Walk and Talk therapy, also called hiking therapy, is an experience that combines traditional talk therapy with the healing power of physical movement and the outdoors. Instead of holding a therapy session in a traditional office or virtual space, Walk and Talk therapy is held on local walking paths or hiking trails with a mental health therapist.
What Are The Benefits Of Walk and Talk Therapy?
Physical movement and being outdoors are both beneficial in the healing process in unique ways that traditional talk therapy in an office or telehealth setting does not offer. While some clients enjoy an entire hour of walking or hiking on a Southern Utah desert trail, others enjoy sitting with their counselor by a creek or under the shade of a tree. So let’s explore the benefits of both the movement and time outside.
How Can Movement Improve Physical And Mental Health?
Physical movement often makes it easier for people to open up and talk about their feelings or problems. Do you ever get so mad or stressed that you have the urge to go for a walk? That’s not a coincidence! Some clients may prefer to walk side by side with their therapist instead of sitting across from them in an office. If you have a difficult time sitting still or are experiencing anxiety, walking creates an outlet for your energy while still allowing space for conversation, healing, and connection.
Can I Go To Therapy To Just Talk?
But what if you don’t want to walk too much? Some clients feel more comfortable opening up in a natural, outdoor setting where there are no walls. They can feel the breeze on their face or focus their gaze on the wildlife around them. Sometimes it feels intimidating to talk one-on-one in close quarters to another person. Taking the session outside can ease some of that pressure. Fresh air and being in nature also have added benefits on physical and mental health including higher levels of creativity, concentration, and mental clarity, as well as lower blood pressure and levels of stress.
Being outside also provides more opportunities for savoring pleasurable things in life, which can improve mental health and increase life satisfaction.
Is Walk and Talk Therapy Right for Me?
Like all counseling, there is no “one size fits all” and you’ll want to consider if Walk and Talk therapy is right for you. Walk and Talk (a.k.a hiking therapy) may be a great option for you if you feel more comfortable in an outdoor setting than sitting inside an office. It may be a good choice if you experience restlessness or excess energy during sessions and would like an outlet for releasing that energy while still engaging in therapy; this may feel safer for you.
Some therapists have noted that clients are more energized physically, emotionally, and mentally at the end of a Walk and Talk or hiking counseling session than a traditional office session. There also seems to be a relationship between psychological movement and physical movement, accelerating your breakthroughs and increasing insight.
You and your therapist at Guided Wellness Counseling will discuss if hiking therapy is the right choice for you. We’ll consider your unique goals for counseling and if they might be best addressed outdoors. We’ll also want to consider your physical health and safety. Rest assured, your therapist will choose locations for your Walk and Talk therapy sessions that are accessible to water fountains, bathrooms, benches, and shade whenever possible.
What Are The Differences Between Counseling And Hiking Therapy?
Because Walk and Talk therapy occurs outdoors on local hiking trails and walking paths, the privacy of the session is less controlled. It is possible for parts of your session to be overheard by other people enjoying the same trail as you and your therapist. If you feel uncomfortable at any point it’s easy to simply pause the conversation or move to another area of the park.
It is also possible that someone may recognize you or your counselor during the Walk and Talk therapy session. Before your first hiking therapy session you and your therapist will set boundaries for how you want to proceed if you all see someone you know during the session. Creating boundaries will also help you both know what to expect during an outdoor session so you can focus on the conversation. You’ll be ready, focused and not be distracted wondering when you can stop to rest, go to the bathroom, or get a drink (Answer: anytime you need to!)
If you have concerns about potentially being overheard or recognized during a hiking therapy session, Walk and Talk therapy may not be appropriate for you right now. But rest assured, we can collaborate to find a solution if you are still interested in spending your session outside . You can still take advantage of the healing benefits that come from being outdoors, while creating safety and privacy.
Is Walk and Talk Therapy In St. George, UT Safe?
Regardless of how well the trails you use for Walk and Talk therapy are maintained, there are always risks associated with being in a more natural environment compared to an office space. Sunburn, bug bites / bee stings or tripping are all physical risks with any kind of movement outdoors. Considering these risks before your first Walk and Talk therapy session can help you make an informed decision on whether it is right for you. As always, discussing these concerns with your counselor can lead to simple, easy problem solving!
How Do I Get Started With Walk and Talk Therapy Near Me? | 84790 | 84770 | 84780 |
Getting started with Walk and Talk therapy is an easy process. Just like with any of our services at Guided Wellness Counseling, we begin with a free 15-minute consultation. You can call anytime for your consultation or schedule an appointment ahead using the button below. During your consultation we’ll discuss what has you interested in therapy, such as:
- How do I manage my depression?
- How do I reduce my anxiety?
- Can I learn stress management techniques?
- What are ways to set better boundaries?
- How do I heal from PTSD and trauma?
After this we’ll recommend the best therapist on our team for you! We’ll give you all the information you need about scheduling and pricing so you can make an informed decision. Your first appointment will be at our St. George office location where you’ll meet your therapist for the first time. Together you’ll determine if hiking therapy / Walk and Talk therapy is an appropriate fit for your goals and needs. We love serving the adventurous women of Southern Utah and cannot wait to help you move forward toward your unique vision and joy.