As well as providing therapy in an office setting, I offer walking therapy. Some clients have found it particularly helpful to do therapy side by side while walking in nature.
As Suzanne Wright describes in her article, “Walk and Talk Therapy,” “rhythmic exercise, such as walking, can be conducive to the process of self-discovery.” Wright references the work of Kate Hays, PhD, the author of Working It Out: Using Exercise in Psychotherapy. “Hays cites three key reasons for combining exercise and therapy:
• It encourages a patient to be more physically active for mental and physical reasons.
• It helps a patient get ‘unstuck’ when confronting difficult issues.
• It spurs creative, deeper ways of thinking often released by mood-improving physical activity.”
Wright also interviews Cathy Brooks-Fincher, a social worker with decades of experience who has found walking therapy to be highly effective. Brooks-Fincher states, “Some patients may become anxious when confronting something difficult in a traditional seated, face-to-face interaction…Walking in parallel with visual distractions may allow for easier engagement…When I took them into an adjacent park, I found that patients were much more relaxed and the sessions were much more productive…Patients have verified that looking forward rather than directly at a therapist can help them open up.”
Wright continues: “Brooks-Fincher also praises the ‘healing power of nature.’ She says many patients consider the association of being outdoors with recreation and vacation, two very positive things that most people want to experience more…’Clients who try walk-and-talk often have very dramatic shifts in their thinking about relationships in their lives.'”
Read more of Suzanne Wright’s article about Walking Therapy here: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/walk-and-talk-therapy.