An exploration of the unassisted gravity dream
Keywords:gravity dreams, qualitative thematic analysis, existential experience, psychotherapy
Flying dreams are termed ‘gravity dreams,’ along with dreams that include falling, climbing, descending and floating through air, water and stairs. Enormous wave dreams are also considered to be gravity dreams. Phenomenological studies looking at flying dreams are scarce, and this area of dreaming remains largely unexplored, despite gravity dreams being listed as one of the most commonly reported dreams. This study uses phenomenologically-orientated qualitative thematic analysis to explore the idiographic experience of the embodied self during an unassisted gravity dream. Six gravity dreamers were interviewed. Thematic analysis uncovered six major themes: ‘Boundaries;’ ‘Not of this world;’ ‘Being more than oneself’; ‘Temporality’ (the sense of infinity or forever in the dream); ‘Locus of control’ and ‘Gravity Dreaming as a Process’ (in terms of learning to fly over time or a history of gravity dreaming). Four of the participant dreams described were lucid in nature. The discussion suggests that explorations of existential experiences enable us to push the boundaries of research, generating new ways to practice psychotherapy and greater understanding of how our experiences shape the formation of both therapist and therapy.