “Should I insist they do sports, music, volunteer work, or all of them?” “Should I not insist on anything but instead take a lassiz-faire attitude and just trust?”

Parents are taught that children are caught between conflicting expectations of parents, peers, teachers and their own conscience, or internalized parent voices. They are pulled first in one way and then another. If they do not adapt they may be punished; if they do they may be rewarded. Consequently, children have strong motivations for adapting to the various pressures and pulls coming from the second stage of their developmental rocket. All of this easily drowns out the priorities of life that are trying to be born in and through them. If they do not even understand that there is such a process occurring they will not look for it; if they have no way to separate the emerging potentials of life from their conscience or intuition they are likely to follow them instead of it, because they too are louder than their life compass. The rewards and punishments for doing so are present, obvious, immediate and strong. The benefits of deep listening to one’s life compass are absent, vague, distant and weak.

Parents need to understand that conflict between the priorities of their child’s life compass, on the one hand, and the priorities of the child’s conscience, parents, peers and teachers, on the other, creates bad dreams, repetitive dreams and nightmares as life attempts to deliver wake-up calls but comes into conflict with social and cultural scripting. If these symptoms go unheeded, as most do, because they are not understood, they can somatize or otherwise externalize as accidents and metaphorical waking events that are outpicturings of these unrecognized conflicts. Parents need to understand that both mental and physical health are supported, nurtured and improved when their child finds and follows their life compass. They then have the tools to resolve the conflicts that are normally experienced between conscience, parent, peer, teacher and their own expectations.

The internal guidance system provided by a child’s life compass does not require constant monitoring or maintenance. When driving a car you do not need to consult your NAVI all the time; if it is working, you can pretty much ignore it and allow it to give you direction. This frees you to focus on driving, yet to get where you are going in the quickest and easiest way. IDL is something like this for children. Parents and children use interviews of dream characters from recalled dreams, as well as personifications of life issues important to the child to generate recommendations that are like directions from a NAVI. In addition, the process of becoming this or that interviewed element or character amplifies the child’s contact with their inner compass. The result is that the innate priorities for growth toward health, happiness, balance, and integration become stronger in relationship to the multiple, chaotic demands of external priorities of parents, school, peers, and society. Peace of mind, inner balance and self-confidence grow. Parents and teachers learn to approach consulting their own inner compass as a supportive skill set, or as an important tool to support them in the growth of the children in their care.

Why Find and Follow Your Life Compass?

IDL teaches children and their parents to find and follow their inner compass for many reasons. One is to access a source of growth and integration that will stand the test of time and the unpredictable demands of an evolving society and world culture. Another is to provide parents with invaluable support in making parenting decisions. In this regard, IDL teaches “triangulation.” This is an approach to decision-making. Most parents make decisions regarding their children based on their own common sense and what they know, in conjunction with advice they pick up from others, who may be other family members, teachers, friends, or experts in child rearing. They may ask the child for his or her preferences. The problem is that parents rarely or ever consult the inner compass of the child themselves because even if they believe that such a thing exists (most have not been taught the concept), they do not know how to access it. In addition, very few parents consult their own inner compass regarding their dilemmas or concerns about child care and how to deal with a difficult child. IDL encourages parents to consult friends, experts, their child, and any other exterior sources of information and experience in decision-making, as well as to trust their own common sense and judgment. However, what makes IDL different is that it also encourages parents to interview dream characters and the personifications of life issues that they have as well as those that are important to their child, in order to access perspectives that are more likely to reflect the priorities of both their own and their child’s inner compass.

A question normally arises, “How do I know that the perspectives and advice of interviewed characters and elements reflect priorities of my child’s inner compass? Why can’t they just reflect his own desires or some imaginary, fictional interest that is either irrelevant or unhealthy?  IDL acknowledges that interviewed perspectives may represent such things, but it has ways of testing this theory. It does so by interviewing a number of different characters and elements and looking for patterns. If a number of interviewed emerging potentials express similar priorities that do not agree with those of the child, yet are valid and appropriate, this is an indication of both the autonomy and value of interviewed perspectives. Such recommendations are never considered “truth” or “right,” but only one more source of advice, to be taken into account along with the advice of others and your own common sense, in order to strengthen your confidence that you are making the best, most informed decisions for your child.

Such decisions are more likely to be ones that your child supports as well because they have been included in the decision-making process, meaning that the time and effort spent in doing interviews  is likely to pay off in compliance and self-regulation by your child in subsequent days, months, and years.

IDL interviewing needs to be supported by parents, which means that it will have to speak to powerful interests that parents have for their children. These include having more obedient children with less “acting out” behavior, including fighting with parents; a child that is more focused on achieving personally chosen life goals; less sadness or depression due to an increase in a sense of personal reasons to live, interact, and learn; less anxiety because of a reduction of internal fearful feelings; increased confidence and self-esteem; greater objectivity and less reactivity; improved ability to reduce stress; an increase in inner peace; the learning of deep listening, meaning that a child is more empathetic and has learned valuable skills for helping other children access their own life compass.

 

The interviewing protocols for dreams and life issues are somewhat different and then are similar for almost the remainder of the interview.

The following children’s interviewing format can be simplified for younger children. It is meant to be used with dreams, repetitive dreams and nightmares with children between the ages of six and twelve. The adult questionnaire can be used with older children.

Integral Deep Listening

 Dream Interviewing Instructions

For Children

Joseph Dillard, LCSW, PhD

Joseph.Dillard@Gmail.Com

Is there anything you’d like to change in your life? Is there anything else? Is there anything else?

Have you ever had an interesting or scary dream?  Tell me!

Why do you think that you had this dream?

If it were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?

These are the characters in the dream…

Which character are you most curious about? (Generally choosing a scary character or animal is best)

(Character,) I’m going to ask you some questions, OK? 

(Character), what do you like most about yourself?

(Character), what do you dislike most about yourself?

(Character), is ______ letting you talk or are they putting words in your mouth?

(Character), what do you want them to do to be quiet and let you talk?

(Character), _____ what part of ______ are you most like?

(Character,) if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any shape you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

(Character), Do you ever get scared?  If you’re scared all the time, give yourself a zero.  Give yourself a “10” if you’re never afraid!   Why?

(Character), how much do you care?  Give yourself a “10” if you care about everyone, or are always loving toward everyone, including yourself!  Give yourself a “0” if you are mad at everyone, including yourself!  Why?

(Character), how wise are you?  Give yourself a “10” if you always know what to do and say.  Give yourself a “0” if you never do!  Why?

(Character), how accepting are you?  Give yourself a “10” if you accept everyone, including yourself!  Give yourself a “0” if you reject everyone, including yourself!  Why?

(Character), how at peace are you?  Give yourself a “10” if you’re always deeply at peace!  Give yourself a “0” if you’re never peaceful!  Why?

(Character), how good are you at watching?  Give yourself a “10” if you can always watch the drama of life and not get caught up in it!  Give yourself a “0” if you’re always caught up in life’s dramas!  Why?

(Character), if _______ scored tens in all six of these qualities, would his/her life be different? If so, how?

(Character,) if you could live ______ life for him/her, how would you live it differently?

(Character,) if you were _____, how would you deal with the first thing he/she wants to change?

(Character,) if you were _____, how would you deal with the second thing he/she wants to change?

(Character,) if you were_____, how would you deal with the third thing he/she wants to change?

(Character,) would it ever be helpful for ______ to imagine that he/she is you and act as you would?  When?

(Character,) why do you think _____ had this dream?

(Character,) why do you think that _____ happened in this dream?

(Character), how is ______ most likely to ignore what you are saying?

What would you recommend that _____ do about that?

______, what have you heard yourself say?

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

Did you hear anything you can use to make your life better?  What?

Did the character make any recommendations? What were they?

What could you do differently this week to test (character) to see if his/her recommendations make your life better?

Before you go to sleep at night think about what this character said to you, OK?

 

Integral Deep Listening

 Life Issue Interviewing Instructions

For Children

Joseph Dillard, LCSW, PhD

Joseph.Dillard@Gmail.Com

Is there anything you’d like to change in your life? Is there anything else? Is there anything else?

Which issue brings up the strongest feelings for you?

If those feelings had a color or colors, what would it be?

Imagine the color could turn into any animal it wanted. What would it want to be? (alternately, “Imagine the color could turn into anything it wanted. What would it want to be?) Now pretend you’re that character, OK? Say the first thing that comes to your mind!

(If nothing comes to mind, ask, “If this feeling were an animal, what animal would it be?”)

(Character,) I’m going to ask you some questions, OK? 

(Character), what do you like most about yourself?

(Character), what do you dislike most about yourself?

(Character), is _____ letting you talk or is he/she putting words in your mouth?

(Character), what can _____ do to be quiet and let you talk more?

(Character), _____ created you out of those feelings and colors, right?

What part of ______ are you most like?

(Character,) if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any shape you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

(Character), Do you ever get scared?  If you’re scared all the time, give yourself a zero.  Give yourself a “10” if you’re never afraid!   Why?

(Character), how much do you care?  Give yourself a “10” if you care about everyone, or are always loving toward everyone, including yourself!  Give yourself a “0” if you are mad at everyone, including yourself!  Why?

(Character), how wise are you?  Give yourself a “10” if you always know what to do and say.  Give yourself a “0” if you never do!  Why?

(Character), how accepting are you?  Give yourself a “10” if you accept everyone, including yourself!  Give yourself a “0” if you reject everyone, including yourself!  Why?

(Character), how at peace are you?  Give yourself a “10” if you’re always deeply at peace!  Give yourself a “0” if you’re never peaceful!  Why?

(Character), how good are you at watching?  Give yourself a “10” if you can always watch the drama of life and not get caught up in it!  Give yourself a “0” if you’re always caught up in life’s dramas!  Why?

(Character), if _______ scored tens in all six of these qualities, would his/her life be different? If so, how?

(Character,) if you could live ______ life for him/her, how would you live it differently?

(Character,) if you were _____, how would you deal with the first thing he/she wants to change?

(Character,) if you were _____, how would you deal with the second thing he/she wants to change?

(Character,) if you were_____, how would you deal with the third thing he/she wants to change?

(Character,) would it ever be helpful for ______ to imagine that he/she is you and act as you would?  When?

 

______, what have you heard yourself say?

 

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

Did you hear anything you can use to make your life better?  What?

What could you do differently this week to test (character) to see if his/her recommendations make your life better?

Think about what this character said to you before you go to sleep!

For a better understanding of interviewing, see IDL Interviewing Techniques.

For a better understanding of applying interview recommendations, see Working With Interview Recommendations

To learn how to become an IDL coach, see Become an IDL Coach!

 

Posted in Children

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