It can be more comfortable to talk through your situation while walking. Some people respond better to therapy when talking without the constraints of an enclosed room or the intenstity of another looking at you. This is a valuable alternative to sitting therapy, (face to face) as it can lead to easier conversation. Walking therapy can work for couples too.
Spending time outdoors can help regulate our nervous and immune system. It promotes mindfulness and feelings of peace. The calm of nature slows you down and can sooth the unrest of the mind, promoting deep breathing, enjoying the simplicity of nature. Clients experiencing burnout, find walking therapy especially beneficial to do an unwinding walk, to refresh.
There is a very grounding aspect to Walking Therapy, setting your own pace while being in the open air. Exercising releases feel-good hormones reducing stress, depression and anxiety, providing a calming effect on the mind and body. Walking therapy combines these powerful positive influences, while being guided by your Counsellor.
Research suggests that walking creates improvements in both mood and attention, reducing feelings of fatigue and stress while contributing to a safe space to explore your situation. After walking 71% of people experience decreased depression and felt less tense, while 90% felt their self-esteem had increased after a Walking Therapy.
It doesn’t have to involve all talking, especially since 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. It gives you the opportunity to pause, with a view to recharge your emotional battery, when in need of rekindling your sense of self, supporting the whole self.
The feedback from clients about Walking Therapy is that it works particularly well with stress, anxiety, depression and enables a more embodied experience. It allows for a greater understanding of their situation, as opposed to a purely cognitive approach.
The positive impact of walking therapy:
helps ground, lowering our fight, flight and freeze response.
increases vitality and greater awareness.
being close to nature
reflecting on a wider, transpersonal view connecting to something vaster and more meaningful.
one of the subjects that comes up regularly is spirituality.
What happens in a Walking Therapy session?
Walking therapy can be a whole or a part of a session. Together we decide what best works, what physical terrain suits you and what our focus will be, for example; on breathing, or exploring our sensory experience, or the best way to process an issue, or aspects of personal development you want to focus on; sometimes we reflect on the walking or the conversation we have had; or sit and look at what is around us, alive in our presence.
There is time put aside before and after the walking sessions to check in.