Joshua Black

Ph.D. in Psychology

Graduated 2019

My name is Joshua Black, and this is my story. I am in the final stages of my PhD program in Psychology and I am set to defend this December (2018). My research focuses on grief dreams, specifically dreams that have the deceased present. There is very little academic research on this topic, which can lead to many issues for the bereaved and those who work with them. I have investigated dreams of the deceased after spousal/partner loss, pet loss, and prenatal loss. The title of my thesis is “Who has dreams of the deceased and why do they occur?” My research is showing that these dreams seem to be a very common experience after loss.

Being able to research this topic at Brock University was a huge blessing. Not only was I able to help answer some questions for the bereaved, but I also got to make meaning from my own loss. What was really special about my years at Brock University was their encouragement in all the different ways I was trying to raise awareness on the topic. To help normalize grief dreams and help answer questions, I started, the Grief Dreams Podcast, Instagram and twitter accounts (@griefdreams), the Grief Dreams Facebook Group, wrote a children’s book “Dreaming of Owl” (found on Amazon) with the help of Deborah Stapleford, and organized the Children’s Grief Awareness Event in 2016 (this has become an annual event at Brock University). Additionally, I have done over 50 presentations and given over 30 interviews on the topic.

I do not know many schools that would have allowed me to do this research, and at the same time encourage me to continue to raise awareness on the topic. Knowledge transfer is highly supported here at Brock University. As I graduate this year, I feel ready for life after Brock University … I’m so happy I chose to come here!