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K.C. Wolfe
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Forest Walking

Walk and Talk Therapy

What is Walk and Talk Therapy?

Walk and Talk therapy is exactly the same as traditional talk therapy except instead of sitting in an office or in front of a screen, you and your therapist get outside together and take a walk while you meet! This form of therapy has been gaining popularity and has a variety of benefits.

Walk and Talk therapy is the same length in time as a traditional session, 45-50 minutes, and is charged at the same rate. You will set the pace and we can take any breaks as needed. Our first visit will still need to take place virtually in order to gain relevant information about your needs and goals for therapy, determine if walk and talk therapy is a good fit, and get to know each other a little bit better.

Walk and Talk Therapy can be especially effective for...

  • Anxiety

  • Stress

  • Depression

  • Rumination

  • Intrusive thoughts

  • Mood dysregulation

  • Feeling stuck

Benefits of Walk and Talk therapy

Although the focus of Walk and Talk therapy is not exercise, it does incorporate movement and can have physical as well as mental health benefits.

Movement aids in the processing of intense emotions and serves as a symbol of forward motion.

 

Exercise releases endorphins which have a positive impact on your mood as well as other neurotransmitters that aid in healthy mood regulation.

 

Moving in nature reduces stress and can have a positive impact on anxiety. Some may feel more energized naturally or more relaxed after getting out of their usual environment and into the fresh air.

 

Movement can increase mental clarity, encourage creativity, and improve concentration.

 

Walk and Talk therapy can make it easier to connect and open up for those who may feel more restless and fidgety in an office setting or have difficulty maintaining eye contact. It can feel more relaxed than sitting in an office or meeting over a video call.

Is Walk and Talk Therapy an Exercise Program?

While Walk and Talk therapy does offer the opportunity to exercise your body and your mind, it is not a workout regimen or structured exercise. The goal is not to hit a certain number of steps, burn calories, or lose weight but rather to focus on moving towards increased psychological and emotional health.

You will set the pace for the session including if we need to stop or take a break.

What if I don’t want to walk but would like to meet outside?

This is something we could do as well! We will meet in the same location as walk and talk therapy takes place where there are plenty of spots to sit and chat. This is something we can discuss at your intake if you are more comfortable meeting outside but either do not want to or cannot engage in walk and talk sessions.

Confidentiality

What if I see someone I know?

This is a possibility with Walk and Talk therapy. Before we begin our Walk and Talk therapy sessions, we will set boundaries for what to do if you see someone you know. I will never introduce myself as a therapist or counselor to anyone we encounter. If you would like to say hello to someone you know, you can. If you’d prefer not to, then that is okay too. If you’d like to share who I am, then you can. If you aren’t comfortable with that, then I can merely be an acquaintance of yours out on a walk.

What if you see someone you know?

The same applies in this situation. My focus during our session time is to support you and our session will continue uninterrupted. I will never acknowledge you as a client if somebody approaches me in public. The general public is used to seeing people walking together every day—it is part of our normal routine. We are simply two people walking and talking; there is nothing overt that states that this is a therapy session.

What about bad weather?

If inclement weather is forecasted, we can discuss ahead of time if you would like to postpone your session or conduct a virtual visit instead. If we experience unexpected bad weather during our meeting, we can find a covered area to continue our session if it is available or in some cases, if the rain is light and you would like to continue walking with a rain jacket or umbrella, we can do that as well! Some people find the act of walking in the rain cathartic or it may hold symbolic meaning and facilitate healing.

If unexpected weather prevents us from having a full session, your fee will be prorated for the amount of time we were able to meet. If we are unable to meet for at least 15 minutes, you will not be charged for the session.

Potential Risks and Safety Considerations

  • Adverse weather conditions including heat, rain, and storms

  • Decreased focus on surroundings, including hazards, conditions, and individuals who might present potential safety risks.

  • Potential limitations on exploring uncomfortable therapy content (thoughts, feelings, memories) that might be dealt with more openly in a closed private setting

  • Certain health conditions might require medical clearance in order to participate.  Consultation with your doctor before starting new physical activity is always recommended.

  • Walk and Talk therapy can be perceived as more casual and informal that traditional therapy. It’s important that clients understand that walk and talk therapy is still therapy, it just occurs in a different setting.  It's not intended to serve as athletic coaching of any kind. Also, as is the case with therapy that occurs in an office building, it’s important to emphasize that therapy occurs within a professional relationship, one that is different from friendships and personal relationships.

  • It is not advised that individuals with active psychosis, suicidal thoughts or are in an immediate crisis use this modality. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it will be better suited for you to see an in-person office-based counselor to ensure your safety and provide you with the support needed. Please call 911 or find your local mental health emergency services by Googling “(your town) crisis hotline” if you are feeling suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis.

What should I bring to my Walk and Talk Therapy session?

I recommend preparing for your walk and talk therapy session with the following items:

  • A bottle of water

  • Sunscreen or other sun protectants

  • Bug spray

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that are appropriate for walking

  • An umbrella or rain jacket

  • Feel free to bring a snack

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