6.

Walk & Talk Therapy

Outdoor talking therapy is typically used to combine the conventional outcomes of indoor therapy with the known benefits of connecting with the natural world.  It is important to undertake a collaborative individualised assessment when considering therapy outdoors specifically looking at the suitability of approach based on any therapeutic goals you may have, practicalities and issues concerning safety, physical health, informed consent and confidentiality*.

What is walk & talk therapy?

It is time set aside in an outdoor location to explore what is happening in your life.  This might include talking about life events (past, present, future), feelings, emotions, relationships, ways of thinking and patterns of behaviour. 

 

It can be a space to look at coping strategies, relaxation techniques or general tools to help you feel more in control of yourself and your life.  Therapy can be helpful when you’re living with painful emotions, facing difficult decisions or to improve/change relationships.  It can help you to develop a better understanding of yourself and/or others.  

 

Being within nature whilst having therapy can be passive:

  • it’s talking therapy, but in an outside space

  • it can feel more liberating to be moving whilst talking

  • it can feel less intensive or intimidating than sitting within 4 walls

or active:

  • where we use the surroundings to enhance our therapeutic engagement

  • using nature to ground all 5 senses

  • using nature to provide symbolic interaction

  • using nature to offer metaphors connecting human strengths and values and what can be observed in the natural world

 

At a minimum you need to feel comfortable enough in the outdoor environment so that this space does not impede your ability to engage with therapy over and above that of alternative indoor spaces.  At its core, walk & talk therapy has the same aims as in-room therapy;  to help you improve your mental and emotional health.  

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM ME

  • I  complete a full risk assessment of the walk & talk location and route, visiting to ensure this is accurate and the route is as safe as possible

  • I will complete a health assessment with you so I am aware of any additional support you may need whilst we are in the outdoors:

    • physically (inclines/gates etc.)

    • emotionally (phobias/fears etc.)

  • I will bring a basic first aid kit for simple scrapes, sprains, bruises, bites, stings etc.

  • I will follow your lead if people approach us e.g. if you wish to pause or continue whilst they pass

  • I will carry an emergency contact name and number in my pocket for myself, in case you needed to raise the alarm for me

  • I will adhere to any current  Government guidelines in relation to physical distancing

  • If the weather forecast is so poor that it would interfere with the therapeutic quality of our session or make it unsafe, I will offer you to move our session to my indoor base or via remote session

GUIDANCE FOR YOU

  • Please observe and action the guidance outlined in my Covid-19 Protocol

  • Please come alone (unless pre-agreed that you are accompanied)

  • Please arrive promptly so we can maximise our appointment time

  • I request full disclosure on any medication or treatment for your physical health

  • I ask you to take responsibility for bringing any medication with you (e.g. inhalers, epipen, piriton etc)

  • Please come prepared with suitable clothing, including footwear, for walking outside in different weather conditions e.g. layers, waterproof clothing, sturdy shoes, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses etc.  Feel free to bring a drink with you

  • You will set the pace at which we walk, so it allows you to talk and reflect.  We can pause to sit down on benches or at other points along the route that you wish to take some time or rest.  The pace will dictate how many times we undertake the full route

 

 

* https://www.bps.org.uk

 

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