Essentially it is talking whilst walking ………… with the therapeutic element of course.
Walk and talk therapy has many benefits, harnessing the relaxing quality of nature, integrating it into the counselling process. The immune system is boosted, healing stimulated, blood flow to the brain increased …… therefore our ability to engage and connect is enhanced. In therapeutic work we sometimes focus on the parts of you that may not often get the chance to be heard and being outside and encountering nature has the potential to reach and soothe vulnerable parts of ourselves. Deepening connection with nature is physically and mentally restorative but also the combination of walking and fresh air can allow for easier engagement and process, and clients often feel more grounded moving forward while walking.
The focus of walk and talk therapy is on your process and what you are comfortable with. I work outdoors with individuals for 50 minutes, or for longer sessions by negotiation. The therapy can take the form of simply walking and talking or you may wish to sit in a particular spot, or pause at times to rest. During a walk and talk therapy session, you lead the pace just like in a traditional counselling session. The dynamic is different though, we are on the same footing, literally and walking side by side can be less daunting and release inhibition.
There are a few additional things we need to consider and agree on.
I ask clients (or their parents if client is under 18) to take responsibility for their own health. Please bring any medication with you if it might be required ie asthma inhaler, epiphen pen, etc.
Confidentiality remains a priority, we will discuss concerns about meeting those known to us and decide together how we will manage this
Do I need any special equipment? No, just wear suitable clothing for walking outside in different weather conditions, e.g. appropriate warm or light clothing, sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen etc. Please bring a drink with you
Do I need to be fit? You will set the pace at which we walk, and one that suits you and allows you space to talk and reflect. We may use benches to pause at, sit down to speak if you wish, or can rest at points if this seems helpful. I take clients from outside my home at an agreed time on a very short walk through Flitwick Wood, to the fields beyond. If you have any concerns, please seek the advice of a medical professional before starting this activity. Our agreement does require you to sign to say that you don’t have an existing health condition that could mean that walking counselling isn’t suitable
What if the weather is bad? A risk assessment will be carried out for our route however, you as the client retain responsibility for your own safety. If I make a decision that the weather is likely to make a walk unsafe or sufficiently uncomfortable, the session will be offered online or remotely. I’m happy to walk in all but the most severe of weather. It will always be your decision though if you wish to take our session outdoors.
Covid 19 government guidelines will be strictly adhered to regarding social distancing of 2 metres
Precautions Please let me know if there are any special considerations I need to be aware of, ie fear of dogs, certain environments, phobias