What is Walk and Talk psychotherapy?
The short answer is: we walk and we talk. Instead of sitting in the therapy room opposite each other, we will walk side by side in the beautiful Sussex countryside. While walking at the pace that works for you and usually for 50 min, we will reflect on what is important for you at the time.
Walk and Talk psychotherapy in lockdown: In these unusual times, Walk and Talk psychotherapy is safer than being in a therapy room and is in line with government guidelines on protection against Covid-19. For example, it is easy to maintain a safe distance on the walking routes we would use, and the risk of infection in known to be much less in the open and while walking side by side than when working face to face indoors.
While we move, we often start feeling different, not only physically but emotionally and mentally too. When we feel stuck or trapped by our circumstances or roles in life, then walking while reflecting on an issue can bring a sense of release, and as a result, a more dynamic and flexible perception of the problem. You may find that by the end of the walk you feel clearer, more energetic and inspired to move in a healthier direction.
There are physical benefits too. Walking outside in the fresh air will not only help you to feel more energetic and healthier but can “restart” your mind and refresh your senses.
Walking therapy can be a wonderful alternative to more traditional meetings in the therapy room. Although for some the confines of the therapy room feel safer and cosier, for others being outdoors feels less restricting and opens up more space for self-expression.
For example, it may be easier to talk about tricky subjects while walking side by side rather than facing a therapist while sitting indoors. And for those who have tried face-to-face psychotherapy before and felt nervous or found it rather awkward, walking can help to ease the tension and anxiety.
It can also be of huge benefit to those who spend a lot of their working time sitting in front of screens. This work pattern not only reduces our mobility but it can promote emotional stagnation and contribute to related problems, such as depressed states, anxiety, physical aches and tensions.
The stimulation of the senses while walking – as we see the changing scenery and notice nature’s sounds and smells – will help us stay in the present moment. This will allow your mind to perceive your state and situation more realistically and will often reduce anxiety and fears. If you have felt down and lacking in energy, walking therapy will help you to feel more uplifted and hopeful. Regular and deeper breathing while walking is another significant contributor to our sense of well-being.
You might say that walking therapy combines the benefits of psychotherapy, physical exercise, and meditation in one!
As you can see, there are quite a few advantages to walk-and-talk psychotherapy and I am sure you will discover even more if you are minded to give it a try.
How do we do it?
We will agree to have an initial session indoors, in my home therapy practice. We will discuss what kind of walks will suit you, our arrangement for bad weather, confidentiality aspects during walking (for example, what we do if we come across other people on the walk, especially someone we happen to know). In each case, we will come up with an individually tailored plan, which will be reviewed and updated if needed on a regular basis.
Where do we do it?
I have a few routes in mid-Sussex, in and around the Ashdown Forest which are walkable in most weathers. However, we can agree to meet in other locations too, especially if you are in a good physical shape and prefer longer/more physically challenging walking sessions.