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Walk and Talk Therapy

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Many of the therapy sessions with clients are in the traditional setting – my office. It’s a nice, cozy office, but is an office none the less. Walk & Talk therapy gets us out of the office & outside. 

What Is Walk & Talk Therapy?

This is where we meet in a local park & sit or walk while conducting the therapy session. Getting outdoors really changes the dynamic of the session. Clients are more relaxed as being outdoors is familiar, rather than being in a therapy office. Taking four walls out of the equation helps clients open up & feel more comfortable. Often clients don’t have the opportunity to get outdoors as much as they would like. Sometimes this 45 minute walk is the only exercise of their day!

There is much evidence that walking helps the therapeutic process. 

Kate Hays, PhD, the author of Working It Out: Using Exercise in Psychotherapy, cites three key reasons for combining exercise and therapy: 1) It encourages a client to be more physically active for mental and physical reasons, 2) It helps a client get “unstuck” when confronting difficult issues, 3) It spurs creative, deeper ways of thinking often released by mood-improving physical activity. Because of the biochemical effects of being active, a client might be able to view a situation with more clarity, more insight, and make connections which she/he otherwise might not be able to.

Numerous scientific studies have shown the positive effects of exercise on the brain, especially for people with depression. Additionally, anxious or grief-stricken clients are also well served by walk & talk therapy. Grief can be so totally consuming and feel so heavy, being outdoors and accomplishing something positive for one’s health can provide a sense of aliveness.

Walk & Talk therapy is not a strenuous workout.

It is meant to be a casual, comfortable walk. If you are huffing and puffing you can’t really talk! Clients at all levels of fitness can benefit from fresh air & exercise when it comes to processing their feelings. 

Sometimes we take a break & sit at a picnic table or the swings. When was the last time you were on a swing?! There are birds, squirrels, ground squirrels, sometimes the sound of the river, & blue sky. How much more relaxing can it get?! 

Walk & Talk therapy is done in all types of weather, but should the client not want to walk in the snow or rain, we go to my office. This is always the client’s choice.

Walking is literally moving ahead. Clients feel like they are moving forward in their issues. They can tackle things better & faster. I do not do EMDR during Walk & Talk therapy. Too many distractions for the client.

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