by Jeff Krieger
A person’s fear of water can not only impact one’s self esteem, confidence, problem solving skills and willingness to face and overcome other fears in their life, it can also affect relationships, careers and one’s physical health. The fear of water, which may or may not be the result of an actual traumatic aquatic experience or a perceived one, can have far reaching and long lasting consequences, no matter at what age it develops.
As the Founder and Director of the S.O.A.P. (Strategies Overcoming Aquatic Phobias) Program and an Aquatic Therapist, I have I have the distinct pleasure of watching my clients understand, manage and then overcome their fear surrounding water, as I help them consistently increase their Aquatic IQ. Once they learn to feel comfortable, competent and safe in water, many take the next step and plan and do things that they never would have dreamed of feeling excited or enthusiastic about doing. Aquatic activities such as lap swimming, water aerobics, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, even just relaxing in water suddenly appear on their personal radar screen. A whole new world opens up to them and they embrace it with a passion and a purpose.
Sadly, far too many people, of all ages, fitness levels and life experience, never get to feel that thrill, that tremendous sense of accomplishment, because they never get the specific type of guidance, support and resources that they need to make all that possible. Learning how to swim is not the same as overcoming a fear of water, there is a huge emotional and cognitive component that must be dealt with before a fearful swimmer can successfully concentrate and establish proper swim strokes.
Once the aquatic environment is no longer a threat, a source of huge emotional pain, suddenly children and adults alike, become happier and healthier individuals, who no longer feel isolated and broken. They become able to appreciate the therapeutic benefits that result from being in water and strive to make the aquatic world, their world.
My hope is that the Aquatic Community moves forward with a global strategy that will help reduce the staggering numbers of fearful swimmers, which will in turn , not only result in fewer drownings and water related accidents, but a windfall of money, as more and more people become immersed in aquatic lifestyles.
For more information you can visit my website Strategies for Overcoming Aquatic Phobias.