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Thalassophobia: Are You Afraid of The Sea?


A friend of mine goes to the beach with her family every summer at a small town outside of the city where we live. It’s lovely there, and a great place to swim. Everyone goes into the ocean except her dad. For years, she accepted the fact that he never went swimming, but there was always a part of her that ever wondered why he didn’t put his toe in the water. She didn’t want to assume anything about her father, but it seemed like he was afraid. One day she finally got the nerve and asked him, “Dad, why don’t you ever go swimming?” He said, “Because I never learned.” It turned out he was afraid of the water. When he was a child, his father tried to teach him to swim. His method of “teaching” was to throw his small child into the ocean. As a result, my friend’s father developed a fear of the sea. He didn’t realize that he had a condition called thalassophobia.

What is thalassophobia?

Thalassophobia is the fear of the sea. People are afraid of the ocean or sea water for various reasons. My friend’s dad associated the ocean with danger because his father threw him into the sea. He was trying to demonstrate to his son that the sea was harmless and that he could swim. It didn’t work, and her father was terrified because he was only 6 years old. He didn’t know what was in the sea. There were creatures in there he was afraid of, whales or sharks were being eaten by some scary monster. His father wasn’t concerned with that. Due to a frightening experience, he developed this fear of going near the ocean. As he grew up every time he would go to the beach he stayed on the blanket. He made sandcastles. Now as an adult he takes a good book and reads while everybody else goes swimming. He is content to zone out in his world and stay safe under the beach umbrella.

You may not know you have thalassophobia

Many people have thalassophobia and don’t know it. They make excuses to their friends when they’re at the beach as to why they’re not going in the water. They might claim to be tanning. They may say the ocean water is too dirty to go in. In reality, they’re afraid of the sea. It might be that they had a bad experience like my friend’s dad. Maybe they’ve never set foot in the ocean; they just read a book about something terrifying that happened in the sea. For whatever reason, they’re afraid of the deep blue water.

Phobias are treatable even if you’re afraid

Sometimes people are ashamed of their fears. Before getting treatment for the phobia, they might reach out for help from strangers. Some people benefit from talking to others online anonymously about their fear in addition to therapy. Phobias don’t have to ruin your life. Thalassophobia (like all phobias) is treatable by going to therapy and talking about what is so scary about the water. One of the most common treatments for phobias is exposure therapy. The person receives gradual exposure to the thing that they’re afraid of until they are no longer afraid of that. Another kind of therapy that helps with phobias such as thalassophobia is cognitive behavior therapy. The person has to understand that their thinking is distorted. Maybe they are afraid the worst case scenario is going to happen. People who are experiencing distorted thinking might catastrophize. It’s a pattern they should stop. It’s essential to learn that terrible things won’t happen if they go in the water. Honing these skills in cognitive behavior therapy is possible.

If you’re afraid of the sea, an online therapist can help

An excellent form of treatment for phobias is online therapy. If you have thalassophobia, you can explore it with your online therapist and find out the origin of the fear. You don’t have to suffer alone. There are ways to figure out how to conquer your fear and get help. No more going to the beach and hiding under the umbrella. If you want to figure out how to go swimming in the ocean without being afraid, an online therapist can help. Phobias are treatable, and you can face your fears. Getting the support that you need is possible when you work with an online therapist. Remember, what you are doing by going to therapy isn’t easy and you are strong for facing your fears.