Walk and Talk Therapy
Exercise is good for the body and the mind. It may improve psychotherapy sessions, too.
Walk and Talk Therapy: Tapping Into Nature's Healing Power continued...
Brooks-Fincher also praises the "healing power of nature." She says
many patients consider the association of being outdoors with recreation and
vacation, two very positive things that most people want to experience more.
"We have a beautiful setting in which to do this, a public park with a
paved path that runs along a small river," she says. "There are
turtles, deer, birds, and a horse farm; restrooms and water fountains are nice
assets. Clients who try walk-and-talk often have very dramatic shifts in their
thinking about relationships in their
Licensed clinical social worker Carlton Kendrick, EdM, who is based in
Cambridge, Mass., agrees. He got his start using exercise and therapy when
working with institutionalized and incarcerated patients in the early
"When I got people walking on the grounds, listening to cows mooing and
birds singing, having to avoid a rock in the road, engaged in a multi-sensory
experience, the result was the patients were much more talkative and
Walk and Talk Breakthroughs
Movement propels people forward -- literally and figuratively.
"Something changes when people warm to this [therapy]," Kendrick
says. "They come in their body armor -- their suits -- and when they change
their clothing and when they see me in my sweats and sneakers, they loosen up.
The literal and metaphorical ability for them to move, to experience
freedom and a lessened sense of confrontation, of 'being under the microscope,'
that they may predictably feel in my or anyone's office setting.
"The comfort of a patient establishing his or her own rhythm is
secure," he continues. "And it's a subtle bond -- we are in sync,
we are on an adventure together. Being in nature takes [the session] out of my
power base and into the streets and hills. It's much more of an equal turf and
provides more parity."
Hays agrees. "At any point in psychotherapy where a patient is at
something of an impasse or if a patient is alienated, those are situations I
would be likely to offer this as a way through whatever is going on. A patient
might be able to view a situation with more clarity, more insight, and make
connections which she otherwise might not be able to because of the biochemical
effects of being active."