Back in January before lockdown I wrote a blog about walk and talk and the benefits of counselling outdoors. I have found that client’s are now asking about this and with restrictions the way they are at the moment this is a valuable option for therapists.
I have always loved the outdoors and during the 11 years that I was a registered childminder I found that the children (and myself) were much happier when they had been outdoors. The fresh air and that connection to nature can open you up to more positive energies. It heals the body, mind and soul.
So many of us have experienced a Spring like no other and perhaps been more conscious of this season, watching and taking more notice of the new growth around us. That real slowing down of our own lives has helped us notice the natural world in greater detail and helped us feel connected to something greater than ourselves. It is this connection when combined with counselling that can really help clients lower their stress and anxiety levels. I often use metaphors taken from the environment which help the client become more centred and grounded, help them be mindful of where they are in that moment and recognise that the here and now is the only moment that exists in reality. The only moment we have any control, the only moment that actually matters. Talking through our problems whilst walking out in nature can help to heal us on many levels.
Being outdoors stimulates your immune system. Scientists believe that breathing in phytoncides – airborne chemicals produced by plants- increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases. As someone who loves aromatherapy you get it in boatloads in natural surroundings. Scents like roses, freshly cut grass, pine, the sea all make you feel calmer and more relaxed. As if this was not enough you also get your daily dose of vitamin D which is essential for a well functioning body! Walking in nature can also help you to restore your focus. Exposure to nature helps us shrug off societal pressures and allows us to remember and value more important things like relationships, sharing and community.
Nestled in between the Cambrian mountains and living across the road from the beach means I am in a prime location for this type of work. 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.
Over the last few weeks I have moved to online counselling but with so many not being able to have that quiet and confidential space at home to speak to a counsellor walk and talk is an option. I will need to do an initial consultation first to assess your fitness levels to see if this way of counselling is right for you. Of course the 2 metre distance would have to be maintained and if you have any underlying health conditions we would need to discuss this as online therapy may still be a safer option for you.
I am a fully accredited counsellor with the National Counselling Society and have regular supervision. As such I am bound by the ethical standards set out by the National Counselling Society and have sought advice from them on walk and talk sessions and as such am guided by them. If you require any more information please do not hesitate to contact me.