Episode 30: The Gifts in Grief Dreams (a conversation with Joshua Black)

Have you ever dreamt of a loved one, after they passed away? Has that dream stuck with you ever since? Dr. Joshua Black has had that kind of dream — and heard thousands of those dreams from others. He’s devoted his academic research to these “grief dreams” and to continuing bonds after many types of loss (including prenatal loss and pet loss).

I thought it might be heavy or tearful, talking for an hour about dreams of deceased loved ones, but instead I found this conversation to be full of life. I appreciate Joshua’s combination of the methodical, discerning mind of a researcher with compassionate curiosity and willingness to sit in the mysterious space of dreams.

You can also listen on your favorite podcast platform by clicking one of these links: ApplePodcastsSpotifyStitcherVurbl, or iHeartRadio.

Click Play above to hear me and Joshua talk about:

  • How dreams began to matter to him because of one powerful dream, after a childhood of rejecting dreams
  • His own grief dream of his father, which brought the color back into his life after a period of depression
  • One of the most common questions he hears: why am I NOT dreaming of my deceased loved one?
  • Across cultures and belief systems, what does and doesn’t vary about grief dreams
  • How common these dreams are; and how common it is for them to involve the presence of love and continuing bonds
  • “Negative dreams” where the deceased is dying or ill, or chasing or wanting to harm the dreamer
  • How important it is to understand the culture and viewpoint of the person who’s had the dream in order to provide a safe space 
  • Why it’s best to be very cautious about labeling dreams as “visitations,” or naming criteria for a dream to be considered a visitation
  • The three functions of grief dreams

And more! Listen now and leave a comment below.

Dr. Joshua Black is the host of the Grief Dreams podcast. He’s a speaker, author, consultant, and online course instructor. As one of the world’s leading academic experts in grief dreams, Dr. Black has focused his efforts on raising awareness about grief dreams through his talks, interviews, and his online Grief Dreams course.

Connect with Joshua through his website: www.griefdreams.ca or on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/griefdreams/

The Grief Dreams Podcast: https://www.griefdreams.ca/grief-dreams-podcast (check out Episode 197)

The two articles Joshua mentioned, about grief dreams during the COVID-19 pandemic:

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