A ‘Walk and Talk’ session takes the work of a counselling or coaching session into the park or the woods or another open space of your choice. Instead of seeing clients in a traditional office setting, a ‘Walk and Talk’ session combines exercise with psychotherapy and/or coaching in a 60 minute trip around your favourite beauty spot.
It is very similar to traditional psychotherapy or coaching except you are walking while you are talking about issues. I have found that bringing a little bit of movement enriches the counselling/coaching session because clients are intrigued by the idea of something a bit different and are naturally drawn to being outside and feeling more relaxed in a natural setting.
The hypothesis is that rhythmic exercise, such as walking, can be conducive to the process of self-discovery.
Here are three key reasons for combining exercise and therapy:
It encourages you to be more physically active for mental and physical reasons.
It helps you get "unstuck" when confronting difficult issues.
It spurs creative, deeper ways of thinking often released by mood-improving physical exercise.
Some clients may become anxious when confronting something difficult in a traditional seated, face-to-face interaction, but walking in parallel with visual distractions may allow for easier engagement.
Clients at all levels of fitness can benefit from fresh air and exercise when it comes to processing their feelings. Initially walk and talk therapy was used with teenagers who were having a hard time opening up where it was found that taking them into an adjacent park meant the teenagers were much more relaxed and the sessions were much more productive.
Other clients have verified that looking forward rather than directly at a therapist can help them open up. So if you want to try something a little different from the conventional counselling room why not try a ‘walk and talk’ session out in the sunshine !