What is walk and talk therapy? Walk and talk therapy refers to psychotherapy/counseling sessions that are held outdoors, usually at a park or trail. While more and more therapists are now offering walk and talk therapy due to COVID 19, it has actually been around for some time. Here are some articles about walk and talk therapy:
- Web MD: Walk and Talk Therapy
- American Psychological Association: A Natural Fit
- Washington Post: Why Some Practitioners of Walk and Talk Therapy Think it is Especially Helpful for Teens
Where do walk and talk sessions happen? These sessions will take place at Discovery Park or Paseo Verde Park in Henderson. These parks are easily accessible from the 215 and either Green Valley Parkway or Valle Verde Dr. We have the benefit of meeting in person while following safety guidelines for COVID 19 (masks and social distancing).
Who benefits from walk and talk therapy? Most people can benefit from walk and talk therapy. Being outdoors and physical movement has a calming, grounding, and clarifying effect on our thoughts, emotions, and bodies, which enhances the therapy process. Some examples of who may benefit are clients who:
- Are comfortable having their therapy session in public spaces and are not worried about being seen with their therapist.
- Have tried virtual therapy (video/phone) and feel it is not working for them.
- Struggle with feeling connected to their bodies.
- Appreciate the convenience of bringing their baby in a stroller while going to therapy.
- Appreciate the dual benefit of attending therapy and moving their bodies.
Do I need to be in good shape? The purpose of walk and talk sessions is therapy. While movement may be a benefit to you physically, the focus is not on exercise.
We’ll walk at a leisurely pace that allows us to talk easily for the entire 45-50 minute session. If movement or activity is difficult for you, or if you are dealing with a health or medical condition that interferes with your mobility or ability to be outdoors, I recommend virtual (video/phone) sessions.
What if I see someone I know? We will probably not attract any more attention than other people who are talking and walking together. Unless you tell someone you are participating in a therapy session, it’s unlikely someone would reach this conclusion on their own. However, prior to beginning walk and talk sessions, we’ll discuss any concerns you have about being seen and come up with a plan together.
What about confidentiality? I will do my absolute best to protect your confidentiality, however since we are in a public space there are certain risks/limitations.
There are things we can do to protect your confidentiality including: changing pace, changing direction, going to another area of the park, or going to another park entirely. I intentionally chose parks that are not very crowded during session times; have areas we can move to for more privacy; are large enough for us to change direction; and are close enough that we can even easily and quickly drive to another park if needed. If someone we know approaches us, we can avoid introductions and politely excuse ourselves from the conversation.
You are always free to disclose or not disclose that you are in a therapy session, and I will always follow your lead and follow the plan we have discussed previously. I will make every effort to preserve your confidentiality and privacy during your walk and talk session, and if we should come into contact with a person that I know, I will uphold your confidentiality as well.
What if there’s inclement weather? We might be able to grab umbrellas and/or jackets and go on the walk anyway, or we may be able to sit in a covered area like a picnic table. We could also park our cars in such a way that we can talk to each other from our vehicles. We’ll be flexible and creative, and find a way to meet, including meeting virtually (video/phone).
What should I wear for our session? I recommend comfortable clothes/workout apparel and walking/tennis shoes that you don’t mind possibly getting dirty. There’s a possibility we could find ourselves sitting on benches, at a picnic table, or on the grass. It’s also helpful to have sunglasses and a hat/visor in case our walk takes us out of the shade for an extended period of time.
COVID 19: Please bring a mask. If you do not have one, I will provide one for you. I will also have hand sanitizer available. Depending on many factors (distance between us while we’re walking or seated, wind direction, etc.) we may wear masks to ensure safety.