Dr. Van de Castle has been studying dreams for over 40 years. With Calvin Hall Ph.D., who was considered to be the most prominent dream researcher in the world at that time, Dr. Van de Castle co-authored, The Content Analysis of Dreams, in 1966. The content analysis method they pioneered in their classic book has become the standard approach to objective dream research used by hundreds of later researchers.
The Hall-Van de Castle scales are used to provide normative material listing the various types of settings, objects, characters, social interactions, activities, emotions, etc. found in 500 male and 500 female dreams. By checking the table showing the frequencies of various objects, for example, it can be seen that items of jewelry were referred to 29 times by women and 5 times by men, while hand-held weapons were referred to 10 times by women and 38 times by men. Hundreds of other kinds of dream images are similarly indexed. Through his close familiarity with these extensive norms, Dr. Van de Castle is able to determine quickly whether the content of any given dream would be considered as typical or atypical, which greatly facilitates his ability in helping the dreamer to process the uniqueness of any given dream.
The laboratory setting is a very familiar one for Dr. Van de Castle. He conducted two years of laboratory research with Dr. Hall at the Institute of Dream Research in Miami, Florida, and also served as the Director of the Sleep and Dream Research Laboratory at the University of Virginia Medical Center for several years. He served as an experimental dreaming subject in his own lab at the University of Virginia, at the Institute of Dream Research, the University of Wyoming, and the Maimonides Hospital Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn. The successful demonstration of his telepathic dreaming ability at Maimonides was described at some length in the book, Dream Telepathy, by M.Ullman & S.Krippner.
In addition to the aforementioned two books, Dr. Van de Castle is author of two monographs and the author or co-author of over 125 articles published in peer-reviewed journals as well as popular journals and magazines.