What is Walk and Talk Therapy?
Walk and Talk Therapy is a little bit outside of the normal therapy sessions. Literally! During the Walk and Talk therapy session, both the client and the therapist walk outside as they converse. Clients often feel that being outside is a more relaxed environment than an office.
A client once said to me, “I love that you’re wearing sneakers and workout clothes too, oddly that makes me feel more comfortable!”
Benefits of Walk and Talk Therapy
This type of therapy has several benefits.
1. Research shows that walking outside enhances both your mood and self-esteem. The activity of “moving forward” can work both emotionally and physically to enhance mood and the outcome of therapy. Numerous scientific studies show the positive effects this therapy has on the brain. As you’re being physically active, your brain will start to release feel-good endorphins that may ease someone who is feeling overwhelmed. These feel-good endorphins also have the ability to decrease the brain’s perception of pain. This positive feeling triggered by exercise that most people feel is often compared to morphine. That is pretty cool!
2. Walk and Talk Therapy provides tranquility, as walking in the park can be comforting and humbling. Incorporating a little bit of movement will vastly improve the counseling session. The feeling of being outside, can be a catalyst for a person to be fully open when expressing their feelings. Some clients may have a hard time sitting down, face to face with their therapist. Being out in the open takes a little bit of the pressure off and, will allow the client’s eyes to wander as they are expressing their concerns and hopes.
3. This therapy encourages clients to be more physically active. Getting outside can sometimes be complicated in the day to day life. At one of his seminars Tony Robbin’s once said “our lives are consumed by boxes.” We live in a box, drive to work in a box, get to our boxed cubicle or office at work, leave to go back to our box, get a box of frozen food and put in another box, a microwave! This may not resonate with everyone, but many people can relate to this “box” lifestyle. Walk and Talk Therapy encourages you to be more physically and mentally active, outside of any boxes.
4. As the clientpatient, you oversee the pace of the session. You can go with either a more relaxing walk. or a fast-paced session, whichever pace is fitting to your current mood or activity level. This type of therapy will provide balance and adjust to your pace. In addition, walking outdoors allows for great metaphors that can be incorporated into our talks. For example, stepping over rocks on our path can be a strong symbolic metaphor for moving through issues or rocks we all have in our lives.
Ideally, anyone can benefit from walking outdoors. Walk and Talk Therapy has been proven to be more effective with people who are suffering from symptoms of depression, anxiety and any, life transition such as a breakup or a divorce. As mentioned above, your career may require you to be inside an office all day long, which won’t make you want to be inside during your therapy sessions. Get outdoors and start going forward!