My name is Joshua Black. My research interest is in the area of grief dreams, with a special focus on dreams of the deceased. I first investigated this area while in my Master’s of Arts program at Trent University. My thesis examined themes and personal meaning on dreams of the deceased. I am currently in the PhD program (Psychology) at Brock University continuing to investigate grief dreams. I have published scientific literature in this area and for the last 7 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).
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. I was given the opportunity to explore this gap in the literature for my Master’s degree. I investigated the occurrence of common themes in the most memorable dreams of the deceased. Imagery of the deceased providing the dreamer comfort was the most common theme. Also, I discovered that the majority of dreams were memorable to the bereaved because it assisted in easing their grief. I had the opportunity to be the lead researcher for another study that investigated a woman’s dream journal throughout her grief process (see article "Examining the healing process through dreams in bereavement" below). I am now at Brock University continuing to research this area for my PhD. My most recent article titled "Dreams of the Deceased: Can Themes be Reliably Coded? can be found below.
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(2), 110-114.
Black, J. (2015). Dreams in bereavement. Bereavement Ontario Network Newsletter (February Edition).
Black, J., Murkar, A., & Black, J. (2014). Examining the healing process through dreams in bereavement. Sleep and Hypnosis, 16, 10-17. http://sleepandhypnosis.org/ing/archivelist.aspx?SayiID=55
Black, J. (2013). Examining dreams, dream content, and meaning of dreams in bereavement (Master's thesis). Trent University, Oshawa, ON