Walk and Talk Therapy
Exercise is good for the body and the mind. It may improve psychotherapy sessions, too.
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."
Debbie, one of Cockrell's patients, says she tried standard therapy in the
past but praises the benefits of walk and talk.
"In my experience," she tells WebMD, "taking four walls out of
the equation helped me open up and feel more comfortable. He plans the route
perfectly; all I have to do is follow his lead, which allows me to get lost in
my thoughts and emotions and really work it out without thinking of the ticking
clock," says Debbie who asked that only her first name be used. "It
allows me to open up more than I would have sitting in a room staring at
someone. Also since my blood is pumping, I'm more open to new ideas, my brain
is working in a different way."