Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dreams, Grief and Mourning

The psychological literature has noted 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (Kubler-Ross, 1969). Mourning is defined as the following four stages: Numbness, yearning, disorganization, and reorganization. Interestingly, when a person loses a loved one through death, in conjunction with the stages of grief and mourning are dreams of the deceased in various forms. For example, the deceased will appear as if they are alive and speak to the dreamer. The deceased can convey information such as forgiveness or advice. It appears that dreams of the deceased are a very important part of the human experience of grief and mourning. Joshua Black at Trent University is now examining the dreams of the bereaved to investigate further why these dreams occur and how they are important in the grief process. How might dreams of the deceased help people cope with their loss? How might these dreams help grief counselors deal with profound grief?

62 comments:

  1. Dreams of the deceased might help people with their loss because the deceased can comfort them in their mourning. The deceased may also be able to relieve the dreamers conscience and tell them that they are in a better place. The deceased may tell the dreamer to go on with their life and not to worry about them. This could be because they have peace now that they are dead. This might be especially useful to the dreamer if the deceased had an illness that caused their death. The deceased may also tell the dreamer advice that can help them in their life so that they can move beyond the grieving stage.

    Dreams of the deceased may help grief counsellors deal with profound grief because they can identify what stage they are in the grieving process by hearing about the dream imagery the dreamer has. The dreams of the dreamer should coincide with the grieving stages and then the counselors can suggest things the dreamer can do to move from one stage to the next. Also grief counselors can see if someone who is dealing with profound grief is going between the stages or skipping some stages which has been known to happen. Dreams of the deceased can point out if there is guilt involved or any other issue that might need to be dealt with as well as the grieving on top. The more information the grief counselor has the more help they can be to the dreamer. There might be a specific saying that the deceased would have said to the dremaer that only the two of them shared and that could be an important thing that the counselor can pick out. This can get the dreamer to talk about the dream and the deceased. When the grief counselor knows as much about the dream as possible then they can suggest ways to help the dreamer with the grief such as journalling or neeeding to forgive soemone or just finding something to do in the memory of the deceased. Whatever can help the dreamer deal wth the grief is what is needed for the counselor to facilitate the dreamer through the grieving process and all the information can be found in dreams of the deceased. Whatever is being portrayed in dreams is what is happening in the dreamers waking life. Someone who is in profound grief may not realize how deeply they are grieving and their subconscious is alerting the dreamer to it in their dreams with the deceased.

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  2. As a person who has felt grief and mourning, I can identify with some of the emotions that Prof. DeCicco has listed. I would think that dreams of the deceased would help people cope with their loss for the purpose of getting closure. A person may dream that they are telling the deceased things that they have longed to tell them and never got the chance too. Or they may dream of getting answers to a specific question that they have never had answered before. These moments of closure will help the grieving to come to terms with the loss that they have experienced.

    These dreams might help grief counselors to deal with profound grief because they can find the areas of the grieving persons life where they are hurting the most. In the same manner as the soldiers dreams were used to find the areas where the soldiers need most help, the dreams of the grieving will point to unresolved issues. Their dreams may help grief counselors find the specific issues that are holding the grieving back from gaining acceptance and closure. The dreams may also reveal areas of the grieving person's life in relation to the deceased that they were unaware of before and help them come to terms with this.

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    1. I do agree that dreams with the deceased involved can help as a way of coping. I feel that the dreamer may use it as a way of keeping a relationship with the deceased even if they are not in our world any longer. Also, like you said, they may use these dreams as a way of expressing feelings that they couldn't share while the person was alive. In addition, I believe that, along with coping, these dreams can help the person realize that they should tell others how they truly feel, or they may not have the chance to do so.

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    2. Perhaps, if someone dreams about their deceased loved ones several times after their passing, the dreams not only provide closure but help the individual move onto the next "stage" of mourning. Many times people find themselves stuck on a certain stage and a visit from a passed loved one in dream state could help them realize that it is time to continue forward and although their passing may feel like the world has ended, it in fact has not.

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    3. I agree that dreams could help a person realize they need to move forward in their life but I also feel that sometimes the presence of a loved one could be for comfort reasons. For example if in your waking life you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed and a loved one who has passed on used to be the one to turn too maybe the presence of the loved one in the dream could be a sign of stress in waking life that needs to be address.

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  3. Anne Marie PanowykOctober 4, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Dreams of the deceased may help people cope with their loss as they could provide closure for a person grieving. Perhaps they did not get a chance to tell their deceased love one how much they meant to them, or perhaps they never even got to properly say goodbye. Dreaming of one who has passed may allow the dreamer to get this closure that they need in order to move forward in their grieving process.
    Currently my grandfather is in palliative care in a hospital. Although he has not passed yet in my waking life, I have had a couple dreams in which he has died. The couple of times this has happened I have woken up very sad as I had been crying in my dream. I think that by having these dreams it is possible that my body and mind are starting to prepare me for when he does pass away so that, although inevitably it will be hard on me, I may not be in as much denial when he does pass.
    These dreams may help counsellors deal with profound grief because although it may be hard for somebody to fully talk about losing their loved one as many deep emotions surface, it would be nice to feel as though you can still communicate with your passed love ones. Therefore the grief counsellor could put a positive spin on having these dreams to show that experiencing them could be a very positive experience for the family of the deceased. Using dream interpretation on the dreams involving the deceased can help grief counselors pinpoint the exact issues that their clients are having trouble overcoming in their journey and process of mourning. Once they discover what these underlying issues are, they can try to come up with techniques and ways to overcome them in therapy.

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    1. I agree with this. It seems like when contact to a person is cut off very suddenly, dreams might be the only way that a person might be able to taper contact with the deceased before finally being able to accept their absence. I would love to hear the details of Joshua's research.

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  4. Dreaming of people who are deceased may help people cope with their loss as they are able to continue feeling a connection, as though they have not fully lost their loved one. This could make this situation worse, because they are holding on to something that is not there, but it could also be beneficial in the sense that they can cope with the loss in steps. Initially they lose their loved one, grieve, then they are able to dream about their lost loved one which then helps them to realize they are gone. These dreams may help grief counselors deal with profound grief because as the patient described the dream, the counselor will be able to view their emotions and help uncover the puzzle. If the person is consistently dreaming about their loved one who is deceased, possibly they feel as though they were not able to properly say good-bye, or maybe it ended before mends were able to be made. I think the counselor would be able to determine this from the dreams the patients discusses, and will be able to guide the patient down the right path, so this dream can be released. It is a very difficult process to let a loved one go, but in the long run, if the dreams consistently occur, one will never be able to fully grieve and move on with their life. By talking with a counselor, maybe the dreams will begin to change, and become more positive and determine the progress the patient is making, then one day the dream will end with the loved one walking away.

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    1. I agree with your observation that these dreams can sometimes make things worse. It's often distressing to have gone a whole day without thinking about something upsetting, only to dream about it that night. Since dreams can deal with unresolved issues, no doubt these dreams serve as a reminder that the grief has not totally been dealt with yet.

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  5. It is great to see that the topic of dreams in bereavement has surfaced again! There is unfortunately very little research in this field, but I hope to change that. The bereaved can have dreams of their lost love or they can have what I call “normal dreams” (those dreams that do not have the loved one present). Both these types of dreams should reflect something about their grief, as per the continuity hypothesis, but it is yet to be scientifically investigated.

    I find that the dreams that have a loved one present are one of the most fascinating dreams I have come across, as they themselves can be their own therapeutic tool that helps heal the mind. I unexpectedly lost my father a few years ago and one of the first dreams I had was themed Saying-Goodbye. Saying-Goodbye dreams occur when the dreamer knows the deceased has passed and they say their “goodbyes”. I believe that this gave me some closure and changed the direction of my grief process. This being said, not everyone who is grieving experiences these dreams. Why is that? Are there other variables besides grief that play a part in experiencing these positive dreams?

    Not all dreams that have a loved one present in them are pleasant as there are dream themes which can be very troubling for the bereaved. One of which is a theme termed Dying Again, this theme occurs when the deceased is seen suffering from the symptoms that caused their death either as it happened or in a distorted way. Do you believe Dying Again dreams can be beneficial in the way that positive dream themes (of the deceased)can? Could they, in some way, be useful for effectively dealing with grief or is something else occurring?

    I hope the discussion that emerges in this blog not only makes you aware of dreams in bereavement but also increases your awareness about the mind’s ability to assist in the healing process while asleep.

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    1. You raise many interesting points in your discussion. While difficult, I believe that “Dying Again” dreams may be beneficial in the healing process. With that said, I believe dream interpretations such as the Storytelling Method or the 2A Method may be needed for the individual to deal with their grief and understand the true meaning of the dream. To expand on my view, I will use an example. An individual may dream about the events leading up a loved one’s death which was traumatic (such as an accident). Perhaps the individual has been worried about the deceased final minutes of life and what events occurred that were possibly unknown. Through the “dying again” dream, it may be discovered that the individual passed away quickly and likely in little pain. Knowing this may then be beneficial and helpful in dealing with grief.

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  6. Josh you bring up the question of "Dying Again" dreams being beneficial. I'm wondering if it would depend on how the loved one died? If their loved one died in a horrific accident and they dreamed about the incident again, would it help someone deal with it better (get used to the issue at hand or act in a different way) or would it force them to relive a terrible moment over and over again?
    Or if the loved one died of old age, the person would still feel sad but they may get a chance to revisit if that makes sense...?

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    1. I imagine that if it were a horrible incident that caused their death, the dreamer would have dreams in a similar manner to those with PTSD. They may need counseling for a longer period of time compared to those who may have lost someone to old age or disease. Though, maybe with PTSD therapy, dream therapy, and grief counseling combined the dreamer can learn that it was out of their hands and that the deceased would have no ill will towards the dreamer.
      If they deceased died of old age, I feel that their friend (the dreamer) would still be sad but may be more accepting of their loss. Their dreams would probably contain the deceased and could be utilized as a way of remembering the good times and accepting that they had lived a full and wonderful life.

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    2. Katie, that's along the lines of what I was thinking. I know it sounds strange but maybe someone who lost a loved one due to old age might appreciate a chance to see the person again in their dreams. Sort of keep the memory of their loved one fresh in their mind. I'm gathering it would probably be different for each person.

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  7. As Anne-Marie mentioned, dreams can allow the dreamer an opportunity to get some "closure" with the deceased. Share some last thought, ask some last questions, have a final experience that brings the death to completion and allows the dreamer to begin to move on and to accept the death. Grief counselors might find dreams useful as they can reveal some perhaps hidden emotion or unfinished business that may plague the dreamer that could be beyond their conscious perception or may be something they are unable or unwilling to tackle head on in a therapy session. Dreams could give clues as to what this is and may offer an opportunity to deal with the matter in a way that is psychologically acceptable to the dreamer, even though they did not get an opportunity for proper closure when the deceased was alive.

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  8. As Scott similarly said I feel that how the person died definitely affects how a loved one would dream about their deceased. I think it depends on how much closure the loved one had, were they able to say goodbye before the death? By having some amount of closure the loved one may have a better and easier time of accepting the death. Whereas if they were unable to have any closure the loved one may have very vivid and emotional dreams about the deceased person and how they died. As Anne-Marie mentioned it makes sense that our dreams might be able to provide some closure during these situations where we may not have had any closure with the deceased. It definitely depends on your interaction with the deceased on and how close you were as well. I feel like many people might dream about deceased family members that they may not have been overly close with or were unable to see regularly.

    By interpreting these dreams grief counselors would be able to help the loved one deal with emotional issues following the death of someone close to them. It would be a chance for deep emotions and insights to be released without judgement. I would think that grief counselors could use these dreams as part of their therapy in order for the loved one to come to the realization of something important, may help with closure. In the end I think it all comes back to needing to interpret these dreams. As we are learning, there are reasons why we have certain dreams and need to derive meaning in regards to our waking life.

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  9. As Heather said, I also believe that closeness and closure affects how one views the deceased. If they weren't very close it's very unlikely they would have dreams of that person and be able to move on much more easily. Similarly, if someone was able to have closure with the deceased they would be able to handle their grief much more easily. If they were unable to have closure it may result in dreams of the deceased.
    However, I also believe that even with closure they may still dream of the deceased, I think it depends on how tight their bond was. They may still have dreams with the deceased as a way of coping with the loss. Or they find it as a way to communicate with the deceased even if it may not be true. They may also dream about the deceased as a way to recollect their fond memories of that person. Now if there was conflict within this bond and no closure, I imagine the dreams would be more vivid and somewhat depressing. It may be that the person wished to have closure so now their dreams are trying to provide such closure.
    I think dreams do help with coping because (as mentioned earlier) the dreams may act as a form of closure even if the dreamer isn't directly talking to the deceased. The dreams may bring up memories of the good times and allow the person to see that their time together was worthwhile. From seeing this, the person could move on knowing that the deceased had a good life as well. I think sharing dreams with family members (who had dreams of the deceased or not) can also help with coping. They may have discussions on what to believe in the dream and how things from the dream actually related to the deceased.
    Much like talking to the family about grief and dreams; a grief counselor may also be useful in talking about dreams containing the deceased. Sharing dreams and memories of the deceased with the counselor could allow them to form a strategy on dealing with the loss. They may encourage the dreamer to communicate with the deceased in their dreams as a way to cope and realize that the dreamer must move on. Combining analyses of the dreams and the counselor's coping strategy may help in relieving the dreamer of the pain of loss and help them reorganize their life.

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  10. To start off with I think that it is very beneficial to see a ghost of a deceased while trying to cope. While going through the mourning process it would be good to see the loved one in a dream and see that they are okay with the outcome, doing well, look better, and happier. By learning these things the person going through the stages will be able to cope easier knowing that the loved one is in a better place.

    In some circumstances it might not be benefical. If a loved one died to suddenly seeing their ghost in a dream might confuse the person and not be able to come to terms with the death because they still feel that they deceased is there with them.

    Seeing the deceased to me depends on the way in which the departed left the earth and how their loved ones feel about the way they left the world.

    If loved ones are seeing a grief counselor then they can use the dreams to decribe that its a way of communication explaining that they are okay and that they are in a better place. By doing this the loved ones while hopefully be able to move on with their life in a beneficial way sooner rather than later.

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  11. One reason for individuals dreaming of the recently deceased is that their current social life may have revolved around the deceased individual; from grieving to mourning, to planning events to remember the individual. As a result, they are likely to dream about this individual. For example, if the individual is in the denial stage of grief, they may dream about normal waking day events with the deceased still there. These dreams may help individuals as a reinforcement that they did what they could. Often individuals struggle after ones death because they were unable to say their goodbyes or tell them something they always wanted to let them know. This may cause some unease to the individual. Through dreaming, they are able to talk to the individual and possibly share what they always wanted to. This may help the individual cope with their loss. Grief counselors may use these dreams and further explanations of them to help individuals understand what their dreams mean and the emotions attached to them. This further insight may allow individuals to resolve any inner conflict they have regarding the deceased and thus help counselors in their supportive role.

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  12. I am very fortunate in that I have no close relatives or friends pass away yet. But judging from some of the previous comments, I believe the dreams that are experienced would depend on the manner in which the loved one died.
    In cases where a loved one has died very suddenly, I can see it being both beneficial and harmful. As many people have mentioned, seeing a deceased individual in a dream and being able to speak with them may provide some closure. This could help the individual move onto the next stage of mourning. However, as Alisha has said, I could also see the individual experiencing confusion or false hope by seeing the deceased in their dreams.
    If the loved one passed away from a long-term disease or old age, the individual has probably already prepared for the death mentally. Therefore the dreams will be less about closure, but perhaps the dreams will be about the loved one when he/she was not suffering. This may bring feelings of happiness and bring back good memories.

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    1. I also agree that seeing a dead loved one in a dream can be both positive and negative. While it could be a source of comfort, it could also lead to false hope. I guess it all depends on our point of view!

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    2. I too think that it can be either positive or negative. Dreaming of the deceased can give one closure, but could also evoke painful emotion if their death has not been fully negotiated by the dreamer. It depends on the person who has experienced the dream. What stage are they at in the grieving process? Have they received closure? If they have not yet accepted death and the pain is still too near, one might be traumatized by the dream. Acceptance may not be reached, nor mourning reorganized, because people may become ‘stuck’ at a certain stage for a pronounced period of time. Those who see a relative can experience closure, but some could also feel panic-stricken which would run counterproductive towards coping. The content and structure of the dream is also important. Those who have dreams involving forgiveness or advice are at an advanced stage of coping and have ideally moved on towards acceptance. Dreams involving their actual deaths could reveal that the dreamer is still in the early stages of the coping cycle. Regarding therapy, a grief counselor will able to identify the stage the dreamer is at. This will guide therapy and the therapeutic relationship between the subject and counselor will harvest goals appropriate to the coping stage.

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    3. I don't think seeing a loved one who passed away in a dream is a negative thing. I've lost a lot of people in my life both suddenly and of old age and I've never experienced negative feelings after a dream. Other members of my family who also experienced the loss have never said they had a dream that evoked really painful memories or false hope. Of course, it's different for everyone and it makes sense how a traumatic death of a loved one could bring bad dreams as well as good but I've just never experienced it.

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  13. Dreams of a loved one who is deceased can be beneficial in many ways. Discovery of these dreams can help the individual to move through the stages of grief and mourning. These dreams may provide insight to things such as inner feelings, questions that need answering, closure for the ability to move on, reminiscence of the loved one, celebration of their life, etc. The dreamer may just feel the need to be comforted by this loved one, because missing someone who can never come back is one of the hardest feelings to endure. Dreams can be an escape to reconnect mentally with the person that is missed so much.

    The issue previously brought up about "how" the loved one died may have an impact on the dreams. The feelings will be different depending on whether the death of the loved one was soon expected, how long they have lived for (whether they had a long life, or a life cut too short), and how much suffering was caused. Since the meanings of dreams are different for every individal, each case can lead to dfferent understandings of the death.

    Grief councellors would benefit from hearing these dreams as the can help the dreamer identify feelings, see which stage of grief or mourning they are in, and anything specific that might be personally revealed in the dream. This way, the councellor can help the dreamer to solve any issues or emotional damage that the death has caused.

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  14. Dreaming about dead loved ones can help people cope with their loss because it makes them feel like a piece of the deceased is still with them, like all we have to do to see them again is close our eyes. This can be both positive and negative. It can be positive because it can help us ease into the transition of not seeing them in waking life anymore, and can be a source of comfort. However, it can also be negative because it could prolong the accepting of the fact that we won't be seeing them anymore, and people could start to dwell on these dreams (living in a state of denial).
    Dreams of the dead would obviously be very beneficial for grief counselors. It could help them to identify the stage of grief or morning the person is currently navigating. The content of the dream (e.g. things that the deceased say) could help the therapist identify issues that the mourner needs help working through, such as failing to say certain things when they had the chance and now living with the regret. By identifying exactly what issues the mourner has been left with, the therapist will have a greater chance of helping them to move past the death in a healthy way.

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  15. First of all, I must say that this is a very interesting research! To start off, I think when individuals dreams of a loved one who is deceased, it helps them cope with their loss, especially during the early stages of grief (denial) and mourning (numbness). Losing a loved one, isn’t an easy life event to process, thus the stages of grief and mourning. It takes time for individuals to adjust to life without the presence of the deceased. Their dreams give them a sense of proximity and comfort that they think they still have with the deceased. Perhaps it is comforting enough for individuals to have some sort of interaction with the deceased even though it is through their dreams.

    Furthermore, I think dreams can help individuals achieve a form of closure. However, I also think that it is important to consider the relationship (whether good or bad) that individuals had with their deceased loved ones.

    For instance, if there was a bad relationship between individuals and the deceased, unresolved issues may appear in their dreams. By recognizing and analyzing their dreams, individuals may find a way to find closure and move pass the death of their loved one.
    Grief counselors can benefit from analyzing these dreams. By providing insights and possible meanings to these dreams, the mourner might be able to understand their dreams and relate it to their life events. By doing so, it helps the mourner to move through the stages of grief and mourning faster.

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  16. I think that dreams of the deceased may help people deal with the loss of a loved one by getting closure from the dream. If the bereaved have something that they wanted to say to their loved one that they never got a chance to, I believe that dreaming about saying something like that would be a form of closure. My best friend lost her father when we were 16 and she has always said that if she could go back she would change how she dealt with the whole situation. He was sick and she basically didn’t spend as much time or tell him what she wanted to. She recently had a dream that she told him everything that she wanted to and that she loved him and she was sorry. When she told me about this dream I told her that I think it’s a sign and a form of closure for her. I mean, we don’t actually know this but I do believe it is closure and it’s a form of therapy in itself. It is very interesting that we can come up with these stories/images in our sleep and then in our waking lives feel that something is different or come to a realization about something. I think it is especially interesting when someone can come to a realization about someone who has passed because there are not many other ways to get connected with the deceased. For the therapist, if my friend was to tell them about this dream I think they would be able to tell where she is at with her grieving process. I think if people are having “Dying Again” dreams it could be informative to the therapist to know that the patient is having negative imagery about losing the loved one. The therapist could then know how the person is feeling with the loss at this moment and then deal with it accordingly.

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  17. I believe that dreams are of something very special. Even if we don't want to admit, dreaming is a beautiful thing as one could learn so much about theirselves if you allow it. With that said, I feel that dreams of a deceased can help one to cope with a loss.

    Losing someone isn't easy, especially if they are someone very close. Like previously stated, there's the mourning process along with the different stages of grief. By having dreams I would hope it would allow a sense of comfort and closure. Sure not all dreams are the same, nor when those do dream of the deceased it's always a good one, but it allows for answers. Conversations can happen in dreams, new beginnings, and most of all interactions.

    This is also important in being able to analyze dreams with the 2 different methods that we have learned so far. One can be able to interpret those dreams and be able to analyze them for better. With that said, I would also believe that grief counselors can use these along with other methods that they have, to provide insights relating to their lives.

    Overall, one can hope that dreams allow for closure allowing them to continue with their lives, while growing knowing that their loved ones are okay and well, looking down on them from above :)





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  18. In this week’s lab report, we learnt that dreams often have a large emotional component and therefore it makes sense that we would dream of the loss of a loved one frequently after their death because this is a difficult emotional process to go through. Dreaming of a lost loved one would help people face their true emotions, instead of remaining in the denial phase of grief for too long. It may also help them gain insight into why they feel the way they do and what their feelings mean if proper methods of dream interpretation are used such as the 2A method. Finally, it would help them achieve closure as they work their way through these emotions and accept the reality of the situation and attempt to move on, believing that this is what their lost loved one would want for them.
    I believe that dreaming of “lost ones” does not necessarily have to apply solely to death. Perhaps people would follow these same phases of dreaming if they are going through another emotionally trying time in their lives such as a bad break up or physical separation from loved ones. Speaking from personal experience, when I recently broke up with my boyfriend I noticed myself progressing through the stages of grief within my dreams. My dream content reflected where I was in the grieving process, with particular emphasis on the bargaining phase. I also noticed myself reverting back to initial stages of grieving in my dreams when in my waking life I considered myself to have reached acceptance. I believe that even if we fool ourselves into thinking that we are okay in our waking lives, our dreams reveal a more accurate point of where we are in the grieving process.

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  19. This situation actually happened to me. I lost my close friend, and I couldn't stop dreaming about her. Before she died she kept telling me that she loved me, and when she passed away she came to me and told me that she was okay, she didn't feel anymore pain (She had Lupus), and that I must take care of her mother- so that made me feel better.

    I feel that dreaming about the deceased will help the individual to feel comforted during their loss. To me the reality doesn't truly hit me until weeks later, when the daily routine is altered due to the loss of the individual; therefore the dreams will help one to cope. In addition, some people may have had a fall-out with the deceased individual and the dream will give them the opportunity to apologize that way they don't blame themselves for the persons death.

    Grief councilors can help people with profound grief by trying to analyze the dream and make meaning of what occurred within the dream. This can help the patient to have a better understanding of why they had the dream in the first place and also help them deal with their grief by role playing the dream and having the individual speak to them (the councilor) as if they were the deceased person. That way all emotions that may have been bottled up inside could surface, helping the councilor have a more accurate diagnosis of the individual and proper treatments.

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    1. This situation actually happened to me. I lost my close friend, and I couldn't stop dreaming about her. Before she died she kept telling me that she loved me, and when she passed away she came to me and told me that she was okay, she didn't feel anymore pain (She had Lupus), and that I must take care of her mother- so that made me feel better.

      I feel that dreaming about the deceased will help the individual to feel comforted during their loss. To me the reality doesn't truly hit me until weeks later, when the daily routine is altered due to the loss of the individual; therefore the dreams will help one to cope. In addition, some people may have had a fall-out with the deceased individual and the dream will give them the opportunity to apologize that way they don't blame themselves for the persons death.

      Grief councilors can help people with profound grief by trying to analyze the dream and make meaning of what occurred within the dream. This can help the patient to have a better understanding of why they had the dream in the first place and also help them deal with their grief by role playing the dream and having the individual speak to them (the councilor) as if they were the deceased person. That way all emotions that may have been bottled up inside could surface, helping the councilor have a more accurate diagnosis of the individual and proper treatments.

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  20. As we have learned over the last month, our dreams have meaning and they can help us cope with a stressful situation or make us realize that something is troubling us. I believe that dreams of deceased people would help people cope with their loss because these dreams would bring to consciousness the way the people are feeling about the deceased person. By knowing your feelings, you are better able to deal with them. Sometimes when people die, family members believe they need to bring strong and not show an emotional side, however, their dreams might tell them that they need to let out their emotions in order to properly grieve the death of the family member. As well, the dreams could be a way to comfort the family member who has lost a loved one. If the family member has a dream that their deceased family member is peaceful now, then they should be able to grieve better because they know that the deceased isn’t suffering anymore.

    I think this applies to grief counsellors as well. The grief counsellors can use the dreams of their patients to get the patients to understand their emotions and feelings that may be unconscious. The counsellors can help their patients bring these emotions and feelings to consciousness and this could help the patients deal with profound grief because they are aware of the way they are feeling. I think it would also help the patients if they were to have dreams of seeing their deceased family member in a peaceful state or happy again. This could potentially show the patient that the deceased family member is no longer suffering and “in a better place”. I think sometimes a lot of people try to hide their emotions when it comes to death because they feel they need to be strong for their family. By looking at their dreams, they are able to realize what they are feeling and hopefully this will allow them to accept their feelings and emotions so that they can grieve properly and perhaps bounce back from the grief a bit quicker than if they didn’t accept their feelings and emotions.

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  21. Dreaming of someone you've lost can, I think help keep piece of mind about dealing with grief when it's someone that's recently been lost to someone. However dreaming about someone you've lost a long time ago or after your period of grief is over can be helpful in keeping memories real, or keeping them close to you. I have dreamed about a loved one that has passed away almost 15 years ago, the dreams are usually of actual times I remember being with this person. Dreams like this just give me piece of mind that I haven't forgotten the times I've spent with that person.
    When a person dreams about a loved on upon recent passing I think it helps then cope throughout the grieving process.
    These types of dreams can help counselors do determine maybe why that person is having trouble overcoming or dealing with their grief. If there's a certain life event between the two that wasn't dealt with or was left up in the air. They can then help the person deal with those issues and put them to rest to have a normal grieving cycle.

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  22. A metaphysical confrontation with someone who has passed can have varying emotional effects. It could trigger a sense of bewilderment, wondering why would this person appear to them? Is there a reason behind this unexpected dream visitation? The question of "unfinished business" comes to mind. Is it the need for some closure on the part of the dreamer or is it induced by the unsettled energies of the soul that is not at rest? Is this a question for parapsychological researchers?
    I have had many dreams where I have seen and interacted with relatives who have passed this realm and I have never found it to be disturbing. If you fear the unknown then it will engulf your entity and cause you to question your own existence. It is best for a grief counsellor to take a positive approach when being reflective of the dream imagery. There should be some relationship history discussed openly prior to the end of the counselling session so that the bereaved is at ease knowing that the dream message is not at all peculiar in nature or should be feared.
    If you feel you need to rest in peace, or have a peaceful rest, then it is best to not feel like the restless images of those who have passed are there to unsettle you. We always have tendency to tell someone who has recently lost of loved one that they have not really lost them because they will live on on their memories. They are in their minds, the memories live on in their conscious & subconscious. It is completely normal to relive their presence in your dreamworld and emotionally healthy to embrace their eternal existence within that realm.

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  23. Dreams of the deceased might help people cope with their loss by giving them a sense of relief by seeing the person and being able to communicate again. These dreams might help grief counselors deal with profound grief by allowing the dreamer to share different aspects of how they feel in the dream and what they are experiencing.

    I believe in this a lot, I've had this experience in the past. When my Pastor of my church died two years ago I frequently had dreams of him. But what I found weird was that in all the dreams that I had of him he didn't speak at all, only in one out of many did he speak to me in the dream and that was advice that hr gave me. I agree with Jade because seeing the deceased in your dreams can in fact help someone have piece of mind especially if the dreamer feels guilty about something.

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  24. I definitely agree with many of the previous thoughts and opinions posted here which suggest how dreams involving deceased loved ones can be beneficial in helping dreamers cope with the processes of both their grief and mourning.
    I agree and very much believe in the fact that these dreams allow the dreamer to continue to feel connected to their loved ones since their dreams give them a way to communicate and maintain a relationship with those who have passed on. This ability for dreamers to feel that they can remain connected to loved ones even after death can be very comforting, especially during the time when they are mourning their loss and experiencing grief. I also believe that these dreams are not only comforting and therapeutic to the individual experiencing them but also to their families when they are discussed as a group. Personally I have experienced this because after my grandmother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly I began dreaming about her, communicating with her as if she had never died. When I realized I was the only one in my family having these dreams and finally began discussing them with the rest of my family, I soon saw how they were not only comforting to me but were also very therapeutic for all of us. I truly believe that the dreams I experienced allowed for both my family and I to better cope with her death and as many others have suggested gave us a sense of closure.
    Also as mentioned by Jade and many others, I agree with the fact that these types of dreams can help counsellors and other professionals determine how one is coping with their grief and how to help them better deal with it if necessary.

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  25. Dreams can help the person by coping with the loss of a loved one. The dreams can give them a sense of them being in their dream, which give them some comfort and help them with loss. Dreams can make the person feel as if the are still connected to their loved one. The deceased loved one can help the person with an issues that they might have through their dreams if they were a person that they had relied on when it came to figuring out a solution to a problem.
    When my uncle had passed away my cousin never got to say goodbye to him before he had died, so she always felt guilt within, so she had a dream of him where she was able to talk to him and finally say goodbye.

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  26. I think that dreams of the deceased can help the people in the processes of mourning, and help them to cope with the loss of a loved one. As a person who has dealt with grief in the past, I am familiar with the stages of grief that professor DeCicco has listed, as well as the presence of the deceased in my dreams. Professor DeCicco stated that the deceased can convey forgiveness or advice. This could help the person because they may be able to address unresolved issues with their loved one, or finally communicate certain things that they never got a chance to say. Seeing the deceased in their dreams may also be a way to help the person deal with their loss, because they may still feel as though they are connected to their loved one in some way. I think that the imagery of the deceased in dreams can definitely help people cope with loss, and make sense of what they are feeling.



    These dreams are also useful for grief counsellors who are trying to help their patients. By interpreting their dreams, the counsellors can attempt to make sense of their patient’s emotions, and find ways to help them heal, and deal with their grief.

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  27. As many of my peers have stated, dreamt encounters with lost loved ones is an opportunity like no other to reconnect with the diseased. In many cases, individuals don't have a chance to say everything they had hoped for...especially in the case of unanticipated passing.

    The grieving period can be a very low point for many people & it is not uncommon for one to try and withhold their pain. It is a prevalent reaction for one to close off to the rest of those around them for fear of being weak or sheer discomfort in sharing his/her upset with the death. This opportunity to find comfort & closure through dream imaging can pose as an outlet for grievers. Positive memories of their past is another possible type of dreams one may have.

    Likewise, as Jenna has mentioned, it's a form of connection and provides dreamers with a chance to resolve anything unspoken or unresolved conflicts.

    Beyond being able to work through dream interpretation with clients and identify feelings, I think dreams involving the deceased provide an effective starting point for counselors. Feelings can be difficult to decipher and I'd imagine there is a lot for one to work through in order to overcome the loss. What an individual is seeing and hearing in their dreams, whether or not the passed individual is directly present in imagery, is a healthy point of discussion to start coming to terms with the loss. As discussion progresses, counselors would be able to gear further conversation based on the client’s needs.

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  28. Dreams of the deceased have the ability to help people cope with their loss because, it can be a chance to say goodbye for someone who maybe did not get to be with the deceased person before they died. It is also possible that dreaming about the deceased person can offer advice or guidance that the dreamer needs to continue on with their life. When someone close to you dies it is often very troubling and upsetting. Things will never be the same and the person mourning has to adjust to this new life without the deceased person. Dreams would greatly be able to help with the adjustment of living without the deceased person.

    Dreams of a deceased person might help grief counselor's deal with profound grief because, they could use the griever's dream to help as they move through the five stages of grieving as well as the four stages of mourning. By utilizing the griever's dreams as a tool to help them, the counselor could be able to offer incite, guidance, as well as closure from the dream. This would be particularly useful in cases of profound grief were the griever is feeling helpless and is looking for answers.

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  29. As many of my fellow classmates have touched based on in the previous posts; dreaming of deceased loved ones can help the dreamer obtain answers from unanswered questions and can give the dreamer the ability to say goodbye and to gain closure. This can also help resolve conflict that was between the dreamer and the deceased in waking life. Many individuals do not have the chance to say goodbye to the decease. These dreams are crucial to allow the dreamer to begin their grieving process.

    As Emma mentioned, these dreams can help grief counselors focus on the stages of grieving. These stages are important for the individual to gain closure, and with the interpretation of the dreamers dream of deceased can help the dreamer cope with their loss. However, the dreamer must be open to their dreams and allow the communication be fully effective. Paying no attention to their dreams may cause the dreamer to get into a deep depression of grief.

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  30. As many people have already mentioned i think that dreams of deceased loved ones can play a huge role in helping a person cope with what has happened and what they are feeling. That said it could go either way, if the person is open to the dreams then it could majorly help them and give them an opportunity for closure or to gain knowledge and understanding. That said, if the dreamer tries to ignore the dreams and does not wish to let them help, then it can create even more problems and a deeper depression for the dreamer.

    As no one fully knows the best way to deal with death and when a sudden death occurs the person most likely does not know what to think or how to feel, dream interpretation can help them work through their feelings and explain what they are feeling and thinking. Grief counsellors can use the dreamers dream interpretations to help the dreamer come to acceptance and even work through issues that the dreamer may have with the deceased. The counsellor will be able to use the dreams to work with the griever through the stages of grief and to give insight on what the dreamers dreams can mean or be telling them.The dreams can allow for a sense of closeness with the deceased that the griever can very much need at the time in order to move past it.

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  31. As many have pointed out, understanding and interpreting your dreams of a deceased loved one can be a positive coping exercise to work through your grief. In dealing with grief, each individual will cope in their own way. Each person may require a shorter or a longer period of time in each stage. I think dreaming of your loved ones, especially when it includes forgiveness or advice, will help you channel through the stages of grief in a healthy manner. Dreams provide insight into your thoughts and feeling and being able to truly understand and decipher your emotions about your loss, will help you cope and work through the stages of grief. Josh mentioned people experiencing different dream themes like “saying goodbye” and “dying again” after losing a loved one. Could the different themes be dependent on whatever stage of grief they are in?
    In doing our own individual dream interpretations, I have discovered insight into my own waking life, but more so into the emotions that I am feeling about certain situations. I think these dreams would help grief counselors in assisting the individual to navigate through the stages of grief and their mourning. It would provide insight in to what stage they were at and would help them gain a better understanding of what emotions they were feeling surrounding this loss.

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  32. Dreams of the deceased can help people cope with their loss by allowing the mind to do many of the things a therapist would suggest. For example, therapists often suggest pretending someone is still alive to say goodbyes or ask questions. People often have this experience in their dreams.

    Dreams can also reveal (through dream interpretation) what stage of grief a person is in, and what they might be focusing on right now which can help a therapist determine what issues to address in grief therapy. People grieve in different ways and about different things, so figuring out the thoughts and feelings associated with the loss for that particular person is important. By gaining insight into a person’s dreams, therapists can likely get a better handle on how best to approach the subject with their patient.

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  33. By appearing in a dreamer’s dreams, deceased people might be able to guide and counsel the mourning to help them overcome their loss. Their presence in the dream lets the dreamer know, not only that the deceased is still important to them, but also that they are with them in their dreams and supporting them when they need it. As long as the deceased remains important to the dreamer and keeps appearing in his dreams, the dreamer is reassured that they are not alone and that the deceased and beloved will continue to reappear and be with them in their dreaming life.

    This transfers over into the Continuity Hypothesis; that waking day events, thoughts, emotions, etc., influence the content of our dreams. If a person who has just recently lost someone they loved and cared about, the deceased will without a doubt be on their mind in their waking life. As the deceased is now little more than a thought or memory in the person’s waking life, it needs to be accepted, forgiven, let go of, and repressed but not forgotten in our waking day conscious minds in order for us to remain stable. Dreams of the deceased might be used, possibly with the assistance of a counselor, in order to help the mourning deal with their waking day emotions as the dreams provide insight on the dreamer’s conscious thoughts, worries, concerns, etc., and can be used to help guide them through the stages of grief and mourning. If our dreams are influenced and guided by our waking lives, then our waking lives can be guided and influenced by our dreams…

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  34. Grieving and mourning the loss of someone, especially a loved one is probably one of the most difficult things humans have to face. In reality, I think it's difficult for humans to fully understand this type of hardship. I often question if humans were ever supposed to evolve enough to feel such emotional anguish. In saying this, I think that as we all have discovered, dreams are essential to pay attention to in dealing with hardships.
    If someone is dreaming of a loved one that they lost, I think this is an extremely positive thing. This can not only help with coping, but it can also help with unanswered questions. Perhaps the dreamer was unable to say all of the things he/she wanted to say to that loved one before they passed, or maybe they had a falling out and were unable to reconcile it. No matter what the situation, dreams can be a window to healing, they can enable the dreamer to deal with certain emotional situations, that maybe they are unaware of. It could also help with the mourning process, if they are spiritual it can give them hope that this person is in a better place.
    I personally would love to dream of a love one who passed. I know that it could potentially re-open past wounds, but at the same time this could be very therapeutic. It takes years and years to get over grief, and sometimes a life time to forget all the pain.

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    1. In addition to this,
      I think that symbolism and dream imagery can be analyized and a counselor can help to unfold what the dreams mean, which can in turn help the dreamer deal with the grief they are going through. This could also help with unanswered questons they may have especially if they are feeling unsettled about the death.

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  35. When someone we love is taken away from us the void that is left is very hard to deal with. Dreams can be a way for individuals to work through the feelings and issues they are encountering in the grieving process. Dreams can tell the dreamer that is it okay to grieve and help them deal with feelings of guilt and remorse that come with losing a loved one.
    Dreaming of someone who has passed can also be a way of fulfilling a lost connection to that person and experiencing the relationship that was shared when the individual was still alive. Feelings that where enjoyed and experiences that where cherished can be relived through dreams as well. Learning to let go of someone who has passed away does not mean learning to forget. We must always look back on the good times and the friendship or relationship we had with the person.
    Not all relationship are perfect though, for some, a person who caused pain and anger in life could appear in dreams and the dreamer could finally have a chance to say how they felt and why they were hurt. Dreams allow a medium for the dreamer to express feelings that can not always be shared easily in waking life.

    A counselor could help the dreamer understand underlying emotions and feelings that have come up in dreams regarding the person who has passed away. This might help the dreamer come to terms with the passing of a person as well as their true emotions towards that person, their relationship as well as the inevitable passing of this individual. Sometimes an outside perspective is greatly beneficial to interpreting internal emotions and a counselor could provide this for a dreamer.

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  36. Dreams about deceased people might help the dreamer to cope with the loss. This can be done in many ways these one of those ways is providing closer to the dreamer by reflecting on the times that the dreamer shared with the deceased. They can also analyze their dreams using some dream interpretation methods such as the Story Telling Method or the Association and Application Method. These methods can help the dreamer to deal with any conflict that they have on their own.


    These dreams can help grief counselor’s deal with the problems that are affecting the dreamers waking life even if the dreamer is unaware that they are affecting them. If people complete an accurate dream journal then a grief counselor can look at those with the person to assess the underlying cause to their grief and come up with ways of coping through the grief.

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  37. A person can feel a lot of guilt when a person passes away. They can feel guilty that they didn’t do enough to save them, guilt that they are enjoying their life when someone died, or that they didn’t spend enough time with them. I think the dreams of a deceased is a way to let go of the guilt and give the person closure. I think it is also a relief in a way because you still feel like you have a connection to that person and you feel that they are ok now. In Josh Black’s post he talked about the saying goodbye dreams and I think they are very interesting. My mom passed away a couple years ago and my Dad had a saying-goodbye dream. I remember he was different after wards, he felt better and was ready to move on after the dream. It gave him closure and peace knowing she was ok.


    I think the dreams would be helpful to grief counsellors because some people find it difficult to talk about the loss of a loved one. If they are able to share their dreams of their loved ones the counsellor could get an idea of what stage the person is in their grief and how they are feeling even if they don’t talk about it. I also think that when a person is young and they lose someone or it’s the first time they have lost someone it is difficult to grieve. Sometimes people don’t grieve thoroughly or try to ignore their feelings and grief because it hurts to much or they have to be strong for others. I think the dreams would really help grief counsellors figure out how to break down the walls of some people and help them grieve properly.

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  38. Stephanie SchuelerOctober 10, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Dreaming of a deceased loved one can have several benefits. For one, it is a chance to gain closure for a person; this can help an individual move onto a new grieving stage. a deceased loved ones presence in a dream can also help clear a persons conscience, if they can interact and speak to each other, they can have a chance to say the things they missed out on while that person was alive, like in Josh's point about the "saying goodbye" dream. As stated in some posts above, if a death is very abrupt, a person may be left feeling cut off from their loved one too suddenly and these dreams could help diminish their contact on a gradual level. These dreams can also give a person reassurance, and comfort that the one they love is better now, or happier, etc. but unfortunately the other side of this is that these kinds of dreams can be damaging on a person. For example, a death could haunt someone, and they may relive it in their dreams over and over, like with Post traumatic stress disorder. These dreams may also keep someone stuck in a place where they are unable to move on; if a person loses their husband/wife, they may have regular dreams where their spouse is still alive and they are able to interact, which may keep them holding on and unable to let go, I suppose this could be an aspect of the denial stage.
    Another point Josh discussed was the "dying again" dreams, while I have quickly touched already on how these dreams could have negative effects on a person, perhaps a positive aspect would be for someone stuck in the denial stage, who simply cannot accept their loved ones death, seeing that person die again in their dreams, while gruesome that may be, could possibly help them to accept the fact that it did happen and they can come to terms with it.
    As for how these dreams can help a grief counselor would be, as the posts above have covered quite well already, that these dreams can help determine what grief stage a person is currently in, and what areas, if any, that a person may be having issues moving past such as guilt or fears. So with this knowledge, a counselor can work with their client to get through trouble areas and to transition into the next stage of their grief.

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  39. Experiencing a deceased person in one's dreams I think can help the person in many ways to understand and eventually move on in the stages of grief and mourning. The loss of a loved one is very hard to deal with, understand and get accustomed to. Seeing these lost loved ones in a dream I believe can bring so much comfort and guidance in how to deal with the loss. People grieve in so many different ways and since dreams seem so real it's almost like having the person back in your life again. Since we do not know what happens to us after we die I think dreaming about lost loved ones is a very normal way of trying to understand death and fill the void of that person in your everyday life.

    These dreams will be so beneficial to grief counsellors when dealing with profound grief because it gives them a good idea of the persons grieving process and how stable they are in waking day life. The first lab with the Storytelling method of dream interpretation I submitted was about a dream of a lost loved. I got discovery out of this dream, it was very beneficial for me and directly related to my waking day life. Grief counsellors clearly understand the process of grief and mourning way more than an average person would. Dreams directly related to the deceased will be extremely helpful to grief counsellors in guiding the grieving person to acceptance in a healthy way.

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  40. I believe that dreams of deceased loved ones allow people to move on and cope with the process of grieving. Having a dream about someone that has passed away recently or earlier in life allows for the person suffering with loss you experience the presence of that person in their life. Deceased loved ones in dreams can help people to feel as though they are still partly with them or will not forget someone they lost. My mom lost her parents when she was 16 and had a hard time growing up with part of her family missing. I remember once she told me that she had a dream about them when I was little about 4, she said that in her dream something bad had happened and my grandparents were their I ran to them and hugged them liked I knew them and they took me with them somewhere safe. I recall that my mom told me that this dream made her feel happy even though her parents weren’t with her anymore. I believe that a dreams like my mom’s help people who lost someone they love dearly to keep them close, and feel as though they are still wit them guiding them and helping them through life.

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  41. Having dreams of a deceased loved one may help the dreamer cope with their loss as it can create closure. If the dreamer is able to speak to the deceased through their dream, it may lead the dreamer to see their loved one happy and at peace. The deceased may also offer loving words and by having this last conversation, this could help the dreamer through their grief. As after the dream the dreamer may move from depression to accepting; also moving from disorganization to reorganization in the mourning process may occur. Not only may this help the dreamer, but also by sharing these dreams with others there may be reassurance if others are to have similar dreams about the deceased individual. People who did not experience a dream may take this knowledge, which may help them navigate through their emotions and come to understanding.
    In relation to grief counselors, by sharing these dreams it will show the counselors the strong emotions that are present within the dream and allow for further discussion. These discussions may then reveal why the dreams are taking the forms they are, and by understanding the meaning of the dream the dreamer may then come to accept the death. Overall, by dreaming about death it may be beneficial and help people cope with their loss and help them to both accept and reorganize after their loss.

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  42. I believe that dreams help those grieving the loss of a loved one by giving them a chance to say good bye or feel at peace with the passing of a loved one. A lot of the time a loved one passes suddenly and it leaves people with an even greater sense of loss because not only has their loved one passes but they were unable to tell them how they felt or have any last conversation with them. Dreams can help individuals cope with the loss by providing them with that final opportunity to "talk" with their loved one. This could be for just final words or even to patch things up if things were not on good terms before the passing. Dreams could help a grief counselor by guiding them through what the patient is feeling. Many people may just think they're being haunted by the memory but in fact their dreams, although painful through the grieving process, may be able to lend some valuable insight into how they felt about the person and what it is they need to come to terms with about the loss to begin the healing process.

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  43. I think dreams of the deceased could help people cope with death in various ways. Some times deaths happen abruptly and it may be necessary for the person to get the closure they need through an alternative route—in their dreams—whether it is a direct link to a spiritual domain, a world a part yet connected to our own, or whether it is strictly problem-solving happening within ones brain. Dreaming of a loved one can help one move on. I, for instance, have not lost a person dear to me since I was a child. I did, however, lose my cat I had for years who I grew to love like a child. I was away when she died and it hurt me so much that she was gone—just like that. I had quite a few dreams about her afterwards which were quite sad. One of the most impacting dreams, and maybe the last significant one of her, was when I visited the world of “death.” It was a mysterious and very interesting dream, but in it, I was allowed to see her one last time. She was my cat as I remembered her and the sensations, such as petting her fur, were so real that I woke up in tears. However, it was my good-bye. Perhaps I needed that final good-bye in order to move on. I could say the same about others who have had similar dreams about those they lost. I agree with posts prior to this, reasoning that dreams depend on how one dies and how they felt about that death.

    I believe that like many elements in our waking life, the deceased can in a way become symbols who enter our lives time to time—perhaps symbolizing what they meant to us—a gracious spirit, a wise and knowledgeable person, et cetera. When we are trying to cope with situations in our lives, they may pop up in our dreams giving us advice or guidance. Whether they are merely a symbol, a spiritual encounter, or both, I believe it can help people move on even through death and during other circumstances down-the-road. That being said, I agree with previous posts; I think the bereaved can learn something about the death of their loved ones during their dreams, even if all they needed answered was, “Why?” Seeing the deceased also allows for a connection, a spiritual connection, which is perhaps the greatest and most powerful connection one can have. Perhaps this connection can serve as awareness that the person simply “moved on” and is not necessarily “dead.”

    I think the dreams of the bereaved can help grief counselors counsel in the sense that dreams may offer more awareness and insight into the bereaved’s feelings and thoughts towards the death—beyond what we know of the five stages. Perhaps the STM and the 2A method could be used to find meaning in the death, in the bereaved’s life, as well as unlock the secret methods telling the bereaved how to cope. Perhaps the dreams themselves are a necessary stage in order for the mind to process the events and truly heal. In order to heal, it must find the path of thoughts and emotions that will lead the bereaved to the best outcome or well-being. Grief counselors may not only be aware of the person’s stage of grief, but they can dive deeper and help the sufferers come to terms with their loss by having them connect with their inner selves and re-establishing meaning and order in their lives.

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  44. Daiana Locatelli 0405414October 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    I have never lost anyone close to me, I have been very fortunate. I will base my blog answer on the closest beliefs that I have. Of the four mourning stages, I think that yearning is most likely the most difficult stage to go through. When you loose someone, the yearning to have that person next to you but knowing you cannot must be the most unbearable and helpless feeling you can have.

    I do not know for certain if having dreams of the deceased helps with the loss of someone who has passed. For example, if you are thinking of that person before you sleep, chances are they will be in your dreams seeing as the thought of the person would be so strong. It depends on how the person is truly feeling about the passing in order to see what emotions and elements interpreted in the dream. For example if you are filled with sadness maybe you would have a more peaceful image of the person. If you are angry maybe that person may come in your dreams in a hostile way, or even reliving the way they passed.

    I do not believe that the dreams would help with coping for the griever or the grief counselor because hurting is a natural process that takes time. I believe that the feelings of the person in their waking life would be too damaged and hurt to interpret any meanings of the dream of the deceased person. Overall it is not a natural state of being...so I think that during this grieving time the dreams will also be unnatural, until the emotional state of the individual who lost someone close to them alters through the grieving process. Until then, the dream will have erratic dreams that change scenes often, from a state of anger, to sadness to confusion and so forth.

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  45. Fortunately, I have never experienced severe grief or the passing of a loved one. However, I can understand how dream interactions with the deceased could assist with the grief process. As stated earlier by my peers, images of decreased loved ones and authentic conversations can bring a sense of closure and comfort to the grieving individual. Specifically, I believe these dream images can assist with the depression stage of grief.
    Having the ability to “converse” with a deceased loved one and truly feel their presence may eliminate some severe depressive feelings associated with losing such an important relationship. Dreaming of a passed individual and speaking to them can allow the dreamer to feel that their loved one has ‘moved on’ and is ‘okay’. Receiving a sense that a deceased loved one has ‘settled’ and is ‘safe’ can give a grieving individual closure concerning the passing and move on to the acceptance stage of grief.
    In relation to the stages of mourning, I believe dream imagery of the deceased would be most beneficial in coping during the yearning phase. While a mourning individual is desperate for the presence and return of their loved one, seeing and speaking to them in their dreams can help resolve some of this yearning. Through psychological dream experiences, waking life mourning can be reduced and further progressed through to the reorganization stage.
    In therapy, grief councillors could take great benefit from dream interpretation concerning dream images of the deceased. Understanding and analyzing the dreamer’s experience with their loved one in the dream state can allow the councillor to decipher the different emotions felt by the individual. Certain events, experiences, feelings, and emotions emulated during the dream images could assist the councillor in having the patient move forward in their grief process and possibly gain closure with certain instances surrounding the deceased.

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  46. Fortunately I have also have not lost anyone close to me but I would assume that dreams of the deceased as part of our psyche trying to communicate with us. Aspects of individuals close to us live among us in our daily lives this must also be true when an individual passes away. Dreams of this nature can be part of the growing process in order for one to cope, on the same note, these types of dreams also have the potential to set us back and keep us "stuck" on a certain aspect. I think that we can grow from any type of instance as long as we are able to resolve any emotional aspects that may exist among us.
    Furthermore, dreaming of someone who has passed away may exist due to an attempt to resolve feelings of a loss. Sometimes people pass away before we are able to resolve an issue we have had with them. Dreaming may help one fulfill a long desire relationship or make something right as a way of healing or peace for one self. Therefore, dreams might help grief counselors deal with profound grief which can be seen as an attempt to resolve feelings associated with a person's death, and may even represent a quality that is important at this moment: this would need to be addressed. Dreams of the deceased tend to represent ending something or starting something new; it is possible that this quality is something you no longer want or need which may begin to provide a framework for grief counselors.

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  47. I think dreamers are able to cope with the death of a loved one through their dreams. They are able to see, touch ,feel, and interact with this person in ways they cannot through their everyday lives in reality. The dreamers may have guilt through negative actions or behaviour that they have displayed towards the deceased person. Through their dreams, it may help them to cope by making this negative behaviour or action a positive one. The deceased may also give advice to the dreamer which may help them in important decision making skills. The deceased may have been a important role model in the dreamer's life, seeing the deceased in dreams may help the dreamer to still have that deceased person a part of their life and continue being a role model.

    Dreams may help grief councellors deal with profound grief by creating positive memories about the deceased person. These postive memories may help these councellors remember the good times instead of mourning the loss of that individual. It may also give the dreamer and sense of relief and a sense of peace to make a new beginning for themselves in their lives without the deceased person.

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    1. I like what you said about being able to see, touch, feel, and interact with the person in ways one wouldn’t be able to do in their everyday life. I think these dreams serve as an outlet for us to experience the things we wish to experience, but can’t experience in our waking day life; helps to provide comfort for a grieving individual. I also like what you said about advice, and this makes sense to me for similar reasons as your first point; because we are unable to be provided with advice from a lost one in our waking day life, it’s almost as if our dreaming minds are trying to figure out what our lost one would advise, if they were still around.

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  48. Dreams of the deceased might help people cope with their loss by helping them come to terms with the loss, and help them reach the acceptance component in grief.
    Death is a really, really difficult concept to wrap your head around, and this is especially true when losing someone close. In part of the struggle with understanding this phenomenon, denial plays a part as it’s evidently difficult to come to terms with something like this, but just in general, processing and comprehending the idea of “death” is no easy task. I believe that when we dream about a lost one, our minds are helping us by both coming to terms with the loss and facing denial, but also, just understanding death generally. Example, some may question the afterlife and wonder where their loved ones go after they pass.
    When my father passed away, I dreamt about him “coming back”, repeatedly. I would ask him in my dreams if he even ever had cancer at all – or if I just dreamt that. Sometimes I would just dream that he was alive, and never had cancer, and I’d ask him if he was going to get cancer at some point…I’d wake up actually believing he was alive for a few moments; after those few moments passed then a big letdown sunk in. All of this tells me that my dreams were a) trying to help me understand death, b) combat denial, and c) eventually come to acceptance.
    I think when denial is high, we dream about our loved ones being alive also as a form of comfort, however, I wonder about this concept because this can as well be detrimental to our state of mind. Example, my mother had a dream about her father who passed, she dreamt that he was alive, when she woke up, she soon after went for a drive, she happened to pass by the cemetery where he lay, she was about to stop by, then said to herself “oh, no, I don’t need to go there; he’s alive.”
    One reason which demonstrates exactly why I feel so strongly about acceptance being the main element in which dreams try to cope grieving individuals with, is because after several years passed and I had become more accepting of my father’s passing, the dreams about him “coming back” all went away, and I started to dream about him coming for “visits” instead. In these dreams, I knew he had passed and that he was just stopping by to say hello or spend some time with me. This is comforting.
    I believe that these dreams are an important part of the human experience of grief and mourning, particularly in comfort and acceptance, and can help not only the individuals suffering the loss themselves, but help their counselors by using those dreams to determine at which stage of grief their patient stands.

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