We can survive for about three weeks without food, about 3 days without water but only about 3 minutes without breathing.  Being unable to breathe triggers an incredibly powerful surge of physical and emotional resources as our drive to survive kicks in. Losing consciousness (or even coming close) as a result of not being able to breathe is a truly terrifying, traumatic experience. It may be due to choking, suffocation or drowning, but once it occurs, it is never forgotten.

For someone who has experienced a near-drowning, any situation that is a strong reminder of that experience can provoke intense, irrational fear. Even standing in waist deep water can produce overwhelming fear.

Fortunately, effective techniques have been developed to help people recover from traumatic experiences. Some examples include: Brainspotting and Somatic Experiencing (SE).  They have mostly been developed from work with American military veterans who have returned from combat with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but have been successfully applied to other kinds of traumatic experiences like motor vehicle accidents, assaults, workplace accidents, natural disasters, falls and many others.

Dr Michael Booth is a psychotherapist who specialises in using Somatic Experiencing (SE) to help people overcome the effects of a traumatic experience. Dr Booth says “Somatic Experiencing is a very gentle process which breaks the connection between the memory of an event and the emotions that occurred at the time.  A person can then re-experience a similar situation without the fear arising. Near-drownings can usually be treated with relatively few sessions.”

To find out more about Dr Michael Booth and his services click here.