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Helping Someone Overcome Fear of Water

As spring approaches, people look forward to using their pools again. Yet if a friend or loved one is hydrophobic, the pool feels like a dangerous and uncomfortable place. Many people with a fear of water have experienced traumatic events in or near pools, lakes, or oceans. They need compassion and support to overcome their fear and learn to have fun in the pool again. Today, we’ll offer some tips to help overcome fear of water so that you can enjoy your swimming pool thoroughly!

Know Where the Fear Originated

As mentioned, some people are afraid of water due to childhood trauma, but that’s not the only cause. Many people have an instinctive fear of drowning or of being unable to control their bodies and environment in water. They may fear what they can’t see below the surface or be wary of illnesses or bacteria transmitted through pool water. Sometimes children inherit their parents’ fears, so if a parent cannot swim or feared water, it’s likely their child will fear it, too. No matter where the fear comes from, validate the person’s feelings. Do not scold or shame, and do not push the person to do more than they feel ready for.

Make Sure the Pool Is Safe

If you’re going to overcome fear, the place you do so must be safe. Before getting into the pool, make sure the water is clean. That way, you can see what’s inside it and reassure yourself nothing’s there that shouldn’t be. Stay in shallow water, especially if you can’t swim or have little swimming experience. Wear swimming goggles so you can keep your eyes open. Nose plugs will help if you fear water in your nose.

Acclimate Slowly

It’s recommended that you start by dangling your feet into the pool while sitting on the edge. This teaches your mind and body that water is pleasant and may stimulate your desire for more contact. Once you’re ready, try walking around in the shallow end. To get your face used to water, scoop up water in cupped hands as if to wash your face. Splash the water gently into your face, with your swim goggles secure.

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