SCUBA-PSYCHE: FEAR, PAIN AND THE SEA

a deptherapy blog

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12 Jun2018

SCUBA-PSYCHE: FEAR, PAIN AND THE SEA

by Richard Cullen | 12th June 2017

A huge thank you to one of our members for drawing our attention to the link to this excellent article.

Great that the message is getting out there about the healing effects of the ocean. We know that it benefits those with physical injury - being neutrally buoyant allows many to be pain free for the first time since suffering their injury/illness - it is like hydrotherapy on a massive scale.

For those with PTSD once their head dips under the water their is calmness and programme members report the demons go away.

When the Sheffield University Medical School's report about our work is published the world will be able to see the benefits of the system.

However there is a danger that some are over egging the benefits and to some extent some of the comments in this report do that.

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You do not jump in the sea and are healed of your physical injury or your psychological illness. This was the problem with Deptherapy when it was run by Fraser Bathgate, a one off try dive experience does not heal anyone, it may make them happy for a short time but in the long term it achieves nothing.

For long term benefits a programme needs to be developed where programme members are enthused to develop as divers, by taking responsibility for their own diving, once qualified and access through our programmes to the PADI continuing education system.

Scuba diving and the PADI system is at the centre of what we do, BUT we are clear that there is far more than just diving. We offer 24/7 support to our programme members from the moment they sign up to their Open Water expedition. They receive that support pre their expedition, during their diving experience and then post diving, when they come home through our Buddy Peer Support Scheme.

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There is an observable and often dramatic down turn in the psychological well being of programme members on return from an expedition and that is when the support system kicks in. This involves actively supporting programme members difficult times and getting them to focus on their next diving experience.

Danny Martin has said we hold the hand of those we work with and hold it until they are ready to let go and as the majority of observers are now commenting we do this through creating a family atmosphere, the Deptherapy family. That is what turns lives around, diving and a close, family support network.

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Our family is; our volunteers, our board of trustees, our patrons and associate directors and most importantly our programme members. Each programme member is an individual and is treated as such. We develop an action plan for each. Their strength is Deptherapy's strength, the strength of the whole is their strength. If an individual is struggling to cope the support of their fellow programme members is touching and humbling

Yes our work has saved lives, ask Chris Middleton and some of the other guys, it has changed the lives of all those we work with. BUT it is not a miracle cure as I am afraid an increasing number of people are suggesting.

As a charity we invest heavily in mental health training for our instructors/DMs and for our Ambassadors. We invest heavily in Safeguarding to ensure we provide a safe environment for those we work with. The physical and mental wellbeing of our programme members is our primary concern.

We create realistic expectations for them.

 

Further reading:

Scuba-psyche: Fear, pain and the sea

mcsuk.org/news/scuba-psyche

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