What's the best way to deal with fear of water?

Dear Friends, Aquatic Professionals and Enthusiasts,
I hope that this email finds you all well and getting ready for a wonderful summer of fun. As you know I am passioante about helping "Fearful Swimmers" overcome their fear/anxiety/phobias surrounding water, so that they can learn how to understand, manage and overcome their fear of water. Today a friend of mine sent me an article from the NY Times, "Reaching for Zen with each stroke and lap", written by Jane Brody. It's a wonderful article regarding the many benefits of swiming, except the section that deals with people who are afraid of water. Her suggestion to anyone that suffers from fear of water is to enroll in water aerobic or traditional learn to swim classes. Her comments can be seen below. I strongly reject her opinions and without hesitation, can say that those two suggestions, more often than not, will only serve to make the fear worse, not better. It is exactly this type of thinking and attitude that prevents more programs, like my SOAP Program, from being included in aquatic programing as a successful resource for fearful swimmers to benefit from.
I urge you to read Ms. Brody's article on line, specifically her comments below, and send her an email with your thoughts, reactions and experiences on this very important topic. 
Thank you and "Keep Swimming, Keep Smiling!!"
The Impediments
With more than 10 million residential pools and 309,000 public pools in the country, what keeps a majority of Americans from enjoying the relief and refreshment of a regular swim?
The main obstacles are fear of the water; not knowing how to swim and breathe properly; lack of a culture of swimming; and no convenient or affordable access to a pool or body of water. Add to those an odd complaint I’ve heard from many women: a reluctance to mess up one’s hair.
Water aerobics classes can overcome most of these issues. Swimming lessons are available at Y’s and many schools throughout the country, and while it is best to start young, no one is too old to learn.
In my view, everyone should know how to swim and feel confident in the water; you never know when your life, or the life of someone you love, will depend on it.
Jeff Krieger,MS
SOAP Program Founder & Director

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