Walk and Talk

I recently spoke with a friend of mine who had expressed how therapeutic it was walking in nature.  She always felt refreshed when she came home and felt that somehow she felt more relaxed and had felt cleansed by the experience.  She said it lifted her mood and helped to clear her mind. This really resonated with me as I remembered feeling exactly the same way when I had personally felt things getting on top of me.  Nature somehow makes problems appear that bit smaller.  I suddenly realised that by integrating the counselling process out in nature could really benefit my clients. 

When I did some research it appears that this is not a new concept at all but one that many therapists have embraced.  Living across the road from the beach and having the Cambrian Mountains on my doorstep, means I have an ideal environment for this type of Counselling.

Walking with a therapist allows the client to express their feelings and gives time for the client to walk in silence so they can acknowledge their grief and reflect on their actions.  Being out in nature is also healthy and can offer clients a way forward.  Research suggests that walking in nature can change sessions dramatically as the client is not looking directly at the therapist and so does not feel intimidated.  Being physically active can also help release the tension you can feel when you have that emotion locked away inside you.  It can also help the client engage more in the therapeutic process.  Walking not only gives the client more physical activity but allows for more creative and deeper thinking.

The other thing that struck me was that I could work more easily with clients who have small babies and young toddlers.  Those clients find it the most difficult to get to a therapy session because of work commitments and lack of childcare and if we can walk and talk whilst the baby is in their pram/pushchair this is of great benefit to those clients who may otherwise find getting to a counsellor very difficult.  A mother suffering post natal depression can bring a baby who most possibly will sleep the whole time throughout the walk. I am also flexible enough to be able to work around the mother and baby routine so we can meet at a time when the baby is more likely to be needing their nap. 

When we walk we cannot stop ourselves from thinking and we can often get carried away with those thoughts but the trick is not to follow them, notice the thoughts and let them go.  Concentrating on your footsteps can really help to keep the mind focused in the here and now and bring mindfulness into the sessions.

The point is what have you go to lose?  If being in the therapy room is a little off putting for you or you would find it easier and more informal to be walking and talking then why not give it a try?  The first session will have to be in the therapy room so we can establish what needs to be worked with but after that we can meet for our session in a place that you feel comfortable with.  If you do have a pushchair we will look at pushchair friendly routes, the same is said of a wheelchair.  If the weather is not great we can always revert back to the therapy room  although I am quite happy to walk in all weathers.

Please feel free at any point in your therapy to mention walk and talk to me if you think this would be beneficial to you.