#189 – Lucid Dreaming with Robert Waggoner

photo of Robert Wagonner


Robert Waggoner is the author of the 2008 book Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self and the co-editor of the quarterly publication, The Lucid Dream Exchange. Lucid dreaming refers to the ability to become consciously aware in the dream state while dreaming. Those who have experienced this unique state are likely to agree with the first scientist to prove lucid dreaming, Dr. Keith Hearne ,“Philosophically, scientifically, it [is] simply mind blowing.” Over the past 30 years, Robert has logged more than 1,000 lucid dreams, and deeply explored the dream state’s potential for information, healing and creativity while consciously aware. In the book, Robert explains how to become consciously aware in dreams, maintain your awareness, and actively engage the dream environment, plus the apparent awareness behind the dream. A summa cum laude graduate of Drake University with a degree in psychology, Robert also is President-Elect of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD).

Discover these discount codes for you!: Angie’s List and 10% off on printer ink at 4inkjets and 10% off on Shoes and other apparel at ShoeBuy.com.

A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Posted January 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Great show. You gotta check out the 2007 comedy movie, The Good Night.

  2. emerich
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m a newcomer to Shrinkrap and have enjoyed most of the shows, but this one failed the believability test. Telepathy via lucid dreaming? I was already skeptical about self-healing but telepathy ate the last shred of credibility. Waggoner recounts that when a student called him to ask if he could demonstrate telepathy in lucid dreaming Waggoner responded that he couldn’t prove it for him but the student could prove it for himself. Huh? Why couldn’t Waggoner check out the student’s freckle in a lucid dream and prove it to him that way? If the student could pull that on his girl friend, why not Waggoner with the student? Come on, this would be the easiest thing to confirm or falsify in test. Since it has not been rigorously confirmed (though doubtless I could “confirm” it for myself!), I’d call it bunk.

  3. John Brus
    Posted January 7, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Dave

    Thanks for the great interview. I really enjoy your interviewing style, which combines patience, a good knowledge of the topic, and a probing use of questions.

    I also appreciate the wide range of psychology topics you present.

  4. Posted January 8, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink


    Thanks for the movie recommendation. I’ve put in my order at Netflix.


    I appreciate your taking time to express your skepticism about Waggoner’s comments on dream telepathy and I hope it won’t keep you from listening to future episodes.

    At the same time, I would urge you not to be too quick to dismiss the possibility of the phenomenon. I would especially recommend to you the book, Dream Telepathy by Stanley Krippner and others. You might also listen to my Shrink Rap Radio interviews with Stanley. Dr. Krippner conducted a series of very tightly controlled studies over a number of years that opened my mind on this topic. He’s someone for whom I have considerable respect, both as a person and a psychological scientist. Also, you might want to read the chapter in Robert Waggoner’s book in which he goes into greater detail on the topic than he was able to get into in the interview. Like you, I thought the anecdote he offered in the interview was a pretty weak one, as far as evidence goes. A better story to share, perhaps, would have been the fact that every year at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) annual conference, they hold a “dream telepathy contest.” Briefly, I seem to recall that it is structured along the following lines. At a certain time and place, a designated person studies a photo or picture which is then placed in a sealed envelope. Conference attendees attempt to have a dream about the envelope’s contents. Any attendees who feel that they may have dreamt about the content make a drawing of their dream and submit the drawing to a panel of independent judges. The judges study all the drawings and choose the one that seems closest to the target picture. Usually the correspondence is quite striking. Beyond this, the majority of winners have been lucid dreamers. Waggoner explains this process in more detail in his book.

    “Dr. Dave”

  5. emerich
    Posted January 8, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for taking the trouble with such a detailed response. I have indeed found many of your interviews very interesting, and at times, inspiring. I’m still a skeptic on telepathy, however, until I see evidence in rigorously controlled conditions. I’ll check the sources you recommend when I can, though.
    Best regards and thanks for all the good work.

  6. Jurrian
    Posted January 10, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    A very informative interview. My head is about to explode of all the info but I’m glad I heard it. I should try this luicid dreaming too sometimes.
    Can’t wait for the next post.

  7. Robert Pomfret
    Posted January 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think there is much doubt – today at least – about the reality of lucid dreaming per se. However, alleged practical applications and the more extreme claims should rightly be regarded with some scepticism. Those wanting a perhaps less speculative book than your interviewee’s contribution may like to consider Green & McCreery’s Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness during Sleep (Routledge).

    I will be purchasing Robert Waggoner’s book – I don’t accept that a reader has to agree with all the propositions put forward by an author in order to gain something from reading it!

    Incidentally, it would be very interesting for Dr Dave to interview one or two of the pioneers of lucid dreaming – such as Stephen LaBerge, Keith Hearne or Alan Worsley.

  8. Geoff Sandell
    Posted March 28, 2009 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Fascinating show.
    The meditation school that I attend has developed techniques for awareness consciousness in the period before sleep. Many students have noted what i would have called lucid dream states as a result of this practise. We call it Night Practise!
    This state can be activated by focussing on parts of the physical body before sleep.
    This practise is part of a broader metaphysical work on consciousness where it is possible to repeatedly be aware of consciousness outside of the body whether that be for in an awakened or in sleep state.
    The Knowing that is activated in such states surely has its spiritual aspect of extending consciousness beyond the purely physical mental or emotional levels.

    Rudolf Steiner lectured on this relevance of the human sleep time and drew attention to its importance.
    When Robert was talking of the white light experience I was reminded of the “Last Series” of 24 panels by the famous Australian Aboriginal artist Emily Kane Kngwarreye, recently sent to Japan but now back in Australia, where the artist appears to have painted herself out of the picture with with at least one panel almost totally white.
    Finished two weeks before her death.

  9. Posted August 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Excellent show!

    I recently subscribed to the Shrink Wrap Radio podcast, and I am about to dig into the archive of older episodes but if the rest are as interesting as this one was, I am sure I will be a long time listener.

    Take care!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *