Walk and Talk Therapy
Exercise is good for the body and the mind. It may improve psychotherapy sessions, too.
Walk and Talk Breakthroughs continued...
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."
Walk and Talk Therapy: Is It Right for You?
Numerous scientific studies have shown the positive effects of exercise on
the brain, especially for people with depression.
Brooks-Fincher says that depressed patients often "turn a corner"
when using this practice.
Additionally, anxious or grief-stricken patients are also well served by walk
and talk psychotherapy. "Because grief can be so totally consuming and feel
so heavy, having the counterpoint of being outdoors and accomplishing something
positive for one's health can provide a sense of aliveness."
She also says that relationship conflicts are where "light bulbs really
go on in terms of having a different perspective. In an outdoor setting,
[patients] are more receptive to feedback from the therapist."
Kendrick agrees. "Clients who are feeling trapped in a relationship or a
job, or who are pretending to be somebody they are not will feel a sense of
freedom" with walk and talk therapy." Hays adds that domestic abuse
patients may also benefit by "being able to frame things more
Cockrell has also found walk and talk to be especially good for his male
"I have a theory that men have difficulty with eye contact in the
office, chair to chair, knee to knee, revealing very private and possibly
painful things," he tells WebMD. "Walking side-by-side can help a man
In addition, he says substance abusers can benefit from walk and talk