Have you ever considered walk and talk therapy?
There are many different ways to approach therapy, and many therapists use a blend of modalities to best support their clients. Walk and talk therapy is an option that some therapy practices offer to provide another option for healing. Some people find it easier to open up and talk about difficult or uncomfortable things when they’re moving.
What is walk and talk therapy?
Walk and talk therapy is a therapy session that takes place while walking or hiking with your therapist, instead of in a therapy room indoors. Instead of sitting down together, you and your therapist take a walk for the duration of your session, and you discuss what you want while you’re walking.
Walk and talk therapy can be helpful, but it’s not always the right fit for everyone. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, walk and talk therapy might be a natural fit for you. Other folks who find walk and talk therapy helpful are people who have a lot of excess energy during therapy sessions or who don’t feel comfortable sitting still.
People who prefer to talk while sitting side by side instead of face to face also find walk and talk therapy to be helpful, since you’ll be walking next to your therapist instead of facing each other and having to make eye contact. These adjustments can make it feel safer for you to open up and talk about vulnerable topics.
The benefits of walk and talk therapy
Walk and talk therapy has many benefits, which is why it’s helpful for so many people. We are all different, so what feels helpful to one person won’t feel helpful to another, and that’s okay. That’s why we have so many modalities to draw from in therapy – so we can find the right If you’re interested in exploring walk and talk therapy, it can help you with:
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you want to say in therapy. Some of our clients have noted that they feel more comfortable in nature. When you feel more comfortable, you might feel more able to open up and find what you want to say. Walking while talking during therapy can help you to feel unstuck when confronting difficult issues or decisions.
Feeling connected to nature can make it easier to slow down and notice the present moment. Mindfulness is a crucial component of mental health, but it takes a lot of practice, especially in our distraction-filled lives. Walk and talk therapy offers you a chance to slow down and notice what’s going on right now around you and within you. The more you practice being mindful, the easier it will be to slip into that mindset when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Feeling connected to your mind and body
Fostering the mind-body connection is an important part of mental health. Many of us spend a lot of time in our heads, and feel disconnected from our bodies as a result. Walk and talk therapy helps connect what’s going on in your brain with moving your body.
Tuning in to the mind-body connection can help you recognize and feel your feelings which is a crucial part of emotional regulation.
Moving your body is good for you
Exercise is good for you, and not just for your body. It’s important to regularly move your body for your mental health. Regular movement helps to increase your strength and stamina, improves self-esteem, reduces feelings of anxiety and depression, helps you sleep better, increases resilience to stress, and more.
Many of us have an idea of exercise as a punishment or as a chore, but trying to shift your mindset and viewing movement as a mental health coping skill can help you reframe it into something more positive.
Improved mood + energy
It feels good to move around a lot of the time. If you deal with chronic pain or something else that makes movement difficult, movement isn’t the only way to improve your mood, thankfully. If it’s an option for you, though, walking is a great tool to keep in your toolbox to help improve your mood.
Movement, like walking, improves your mood because exercise releases hormones called endorphins, which are known as feel-good hormones because of the way they make you feel. If you’ve ever felt really great after moving your body, it’s likely that endorphins were part of the reason. Walking, and movement in general can also give you a boost in energy. The increased blood flow from moving your body and the release of endorphins can help you feel more energized.
Boost in creativity
It’s hard to feel creative when you feel stuck or disconnected from yourself. The overall benefits of movement and nature, like mindfulness, mind-body connection, and improved mood can all contribute to an increase in creativity. It’s easier to feel creative when you are relaxed and mindful of the present moment, because it’s easier to focus on what you want to create.
There are some important things to consider before beginning walk and talk therapy.
Privacy is paramount in therapy, and when you’re walking and talking outside, there is naturally less privacy than in a therapy room. Our walk and talk therapists do everything in their power to keep your sessions private even while out walking, but it’s something to consider.
You might not always be in the mood to walk and talk, but that’s okay. You don’t have to walk and talk for every session, whether it’s due to your energy levels, the weather, or something else. Walk and talk therapy is an option that you can keep in your therapy toolbox to use when it feels right. Your therapist can help you decide if walk and talk therapy is the right fit for you.
There might also be some situations where walk and talk therapy would be distracting to what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, trauma therapy treatments like EMDR may be better suited to treatment indoors.
You don’t have to walk and talk every time you see your therapist, but it’s an option you have if it feels like a good fit and your therapist offers it as an option. In our Columbus counseling office, our therapists hold sessions in the nearby Whetstone Park of Roses or other nearby parks or trails.