Scuba Divers in North-East England completing PADI Psychological Diver

There is something I find fundamentally terrifying about teaching this course! Although the course is about theories of human psychology, it connects deeply to people’s real experiences as divers. In writing PADI Psychological Diver, every part has some connection to my own experiences as a diver. The concepts and case studies then link to the students experiences and provide ways to understand situations they may encounter in their diving. So it matters.

Then there is the challenge of covering it all usefully within a reasonable time-frame. We touch on everything from stress and panic, to effective learning and the workings of the brain underwater. We look at theories that help us to understand how social and environmental context shape our actions. All the famous psychologists get a mention and we learn that sea slugs helped us to overcome fears (sort of).

Elearning is our friend here! The Psychology of Scuba Diving walks you through the ideas and uses case examples to show where it matters to your diving. The classroom session is really a chance to review that, and talk about our experiences as divers that bring life to the theory. This matters too. It matters so much, I re-wrote the entire presentation!

What really makes this course, however, are the students. Every time, the students each bring their own experiences, perspectives and thoughts to the discussion. In many ways, each course is different.

The 29th October was no exception. Five divers, ranging in qualifications from Open Water to “about to” tech diving; warm and cold water divers and from 10s to 100s of dives. There were funny stories about the things we do as divers, for example influenced by narcosis. We considered what is is about diving that appeals to us, and also looked at some things that get in the way of being the divers we want to be.

One idea that came up several times was that of “belonging”. The way that being a diver can bring a sense of belonging to a community… or to the sea, “these fish have accepted me as one of their own” sort of thing. But also the importance of feeling welcome as a diver. Because context matters to our experience as divers. What we do as divers is as much about where we are and who we are with as it is about the individual. It makes a difference.

For most of us, when it comes to talking about diving, there is no limit! There is always something else we have to say. If you are interested in joining the next course, let me know.

I also want to add a thank you, to the students on this course, and huge thanks to Nic and James for hosting the course at Fifth Point Diving Centre.