Walk & Talk / Outdoor therapy
In addition to telephone and online video therapy sessions and in-person or face-to-face sessions indoors, I can also offer Walk and Talk / Outdoor therapy in Chorleywood (Rickmansworth WD3) near Watford, Hertfordshire. My location is within easy reach of the M25. It is on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border and also convenient for those in Ruislip, Pinner, Northwood, Watford, Denham, Uxbridge, Chalfont, Sarratt, Amersham and St Albans.
Counselling does not have to take place in a small, closed room, or online, facing the therapist, but can be carried out outdoors. Nature-based therapy, ecotherapy, outdoor therapy, walk and talk therapy are just some of the names for this style of counselling, where the great outdoors adds to the therapeutic process and yet confidentiality is still a vital consideration.
Outdoor therapy is when we go for a walk or sit in an outdoor, open space and talk. You might find that it’s easier to talk whilst we’re walking or outdoors, and feel less pressured than working indoors, but at the core is still the focus on you and what your experiences and needs are.
Outdoor sessions offer a change of scenery which can enable clients to see their issues in a different light. Research has found outdoor therapy to be effective across a range of client groups. It can be great for anyone, regardless of the issues they bring but particularly beneficial for people experiencing stress, anxiety, sleep issues and trauma because moving the body supports the burning off of some of those stress hormones. It’s also useful for people with previous negative experiences of therapy, victims of therapeutic or institutional abuse and clients who are stuck.
The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine (BSLM), believes that introducing the ‘greens and blues’ of outdoor environment can be life-changing, and interacting with healthy outdoor environments can lead to positive changes in our mental health.
As a professional and ethical counsellor, in order to take therapy outside, I need to have conducted a thorough risk assessment of the outdoor space I use, making sure that the route is accessible and you have suitable clothing and footwear. In addition, in the event of bad weather or unsuitable ground conditions which mean we can’t meet outdoors, I will also need to have an alternative agreed method we can have sessions.
I know that there are many difficulties for those using a wheelchair and for those with disabilities or chronic health conditions in accessing in-person indoor therapy. I offer outdoor spaces we can use which are accessible by wheelchair and you can choose to have a session where we will hardly walk at all but sit on a bench and talk. I always check with the preference of prospective clients.