Do you scuba dive?

Think, for a moment, how does it make you feel?

I don't know about you but  when I first tried diving I was so nervous I couldn't sleep the night before! Getting under the water, put me in a state of awe , I just could not believe what I was seeing.  Afterwards I thought it was the most incredible thing I've ever done.  (And 15 years later, I still do!)  

Learning to dive gave me a confidence that I could do things that I'd previously thought impossible.  It changed the way I see the world and myself.  

Yes, somedays it's frustrating, not being able to do something or struggling with a skill.  Occasionally there is scary stuff to deal with. But mostly, diving feels amazing and I am curious to learn why that is!

"Don't you think it's strange that we learn all about how to use the scuba kit and yet nothing about how the scuba diver works?"

Sometimes I had problems ...

... or I didn't understand what made divers do what they did!

Ever since I started diving, I've explored the psychological aspects.  Sometimes I had problems, like struggling to get down, even though I was correctly/over-weighted or making mistakes with navigation. I also noticed other divers doing (weird!) things like jumping in the water without checking kit or swimming off in the wrong direction.  Each time I had a problem like this, I turned to my knowledge of psychology.  There was always something to help me to understand.  

When I started out as a diving professional in 2012, I saw even more issues! So many things that student divers would have trouble with.  Getting stressed and anxious, panicking or just really struggling to do the skills.  Again, I was able to apply psychology to help them overcome problems.

Psychology supports scuba diving

Over the years I've frequently turned to psychology to help in undertanding my diving experiences, here are some ways that psychology complements scuba diving:

  • What we can learn from underwater experiences (including mistakes!)

  • How the brain works underwater & what this means for us as divers

  • Why we struggle with some aspects of diving & how to overcome difficulties

  • Ways to improve scuba skills & get more from courses

  • How scuba diving makes us feel

  • Ways that diving can change us & the way we view ourselves

Instructor & Course Creator Dr Laura Walton

Diving since 2007, Laura is an active scuba diver and instructor (& Clinical Psychologist in the UK) with range of experience from low visibility, cold water dives to tropical locations and the various challenges different sites offer. Her perspective in training is influenced by 20 years of studying psychology & 7 years as a diving professional. Alongside this she previously co-managed an active dive club and school in Scotland, and has experience of the dive industry and community. Laura holds multiple relevant qualifications including PADI Master Instructor, DDI Instructor, EFR Instructor & DAN Instructor. With her interest in diving psychology and physiology, she seeks to learn more through research and to share understanding through creation of unique courses that help divers to be physically, mentally and emotionally fit-to-dive.

Get knowledge

Discover psychology theory and research

Do you like physical copies to read? Or do you prefer to learn by listening or watching lessons? Perhaps you prefer to highlight and make notes on paper? In this course, multi-media lessons allow you to learn in whatever way works for you. You can also download audios and course notes, they are yours to keep!
psychology for scuba divers downloads

What will you learn?

Topics to build your understanding of psychology in scuba diving. Use this awareness to navigate your future diving and training. (BTW: Check out the lessons by clicking the drop down arrows.)

    1. Welcome!

    2. Getting Started

    3. Orientation Video

      FREE PREVIEW
    4. Map of the course

      FREE PREVIEW
    5. Say hello !

    1. > NOTES (reading): Introduction

    2. > NOTES (audio): Introduction

    3. < OPTIONAL REFLECTIVE WORKSHEET: Think about your Psychology

    4. | LESSON 1.0 | Different ways of thinking

    5. | LESSON 2.1 | What is a psychological model?

    6. | LESSON 2.2 | Psychological Models

    7. | LESSON 3.0 | Where have you seen psychology in scuba diving?

    8. | LESSON 4.1 | Why we do what we do

    9. | LESSON 4.2 | A five area model

    10. | LESSON 5.1 | Thinking about mindset for learning

    11. | LESSON 5.2 | Helpful mindset

    12. * QUIZ * Psychological Models

    13. / Quick Feedback /

    1. - Innerworld in Water I -

      FREE PREVIEW
    2. > NOTES (reading): Innerworld in Water I

    3. > NOTES (audio): Innerworld in Water I

    4. < OPTIONAL REFLECTIVE WORKSHEET: Think about your Innerworld in Water I

    5. | LESSON 1.1 | Inner states

    6. | LESSON 1.2 | Our inner states

    7. | LESSON 2.1 | Systems for affect regulation

    8. | LESSON 2.2 | Three systems: "safety", "connection" & "drive"

    9. | LESSON 2.3 | The "safety" system

    10. | LESSON 2.4 | The "connection" system

    11. | LESSON 2.5 | The "drive" system

    12. | LESSON 3.1 | What is panic?

    13. | LESSON 3.2 | The fight or flight response

    14. | LESSON 4.0 | Panic in scuba diving

    15. | LESSON 5.1 | Can we control our internal states?

    16. | LESSON 5.2 | Breathing for scuba divers

    17. | LESSON 5.3 | Anatomy of breathing

    18. | LESSON 5.4 | Breath control

    19. | LESSON 5.5 | Practicing deep, slow breathing

    20. * QUIZ * Innerworld in Water I

    21. / Quick Feedback /

    1. - Innerworld in Water II -

      FREE PREVIEW
    2. > NOTES (reading): Innerworld in Water II

    3. > NOTES (audio): Innerworld in Water II

    4. < OPTIONAL REFLECTIVE WORKSHEET: Think about your Innerworld in Water II

    5. | LESSON 1.1 | Think about thinking

    6. | LESSON 1.2 | Looking at thoughts I

    7. | LESSON 2.1 | Making sense of the world around us

    8. | LESSON 2.2 | "Bottom-up" and "Top-down"

    9. | LESSON 2.3 | Filling in the gaps

    10. | LESSON 2.4 | The "blind-spot" experiment

    11. | LESSON 3.1 | Are you paying attention?

    12. | LESSON 3.2 | Attention is like the beam of a dive torch / flashlight

    13. | LESSON 3.3 | Moving your attention

    14. | LESSON 4.0 | When perception goes wrong!

    15. | LESSON 5.0 | Our senses and perception underwater

    16. * QUIZ * Innerworld in Water II

    17. / Quick Feedback /

    1. - Abilities Under Pressure -

      FREE PREVIEW
    2. > NOTES (reading): Abilities under pressure

    3. > NOTES (audio): Abilities under Pressure

    4. < OPTIONAL REFLECTIVE WORKSHEET: Think about your Abilities under Pressure

    5. | LESSON 1.1 | Get to know your brain a little

    6. | LESSON 1.2 | Six things worth knowing about your brain

    7. | LESSON 2.1 | What is a "neuropsychological" process?

    8. | LESSON 2.2 | A neuropsychological process: memory

    9. | LESSON 2.3 | How do our abilities change underwater?

    10. | LESSON 3.1 | Information overload

    11. | LESSON 3.2 | Task loading

    12. | LESSON 4.1 | What is happening now and next?

    13. | LESSON 4.2 | Situational awareness

    14. | LESSON 5.0 | Recommended diving practices

    15. * QUIZ * Abilities under pressure

    16. / Quick Feedback /

    1. - Deeper Darker Further -

      FREE PREVIEW
    2. > NOTES (reading): Deeper Darker Further

    3. > NOTES (audio): Deeper Darker Further

    4. < OPTIONAL REFLECTIVE WORKSHEET: Think about your Deeper Darker Further

    5. | LESSON 1.1 | Why dive?

    6. | LESSON 1.2 | Motivation & reward

    7. | LESSON 2.0 | What motivates divers to go to extremes?

    8. | LESSON 3.1 | Explore narcosis

    9. | LESSON 3.2 | What is narcosis in diving?

    10. | LESSON 3.3 | Experiences of narcosis

    11. | LESSON 4.0 | What is stopping you?

    12. | LESSON 5.1 | When a dive goes wrong

    13. | LESSON 5.2 | Chain of thought

    14. | LESSON 5.3 | Interrupt the chain?

    15. | LESSON 5.4 | Looking at thoughts II

    16. * QUIZ * Deeper Darker Further

    17. / Quick Feedback /

Details:

  • £57.00
  • 125 lessons
  • 3.5 hours of video content

Read reviews

Not sure if this is for you? See what previous students thought ....

5 star rating

Learn something new about your scuba diver self!

Natalka MacKay

I looked forward to every chapter of this course! So many useful and practical applications for all scuba divers of all levels. You learn so much about why...

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I looked forward to every chapter of this course! So many useful and practical applications for all scuba divers of all levels. You learn so much about why we do what we do, what affects our decisions and why our reactions to certain situations are different when we are underwater. Everyone will learn something new about themselves and have plenty of opportunities for self reflection. Take this course, you won't regret it!!

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5 star rating

Amazing illumination of we do as divers, but this materia...

Harvey Sinclair

Laura's material is new knowledge about our love for diving. She goes into why we do what we do, what drives us, what we can do to better ourselves. This ...

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Laura's material is new knowledge about our love for diving. She goes into why we do what we do, what drives us, what we can do to better ourselves. This not a lesson in the science of psychology, but a field in itself connected to our needs and wants about our beautiful pursuit. I loved this course, and can't wait to experience a new awareness next time I dive, and take on more courses. Laura has coupled her professional knowledge with her passion for scuba creating a great course, in simple jargon. Thank you again H Sinclair London

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5 star rating

Great course for diving and for life

Jennelle Dupuy

I really enjoyed this course. I learned (or re-learned) lots about how our brains work, both above & below the water. I learned about stress, how it af...

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I really enjoyed this course. I learned (or re-learned) lots about how our brains work, both above & below the water. I learned about stress, how it affects our learning, more on the mechanics of how it affects us physically & in our decision making. The course made clearer for me the impact of the social connections we make through diving, and reinforced for me the value of diving in my life and how is has positively impacted me in many ways. I would recommend this as a definite must-do for all those wanting to be Instructors, and even for DMs. Knowledge is power and being aware of all the non-diving influences (psychological) is a really powerful tool. Finally, I think this course will benefit me in other areas of my life, such as in how I learn things in the future. Thanks very much, Laura

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5 star rating

A beautifull course for human feelings, and not only !

Darco Azarmaneche

Thank you Dr. Laura Walton for a very nice introduction into the psychology. We had a lot of videos, testimonials from divers, very good study cases and c...

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Thank you Dr. Laura Walton for a very nice introduction into the psychology. We had a lot of videos, testimonials from divers, very good study cases and comments from you Laura, honestly, because we wrotte a lot ;O) The course is really well described and adapted to the divers, to all levels, not only for the beginners, I mean recomanded for divemasters and instructors who wanted to perform an enjoyable carrier, teaching more. We all noticed after this course, and at least we all said it once in our minds : "why nobody told me about that ?". Because for sure, all our dives could be more easy, more safe, more funny, no matter if on fun dive or teaching students, on the boat, at the dive center. So I am very happy I had the time and opportunity to participate to your course. From now the approach is going to be much efficient, not only to correct myself, but to also realise if a diver is not welcomed in a group, even if I am not part of the group. I mean more care. Kind regards, Darco

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5 star rating

Valeria Lo Bue

5 star rating

Great course

Nicki Maglione

I've really enjoyed studying this course. It's taken me probably a month to complete the e-learning doing about 3-4 hours of study (about 2 sections) a week....

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I've really enjoyed studying this course. It's taken me probably a month to complete the e-learning doing about 3-4 hours of study (about 2 sections) a week. It's drawn on a lot of concepts I've come across previously in my academic psychology studies but applied them in a new way to diving. It's given me a lot to think about both as a diver and instructor and I hope to take a lot of what I've learnt back to my club to implement in our training and club culture. Thanks Laura! I hope to be able to complete the workshop and get the full qualification soon :)

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5 star rating

Informative and insightful, a really interesting course

Faye Wilde

This is a great way to learn more about what we do as divers and why. The course offers some great insight into our thought processes, actions and reactions....

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This is a great way to learn more about what we do as divers and why. The course offers some great insight into our thought processes, actions and reactions. The application of various psychological theories to our diving world makes this relevant for all levels of diver, so that we may better understand our own behaviour and that of other divers. The course gave me a lot to think about to enhance mine and my buddies' diving experiences, highly recommended.

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5 star rating

well worth the time

Kerry Morgan

Laura's course Psychology for Scuba Divers is great for not only the new diver who is experiencing this amazing world for the first time but also for the exp...

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Laura's course Psychology for Scuba Divers is great for not only the new diver who is experiencing this amazing world for the first time but also for the experienced diver who might have had a stressful situation cause them to re think how they conduct themselves in and out of the water. The course material was very well thought out and presented. Thanks Laura

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5 star rating

I love it!

SEBASTIEN BOUTHILLETTE

I love this course. I wish it was part of the normal offering of all diving agency. It is well put together and if you do the exercises and actually reflect ...

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I love this course. I wish it was part of the normal offering of all diving agency. It is well put together and if you do the exercises and actually reflect on and apply what is in the course, it is very helpful in bringing your diving to the next level!

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5 star rating

Great course

David Liew

I’m a novice to psychology but the course’s structure and content was easy to follow.

I’m a novice to psychology but the course’s structure and content was easy to follow.

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5 star rating

Simply fantastic!

Kevin Coffey

It's hard to summarize all of the incredibly useful parts of this course, so let me just say that it was fascinating and well-executed and has given me a lot...

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It's hard to summarize all of the incredibly useful parts of this course, so let me just say that it was fascinating and well-executed and has given me a lot to think about that will make me a better diver. Can't recommend this course enough!

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5 star rating

It is all in your mind or soul.

Derek Moore

If you have ever wondered why people learn differently to others or act differently to the varying teachings in diving, then this course will explain it all....

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If you have ever wondered why people learn differently to others or act differently to the varying teachings in diving, then this course will explain it all. It opens your mind to a different pathway of thinking and teaching. It won’t make you a better teacher, but it will show you where you may be going wrong and how you can change your mode of thinking and approach to teaching. After all we are all human and different.

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5 star rating

Just take it...

Todd Taylor

Exceptional class learned a lot about myself and others. The class pays for itself when you transfer the information gleamed to your time in the drink.

Exceptional class learned a lot about myself and others. The class pays for itself when you transfer the information gleamed to your time in the drink.

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5 star rating

Brilliant...

Rolf Hakenes

An excellent course presenting the important psychological aspects and influencing factors on diving. In my opinion this should be considered much more in d...

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An excellent course presenting the important psychological aspects and influencing factors on diving. In my opinion this should be considered much more in diving training as it is done today, because especially diving tends to produce many situations, which cannot be handled solely by physical abilities. There are a lot of feelings and thoughts involved, especially fear, stress, overload of tasks, but also euphoria, wellness and relief. All in all I think the psychlogical aspects affect much more, whether someone enjoys diving or not. I am very happy I took this course, even if it was, due to the geographical distance to scotland, without any practical experience. So please keep on doing this, Laura!

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5 star rating

Excellent learning resource

Wayne Budgen

I was unprepared for the depth and breadth of work that Laura has put into this course. The educational resources were very good, the online learning platfo...

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I was unprepared for the depth and breadth of work that Laura has put into this course. The educational resources were very good, the online learning platform was conducive to a good learning environment, and the content was very interesting and useful. As an instructor with experience at times it is difficult to find courses that maintain your interest. This is definitely not the case here. I encourage new and experienced divers and instructors to partake of this course as there is a great deal to learn from it.

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5 star rating

Insightful and Rewarding

Emma Pickering

I saw this course advertised on social media, and it immediately got my attention as I enjoy psychology. From the onset, I couldn't tear myself away from t...

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I saw this course advertised on social media, and it immediately got my attention as I enjoy psychology. From the onset, I couldn't tear myself away from the course. I have enjoyed it from start to finish; every video, worksheet and discussion board. I highly recommend

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5 star rating

Fantastic

Katarina Martin

I thought the amount of detail each subject went into was brilliant. Reading other peoples experiences and discussions really helped me in grasping the conce...

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I thought the amount of detail each subject went into was brilliant. Reading other peoples experiences and discussions really helped me in grasping the concept of each topic. A really well thought out course.

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5 star rating

Fascinating Course

Kerrie Eade

I have really enjoyed working through the eLearning - I've spotted how to apply it to my own diving as well as my own teaching and made notes of the salient ...

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I have really enjoyed working through the eLearning - I've spotted how to apply it to my own diving as well as my own teaching and made notes of the salient points - I can't wait for my next course to start applying them now! I'm very much looking forward to the practical session with Laura tomorrow too. The videos were fun to watch, highly informative, a great length to keep you interest and attention, and very well though out.

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5 star rating

Emma Harris

5 star rating

Psychology for Scuba Divers

Rachel Collington

Very informative course that really helps you appreciate how and why people behave as they do in certain situations. Also very interesting to understand how ...

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Very informative course that really helps you appreciate how and why people behave as they do in certain situations. Also very interesting to understand how we learn as individuals and how we feed off each other in groups. Requires concentration over fairly long period, I found, to get the most out of the course. Worth the effort with lots of references for anyone wanting to study this topic further.

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5 star rating

Eye opener

Natasja Zoon

This was such a great course to follow. It gave me a good insight in my own past behavior and will help me in the future. Moreover I think it will be very us...

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This was such a great course to follow. It gave me a good insight in my own past behavior and will help me in the future. Moreover I think it will be very useful once I start to help out instructors with courses and any other activity I will perform in the role of divemaster.

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star rating

5 star rating

Besides Rescue dive course - one of the best courses ever

Inge Delzotto

I liked the course a lot! Very informative, complex psychology topics broken down into small learning units, great videos, easy to understand, huge relevance...

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I liked the course a lot! Very informative, complex psychology topics broken down into small learning units, great videos, easy to understand, huge relevance for enhancing diving know how, great for reflection your own scuber diver life and learning about yourself. Personally I think this course should be mandatory to all dive professionals (already within the IDC) but maybe it is already. During the time I made my IDC it was not. Why? Because the course showed me, that I experienced all the topics covered during my active OWSI time with students, but also as a fun diver but the course offered the possibility to put all of the experiences into great frame work. But also for fun diving it is a great course as it gives you the possibility to get insights and consciousness of yourself and your scuba diver life.

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5 star rating

Should be required for all advanced divers and instructors

Warren Dutton

This course taught me quite a bit and especially opened my eyes to a lot of situations I take for granted as a diver. It helped me appreciate the true psyc...

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This course taught me quite a bit and especially opened my eyes to a lot of situations I take for granted as a diver. It helped me appreciate the true psychology of diving and understand how to be a better diver, a better instructor, and a better student.

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Get curious

Explore your own experience

Study notes from a previous student. I love this photo, because it captures their excitement and curiosity as they learned about the psychology of scuba diving. It reminds me of creating the course and discovering ideas that could help. In the course you are encouraged to explore these ideas for youself. Take notes in any way that works for you.
psychology for scuba divers study notes

Start exploring!

Dive deep into your scuba experience and get more from your diving with psychology for scuba divers!

Questions?

Check out any concerns you have before enrolling ...

  • What if I change my mind and want a refund?

    If you take a look at a few lessons and realise the course is not for you, let us know. If you ask within a few days and have not completed more than a couple of lessons, then a no-quibble refund is available.

  • I really struggle with mask skills (or buoyancy, or something else) will this course help me?

    I want to be clear that this course is not a prescriptive coaching package, and cannot replace a good scuba instructor. And it is definitely not a quick fix! However, the course sets a foundation for what we need as divers to learn and progress. Many previous students tell me that this deeper understanding has helped them to overcome difficulties. We suggest you check out the reviews to see how it may help you.

  • I'm a tech diver, will this be too basic for me?

    Quite a few tech divers take this course and report that they learn things that were not covered in any of their courses. We do not get into complex dive planning or nuanced effects of partial pressures on the brain (partly because there is little research on that) but we do highlight important concepts for performance. Take a look at the curriculum and see what you think. Given the cost of this course, if there is one thing in here you learn that saves a single dive tech dive, then you've broke even already.

  • I learned to dive with PADI (or BSAC, or SSI, or CMAS, or RAID, or TDI/SDI) can I take this course?

    Any scuba diver can take this course. It is not especially specific to agency and fits with the common approaches to dive training. It is written to be the eLearning for PADI Psychological Diver, an approved specialty course. However it works well as a stand alone to complement your scuba diving journey.

  • How much time will this take?

    The course is self-paced, so you can study however you wish. It's estimated at 7-14 hours, but that really depends on how deep you dive into the research. Finish it all in a weekend, or spread it over a year. Whatever works for you.

  • Will I get a certification?

    You will receive a certificate of completion for your own records. If you wanted to receive the full PADI Psychological Diver speciality (and therefore eCard) then there is a bit more to do. Although you do not get a diving certification for "Psychology for Scuba Divers" you are likely to discover things that will assist you in gaining various diving certifications.

  • But I'm not in the UK, can't I pay in dollars?

    The course fee is set in British pounds. You can check how much this will be with a currency converter. Or just Google "57 GBP to USD" or your own currency. The pound is pretty weak at the moment, so it could be you get good value! The payment platform is secure and international.