First ever Deptherapy Education Professional Instructor Course held

Divecrew, the Crowthorne-based PADI 5 Star & Gold Star IDC Dive Centre, has held the country’s first Deptherapy Education Professional Instructor Course at Edgbarrow School and Eagle House School.

The course boasted guest speakers Chris Middleton (bi-lateral leg amputee), Dean Upson (Complex PTSD) and Dan Richards (arm amputee), all of whom were injured in Afghanistan.

Divecrew is the only Deptherapy Education Gold Star & IDC Centre in the UK, training main stream scuba diving instructor’s adaptive teaching methods. Deptherapy has identified that teaching troops with life-changing injuries can break them free of pain, assist with their rehabilitation and refocus their lives and outlook on life.

The troops gave honest, touching and humbling accounts of how scuba diving has changed their lives and their outlook on life completely. Dean Upson, an ex-bomb disposal officer who suffers from severe and complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cannot be in the same room as an amputee as it triggers his PTSD nightmares. It is very rare that Dean sleeps without nightmares and he admits he has contemplated taking his own life. Despite a number of physical breakdowns at the start of the course, Dean finished the course sat next to Chris.

The course was led by Deptherapy Education Operations Director Dr Richard Cullen who said: "With the support of Divecrew and their two partner schools Edgbarrow and Eagle House we were able to run the first ever Deptherapy Education professionals course. The course immeasurably moved the 12 professional students, helping them to teach those with mental or physical challenges to dive. It shows Divecrew's commitment to making scuba diving available to all, irrespective of ability and has placed Crowthorne based Divecrew as a world leader in this field."

Divecrew PADI Staff Instructor & Disabled Diver Instructor Martin Weddell said: “This is a great and true charity, no one gets paid. It does amazing work, not only with troops - it is now widening the net to remove barriers and make scuba diving all inclusive regardless of ability. This course saw mostly Divecrew Instructors and Dive Masters learn adaptive teaching methods so mainstream scuba instructors can teach the physically and mentally challenged diver too. It’s not just about severe challenges it can be adapting for say a recent limb injury, fear of water and similar. This event would not have happened without the support Divecrew have been afforded from Eagle House and Edgbarrow School and we sincerely thank them.”

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