SCUBAFLEX: ACT for Scuba Divers

A seven week group for scuba divers to learn stuff that can help us stay fit-to-dive in lots of different ways through improving psychological flexibility. Whether you want skills to help you get off the sofa and go for a run, or strategies for dealing with the intrusive “what if ….” thoughts, learning psychological flexibility skills will help you.

It’s a dry group and your participation is separate from your own diving activities. There is no dive training and no in-water practice at all, and it’s suitable for all levels and qualifications.

How it works

Seven divers meet on Zoom.

Every Thursday at 6pm [UK time / BST] , starting 29th October.

Each lasts 70 minutes.

You will also access a private online area, for you and the rest of your group, to download the programme resources (pdfs, audios, exercises) and discussion forum.

The programme costs £210, including:

  • 7 weekly sessions (small, personal groups, not webinars);
  • Access to the resources area for the duration, and for 1 month afterwards.

What will we do?

  • Try out some exercises – e.g. games for shifting perspective, skills for difficult thoughts – may bring up a bit of discomfort, these will be described in advance so you can decide whether or not to play. (A bit like in a yoga class / exercise, where you get options )
  • Talk about what we notice in the exercise
  • Work on some ways to stay psychologically fit-to-dive, for example, but not limited to:
    • what to do with the thought “I don’t feel like it” when trying to convince yourself to go for a run / the thought “just one more” when standing at the fridge or the biscuit tin
    • sit with difficult feelings like fear of failure when learning a new skill, or speaking up when concerned about the dive plan
    • step back from unhelpful worries or rumination
  • Apply the techniques to areas of your choosing, for example, to engage in your learning, improve performance, increase physical fitness or psychological resilience.
  • Select and work towards your goal, using the psychological flexibility skills.

The skills we will learn are highly transferable, so although we will be focusing on your scuba diving, you may see unexpected benefits to other areas of your life!

Requests to help the whole group

  • Access from a private space, with good WiFi connection
  • Commit to all seven sessions
  • Respectful communication
  • Start on time
  • Be present and participate every Thursday at 6pm.

Sample topics

noticing our tangles – direction of travel – willing to fall in – stop pushing down the beachball – doing what matters – hovering in discomfort -and mostly: psychological flexibility

How to join

There are 6 places for the next group (starts 29th October 2020). After that, you’ll be on the waiting list. If it’s working, then we’ll do more in future and I’ll let you know the dates. Click the button below to take you to the application form.

This is a unique and pioneering approach just for scuba divers. At present, this is the only way you can access it. It will be running 4 or 5 times per year, and with just 5 – 7 people on each small group programme. So even if you are not quite ready to join, you may want to get your name on the waiting list now.


This is a brand new programme, here is what one of the first participants had to say about it:

Diving brought out anxiety levels in me that I have never experienced before. I have been anxious about running out of air, the risk to my life that diving would bring and many other unhelpful thoughts.  I love experiencing new things and these thoughts were getting in the way.  

ACT helped me focus on what my values and realistic goals are.  It taught me some really useful techniques.  From being in the present moment through to accepting those unhelpful thoughts but not enabling them to hinder the diving experience.

Thank you scubapsyche.

– Emma Pickering

Does it help?

The programme is based on an evidence-based psychological approach called “ACT”, which stands for Acceptance and Commitment Training/Therapy. ACT is a highly evidence-based approach to helping people with all kinds of goals. It is used for mental health and more recently for sports and performance improvement.

ACT for Ice Hockey has been going for almost a decade now, but it’s only this year that I’ve set up ACT for Scuba Divers. We know that ACT is effective in tackling stress, fear & anxiety, as well as helping people to stay focused and enhance performance in sports. There is no data yet specific to scuba diving, but the areas it targets map closely on to our needs as divers.

This group was piloted in June / July 2020, and the pioneering participants found it valuable.

We’d like to check …

It is important to assess the impact of the work, and therefore I will be collecting data from this point forward to assess the effectiveness of the group. Before you begin the programme, you will be directed to a short survey and comment area. This will be voluntary. Your participation in the evaluation will be much appreciated.