My name is Dr. Joshua Black and my research interest is in the area of grief dreams, with a special focus on dreams of the deceased. I am one of the leading researchers in this field, which I still find shocking. The issue is that no one has really focused their research career on the topic, and because of that it has been unexplored. I first investigated this area while in my Master’s of Arts program (Psychology) at Trent University. My thesis examined themes and personal meaning on dreams of the deceased. I continued to research dreams of the deceased while in my PhD program (Psychology) at Brock University. My thesis examined 4 questions: 1. Why do some bereaved individuals dream of the deceased while others do not? 2. Why are some dreams of the deceased a positive experience, while others are negative? 3. Are dreams of the deceased a form of continuing bond? 4. Are continuing bonds helpful for grief recovery? I have published scientific literature in this area and for the last 8 years provided one-on-one and group support to the bereaved. I continue to spread knowledge about this area through talks and workshops (to the bereaved and those who work with them). Additionally, I was the chairman and host of the Children's Grief Awareness Event held at Brock University in 2016 and 2017.
I hope the information found here can assist the bereaved by normalizing their experience and reduce any isolation they may feel. In addition, I hope that those who assist the bereaved can reduce the biases associated with dreams and explore the healing that can be found within these experiences.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH GRIEF DREAMS
My father passed away suddenly and 3 months later I had my first dream. It had a different feeling than my other dreams. We were together in my room and I had the chance to say good-bye. I told him that I loved him and would miss him. It was short, but when I woke up I felt something had changed within me. I continued to have dreams every 3 or 4 months after that, which were very comforting. Shortly after, I began providing one-on-one bereavement support and the topic of dreams was common. People had questions regarding their dreaming and I was unable to find answers. What I found is that bereavement research has overlooked the topic of dreams, and therefore there is little understanding about them. This is when I decided I needed to go back to school and research the topic.
WORK WITH ME
Presentations and Workshops - If you are interested in bringing me in to present an information session on grief dreams, or a workshop on how to work with grief dreams, please contact me for rates. In my workshops I talk about grief, trauma, continuing bonds, sleep, dreams, grief dreams, and love. I can design information sessions around any of these subjects. I have been given great feedback from past organizers and attendees.
Online Grief Dreams Training Course - Coming in 2020 (sign up for our newsletter to be notified when this goes live)
PUBLICATIONS ON GRIEF DREAMS
Black, J., Belicki, K., Piro, R., & Hughes, H. (in review). Dreams of the Deceased: How Dream Content Relates to Grief, Trauma, Attachment, Continuing Bonds, and Waking Day Thoughts.
Black, J., Belicki, K., Emberley-Ralph, J., & Piro, R. (in review). Dreams of the Deceased: Relations to Internalized and Externalized Continuing Bonds and Indicators of Grief, Trauma, Attachment, and Posttraumatic Growth.
Black, J., Belicki, K., Emberley-Ralph, J., McCann, A., & Piro, R. (in review). Internalized Versus Externalized Continuing Bonds and Dreams of the Deceased: Relations to Indicators of Grief, Trauma, Attachment, Openness to Experience, and Posttraumatic Growth.
Black, J., Belicki, K., & Emberley-Ralph, J. (2019). Who Dreams of the Deceased? The Roles of Dream Recall, Grief Intensity, Attachment, and Openness to Experience. Dreaming, 29, 57-79. https://link.growkudos.com/1k38yzdzi80
Black, J. (2018). Dreams of the Deceased: Who Has Them and Why? (PhD thesis). Brock University, St. Catharines, ON. http://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/13888
Black, J., DeCicco, T., Seeley, C., Murkar, A., Black, J., & Fox, P. (2016). Dreams of the Deceased: Can Themes be Reliably Coded? International Journal of Dream Research, 9, 110-114.
Black, J., & Stapleford, D. (2016). Dreaming of Owl. Self Published.
Black, J. (2015). Dreams in bereavement. Bereavement Ontario Network Newsletter (February Edition).
Black, J. (2014). Dreams in Bereavement: Examining themes, content, and meaning of dreams that contain imagery of the deceased. Saarbrucken, Deutschland/Germany: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing
Black, J., Murkar, A., & Black, J. (2014). Examining the healing process through dreams in bereavement. Sleep and Hypnosis, 16, 10-17.
Black, J. (2013). Examining dreams, dream content, and meaning of dreams in bereavement (Master's thesis). Trent University, Oshawa, ON
IN THE MEDIA
Newspaper Articles (feat. Joshua Black)
Why We Have ‘Grief Dreams’ When A Loved One Dies And What The Dreams Might Mean (CBC News - December 20) https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/grief-dreams-1.4953715
Grief Dreams Can Provide Comfort and Healing During Holidays (The Brock News - December 17)
Dreams After Loss (The Sarnia Journal - September 4, 2018) http://thesarniajournal.ca/dreams-after-loss/
Working to Understand the Subject of Grief Dreams (August 27, 2018) https://www.theobserver.ca/news/local-news/working-to-understand-the-subject-of-grief-dreams-phd-student-to-speak-at-st-josephs-hospice-on-sept-12-in-sarnia
Grief Dreams Can Offer Path for Faster Healing (The Chilliwack Progress - Jan. 22, 2018) https://www.theprogress.com/community/grief-dreams-can-offer-path-for-faster-healing/
Grief Network Niagara hosts Children's Grief Awareness Event at Brock (feat. Joshua Black and Melissa Penner) (The Brock Press - November 15, 2016) - http://www.brockpress.com/2016/11/grief-network-niagara-hosts-childrens-grief-awareness-event-at-brock/
Niagara Closeup: Study Explores Grief Dreams (feat. Joshua Black) (Front page in The St. Catharines Standard - Aug. 26, 2016).
Uncovering the world of grief dreams (feat. Joshua Black) (Front page in The Welland Tribune - Aug. 26, 2016).
Uncovering powerful world of grief dreams (feat. Joshua Black) (Front page in The Niagara Falls Review - Aug. 26, 2016).
Dreams of the Dead (feat. Joshua Black) (Hamilton Mountain News - March 30, 2016) - http://www.hamiltonnews.com/news-story/6409855-dreams-of-the-dead/
A Connection to Another Realm (feat. Joshua Black) (Niagara This Week - March 27, 2016) - http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news-story/6404795-a-connection-to-another-realm/
Selected Podcast Interviews (feat. Joshua Black)
Coming Back: Conversations on life after loss with Shelby Forsythia (Jan. 17, 2018 - Episode 31) - http://www.shelbyforsythia.com/podcast/31
Dealing with My Grief Podcast with host Darwyn Dave (March 1, 2017 - Episode 55) - http://www.dealingwithmygrief.com/podcast/episode-55
Selected Video Interview (feat. Joshua Black)
Grief Resilience with Sheaya Biddle - Facebook Live video discussion (Feb. 16, 2018)
To see my Curriculum Vitae click here