Conducting therapy outdoors rather than in the traditional counselling room has been catching on in recent years, both in the US and over here in the UK. It was something I had always envisaged doing when I started my training - it seemed to make so much sense to me. I know I feel better when I make time for getting exercise in the fresh air. I think most of us can relate to that sense of wellbeing we feel when we disconnect from the manic world around us and escape into nature.
So how about combining all those benefits with counselling? Counselling and psychotherapy usually take place in a room, with both the counsellor and client sitting down. My practices in Godalming and Guildford are at The Eaves, rooms dedicated to counselling. For many people, counselling rooms contribute to the creation of safe space, in which clients feel able to explore the issues concerning them. For some, however, this can feel very daunting. The prospect of sitting opposite a stranger (albeit a qualified one!) can be so anxiety-provoking that it discourages an individual from seeking help in the first place.
Walk and talk therapy allows the client and counsellor to walk alongside each other. This can feel more natural and less intimidating. Walking together, moving forward, can enable very significant work to be done as that progress can be echoed in the counselling process.
Getting outdoors improves our serotonin levels, which in turn has a beneficial effect upon how we feel, helping to reduce stress. My blog post 'Pleasure and Contentment' covers this in more detail. To truly unplug from the digital world and immerse ourselves in nature encourages us to feel a sense of connectedness that may otherwise be lacking in our lives.
On a more pragmatic level, it is also a great option if someone is keen to make changes to a number of areas of their life, including developing a more active lifestyle. Free time is such a rare commodity these days, so combing two beneficial activities can be a real time-saver!
I work with clients in a number of locations in the Surrey Hills, such as Blackheath or Leith Hill. If you are interested in walk and talk therapy, contact me to arrange a free initial consultation at either my Godalming or Guildford practice. There we can discuss whether it is something that could help you.