Grief Dreams with Dr. Joshua Black

“The research has shown there are ways to improve dream recall. Some people say each dream is an unopened letter. But not all dreams are meaningful; we get a lot of junk mail.”

             – Dr. Josh Black, Grief Dream Researcher


Dr. Joshua Black is a researcher in grief dreams, with a special focus on dreams of the deceased. Josh is one of the leading researchers in this field.  In his research, Josh examines why some bereaved individuals dream of the deceased while others do not, the experiences of people’s grief dreams and how grief dreams help with grief recovery.   

This is my first interview on  There were some technical hiccups, but we pulled it off!

Our topics today:

  • How overwhelming grief following his dad’s sudden death – then a transformative grief dream experience – led him to grief support, and ultimately dream research.
  • Categorizes the various types of grief dreams:
    • Dreaming of the deceased
    • Imagery that reminds the dreamer of the deceased
    • Other characters talking about the deceased
    • Anticipatory grief dreams – where someone dreams of a death before it happens
  • How a dreamer’s perspective differentiates a visitation from a dream.
  • Dreams in general are more negative (which I never really thought about). But grief dreams tend to have a more positive bent. They can help the bereaved process the death of their loved one, or process their own experience of end of their own life.
  • After the death of a loved one, the very high rates of grief dreams:
    • 86% of spouses
    • 78% of pet owners
    • 58% after a miscarriage
    • 55% of children dream of the deceased parent
  • How to quickly increase your own dream recall, supported by research.








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