Course Description


Scuba Divers DO Panic

Divers panic, or sometimes get very close.  In a panic state, people are unable to think clearly and lose control of what they are doing.  Panic is an unpleasant state on the surface but, underwater it can also be dangerous.  

Divers don't talk about panic.  The image you have in your mind of a "scuba diver" is probably not someone thrashing about in an uncontrolled state of panic.  So, if it has happened to you, you most likely wanted to move on quite quickly and find a way to make it not happen again.  

When diver's do talk about panic, we often get hooked on a single point of fault: usually either there was a kit issue (when often there wasn't) OR there was something wrong with the diver (i.e. they were anxious, did something stupid) etc.  And the conclusion is simple - "don't panic next time".  

The trouble is, you knew that already.  It is not as if you intended to panic the first time - it was horrible, of course you would not have done that if you had a choice! 

To stop it happening again, you need to know why it happened in the first place. Work out the cause of the problem and do something to fix it.  Otherwise, you can find yourself stuck. But, with few people really understanding what panic is, you may be struggling to find that explanation.  

The diving agencies like PADI, SSI, BSAC etc. have some reference to panic in the rescue level courses, and certainly for the practical skills in helping a panic diver, taking rescue training is a good idea.  But this course will teach you about what panic is and what causes it.  We look at the psychological and physiological experience of panic.  That means it is useful for any diver who is concerned about panic, and also works well as an addition to rescue diver training.

It may be that you are an instructor, and you've seen your students panic, which is a difficult experience.  You want to know how to prevent this from happening with your future students, and want to build your awareness.  

Or perhaps you want to become a better diver by taking further training, but have experienced panic on a course as a barrier to learning.  

Stress is part of diving, not only is it unavoidable, it is the stresses and rising to the challenges that help us to learn.  We can't remove stress entirely.  Instead we learn the skills we need to respond effectively to the stress.


We cannot fully prevent any human behaviour but, once we understand what triggers our actions, we realise there are a lot of things we can do to make it less likely to happen.


IMPORTANT NOTE: 

This course helps you, as a scuba diver, to understand panic, become aware of the factors that lead to panic in diving, so that you are more able to take actions that reduce the risk.

As part of this course you will receive a downloadable worksheet to help make sense of stressful experiences diving, and to identify a range of useful actions.

This is an information-only course for the purpose of diver education.  Any comments or answers provided by the course instructor are relating to general observations, experience or source references.  Professional advice on specific difficulties or psychological issues will not be provided within the course. 

For individual support or advice please see this page: https://scubapsyche.com/scubapsyche/services/consultation/



By the way, I am building this course because I meet so many people who have concerns about panicking underwater, and I know that psychology can help us to understand and prevent panic.  As a psychologist I have lots of experience of helping people overcome panic, in fact I even lectured on the topic at the University of Edinburgh.  I regularly help non-divers to overcome panic and phobia in everyday life, and I know this is something that can be useful to divers.

But, I need your help!  This is the first ever course to help scuba divers deal with panic. If you know a diver that could benefit, please share! I really think it is important that people have access to this information, because "don't panic" is useless advice.


PADI IDC Staff Instructor & Clinical Psychologist

Dr Laura Walton

A qualified Clinical Psychologist, registered with the HCPC and the British Psychological Society, I have ten years experience of delivering psychological approaches, within the NHS, to support people in significant distress. I have specialist experience of working with people with extreme dysregulation of emotion and psychosis.As a PADI Professional, I volunteer as part of a co-operative to manage an active dive club and school in Scotland. Since July 2015 I have been responsible for organising the centre's training schedule to ensure our delivery PADI courses all year round. Currently a PADI IDC Staff Instructor, I have experience of teaching and guiding in cold water, low-visibility conditions.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    You are in!

  • 2

    Why panic is a problem for scuba divers

  • 3

    What is panic?

    • Before you start ...

    • In this section you will learn ...

    • What is panic?

    • Quick Check

    • Humans are adjustable!

    • Ways to survive

    • What is dissociation?

    • The fight or flight response

    • Quick Check

    • Features of panic and dissociation

    • Getting into panic

    • Quick Check

    • Defining behaviour

    • Why people lose control during a panic state

    • Our Divers - Joyce panics in open water

    • ... now test yourself

    • DISCUSSION

    • Quick Feedback

  • 4

    What causes a scuba diver to panic?

    • Before you start ...

    • In this section you will learn ...

    • What causes scuba divers to panic?

    • Quick Check

    • Panic Triangle: Stressor

    • Task Loading Buckaroo!

    • Stressors in Scuba Diving

    • Our Divers - Dave has a stressful dive

    • Panic Triangle: Readiness

    • Our Divers - Katie's Open Water course

    • Panic Triangle: Regulation

    • Putting it all together

    • Using Worksheet A

    • Worksheet A

    • ... now test yourself

    • Further Resources

    • DISCUSSION

    • Quick Feedback

  • 5

    What keeps scuba divers stuck in panic in the long-term?

    • When panic becomes a repetitive or ongoing issue

    • Before you start ...

    • In this section you will learn ...

    • Our Divers - Jack is involved in a serious incident

    • Learning to fear

    • How panic is maintained

    • Fitness-to-dive

    • The relationship between anxiety and avoidance

    • Quick Check

    • Our Divers - Jack dives after the incident

    • Ways to avoid feeling anxiety

    • Social influences

    • Rising Panic

    • Quick Check

    • ... now test yourself

    • Our Divers - Katie goes on a dive trip

    • What next?

    • Further Resources

    • DISCUSSION

    • Quick Feedback

  • 6

    How to reduce the risks

    • Before you start ...

    • In this section you will learn ...

    • Addressing the factors that can create panic

    • Extinguishing fears, phobias and anxieties

      FREE PREVIEW
    • Quick Check

    • Our Divers - Jack addresses his issues with panic

    • The Three "C"s: comfort, competence, & confidence

    • Quick Check

    • Our Divers - Katie builds her skills

    • Essential features of learning environment

    • Our Divers - Revisiting Joyce

    • Being fit-to-dive

    • Using Worksheet B

    • Worksheet B

    • ... now test yourself

    • Further Resources

    • DISCUSSION

    • Quick Feedback

  • 7

    Psychological skills for divers

    • Invisible skills

    • In this section you will learn ...

    • Please read this

    • SKILL 1 | Deep Breathing

    • EXAMPLE A | Guided diaphragmatic breathing for scuba divers

    • SKILL 2 | Visualisation

    • EXAMPLE B | Mental rehearsal of regulator removal and recovery

    • SKILL 3 | Grounding

    • EXAMPLE C | The 5-4-3-2-1 System Check

    • SKILL 4 | Defusing

    • EXAMPLE D | Thought Bubbles

    • DISCUSSION

    • Quick Feedback

  • 8

    Being fit-to-dive

    • Before you start ...

    • In this section you will learn ...

    • The relationship between fitness-to-dive and panic in diving

    • Aspects of dive fitness

    • Bridges between body and mind

    • Quick Check

    • How stress affects our thinking

    • The stressed brain

    • Our Divers - Dave gets fit-to-dive

    • Exercise and Scuba Diving

    • Quick Check

    • What will you do?

    • ... now test yourself

    • Further Resources

    • DISCUSSION

    • Quick Feedback

  • 9

    End of course

    • Bye for now!

    • Stay in contact

    • One last question ...

    • Help prevent panic in scuba diving

Reviews

5 star rating

Thanks, Laura!!!

Julia Hakenes

In this course you learn a lot about the connection between your body and your mind and how things might add up to experiencing panic. But not only this theo...

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In this course you learn a lot about the connection between your body and your mind and how things might add up to experiencing panic. But not only this theoretical knowledge is taught in an excellent way, you also get useful practical tips and exercises on what to do in order to better avoid panic. This course should be compulsory for every scuba diver!

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5 star rating

Excellent Course!

Aaron Yates

This course is good for divers who have experienced panic and those who have not. It brings to light the process at work in a panicking diver and actions tha...

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This course is good for divers who have experienced panic and those who have not. It brings to light the process at work in a panicking diver and actions that can be taken to remove or control the panic. As the course points out being “Fit” to dive is not just a physical state. Become more aware of your buddies and your own reactionary behavior by taking this class.

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5 star rating

Insightful and relevant, a must do course for all divers!

Faye Wilde

Lots to relate to here and a great overall look at the way panic manifests itself and how to manage it. This is relevant to all divers irrespective of experi...

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Lots to relate to here and a great overall look at the way panic manifests itself and how to manage it. This is relevant to all divers irrespective of experience and has some very important lessons and tools. All divers should take this course!

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