The Magic of Walking Therapy!

Sometimes, the simplest activities hold profound benefits. But walking can be as good for us therapeutically as well as physically.

Walking can be an effective circuit breaker if you’re stuck in a loop of challenging thoughts. An opportunity to take in what we see, hear and feel whilst being guided and supported.

So what if therapy didn’t have to be confined within four walls? What if counselling could meet the great outdoors?

Welcome to the world of Talk and Walk. 

The Beginning

When I was based in my busy city centre office, the seed of a walk-and-talk therapy idea was planted. In search of an escape from the crowd, the concept took root.

The idea of walking with friends and engaging in meaningful conversations sparked something magical.

Then, I went to learn more about walking therapy with Hayley Marshall at the Centre for Natural Reflection

Through this immersive training, I found a way of working that suited me and many of my clients. 

Why Does It Work?

Walking side-by-side feels natural. It allows for occasional eye contact and there’s a shared dynamic, we move forwards together.

And the outdoors, is a less formal setting that many find conducive to their well-being. Nature becomes the silent partner in our therapy and can feel like a world beyond yourself. It is an opportunity to notice the movement of your body as you take each step. The feeling of your feet as they touch the ground. The sounds all around you or the sounds of your footsteps. The sights around you as you walk.

And though any therapeutic connection takes time to establish, this shared neutral environment benefits us both.

It gives you the necessary space (both figuratively and literally) to process emotions that can feel challenging.

Is Walk and Talk therapy for a specific type of person? 

Not at all. It’s for everyone, wherever you live. Whether you’re glued to a chair all day or not, an hour outside is a refreshing alternative. A chance to move and breathe. And you don’t have to live near a national trust property to get the benefit. 

For those who may find a formal setting tricky, the outdoors offers freedom. And for those who already enjoy being outdoors, it’s a natural fit. 

Where to Walk?

Sessions happen outdoors in various Greater Manchester locations. Parks, countryside, or the city centre.

When it comes to picking the walking route, I’m armed with a repertoire of locations. I will suggest one that’s accessible for us both, ensuring the journey to the location is as frictionless as the destination.

Our first session takes place online or by phone, and from there, it’s all about stepping outside for a walk and talk or mixing it up with online or office sessions. 

But wherever we go, your session will be yours, tailored to you and your needs.

Weathering the Storm: Rain or Shine

Whether you’re fair-weather or whatever the weather, I’m led by you. We can walk even if the weather is challenging, choose a more covered location or we can reschedule if you would prefer.

But of course, the right clothes and footwear are essential – comfort is key!

Drawing, Diagrams, and my bag of tricks

Creativity and movement go hand in hand. We can sit and absorb the environment if you’re feeling burned out. If your energy is pent up, we can stomp in the mud. If you need to shout off a bridge (been there, done that), we can do that too.

And with my rucksack filled with tools and a notebook for drawings or diagrams – we’ve got it all.

For deeper conversations we can walk or we can sit. Some clients bring sunglasses if they find them helpful, and I have mats to make impromptu stops more comfortable.

I find flexibility and comfort are key to a successful walk.

Taking the First Step

If you’re intrigued by the idea of walk and talk therapy, let’s connect here. You can find out more on my Walking Therapy Page. 

Our initial meeting won’t take place outdoors; instead, we’ll connect online. We’ll conduct a basic risk assessment during this session to make our walking session enjoyable and productive. We’ll address practical considerations such as managing if our session runs over, navigating encounters with familiar faces, and scheduling walks during quieter times for uninterrupted, confidential conversations. Feel free to bring up any other concerns or preferences you may have.

Then, we can dust off your walking boots and start this journey together, one step at a time.

 

Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher

Hello, I’m Eileen Fisher. I’m an indoor and outdoor therapist and nutritionist. I offer counselling and psychotherapy for both individuals and couples, as well as nutrition advice and support around disordered eating.

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