Walk and Talk Therapy is a new way of approaching counselling and your mental health.
I love nature. This love has been my life companion since I remember. It sooths me, it creates a sense of belonging to something wider than my own species. I feel closer to the real life, to existence, giving me a feeling that I am just a different form of it (You can check my Instagram account gaia_in_me). Nowadays humanity is often disconnected from nature even though it is a primal bond we all come from. We live in artificial buildings, work in cage-like offices and entertain ourselves using artificial distractions. Even though these aspects bring many benefits comparing to living in a cave and being exposed to predators, there is a certain point beyond which a risk of putting a strain on a mental health becomes real. You are nature and natural bond always pulls back.
If we only look at the research various studies showed positive benefits of nature on our mental and physical health. Many studies *pointed to the significant link between nature and well-being including “improved positive affect, happiness, subjective well-being, positive social interactions, cohesion, and engagement, a sense of meaning and purpose in life improved manageability of life tasks and decreases in mental distress, such as negative affect. In addition, with longitudinal studies, as well as natural and controlled experiments, nature experience has been shown to positively affect various aspects of cognitive function, memory and attention, impulse inhibition, and children’s school performance as well as imagination and creativity.” Research** further revealed that experience of nature decreases anxiety, rumination, depression , stress and sleep problems additionally showing that people who spent less time outdoors suffer with higher level of those mental issues. The vitality and creativity have also been noted to emerge after nature experience***.You can read more about it here
The Walk and Talk Therapy merges two important aspects, in depth conversation and nature that both can form a positive powerful tool for your mental health. It takes you out of the closed space that usually a therapy is performed in and exposes you to the wider set of experiences. During that time your eyes submerge into a green sea of nature and allow you to sooth a storm in your mind. That state of calmness can help you to open up more and internalize a therapy process deeper for your future benefit. The term used by psychologist Rick Hanson representing this state is called “installation” that relates to a deeply embodied experience reaching a somatic level. The somatic level is important here because we will be using techniques involving senses “that has a direct effect on increasing the parasympathetic nervous system and a heightened awareness that leads to a state of relaxation”.
Let me list you out what I offer with the Walk and Talk Therapy:
- Firstly, a session will last 60 or 90 mins (contact me for prices), the contract and confidentiality rules will be discussed and applied, please no mobile phones will be allowed to use during a session,
- we are meeting in a location of Phoenix Park in Dublin (if the Irish weather allows). This park is perfect because it has lots of empty areas that are needed for a feeling of cognitive space; usually it is not crowded and not noisy. It also has great places with trees/forest, ponds that I discovered while wandering there for hours/years so expect to discover some gems with me if you already haven’t known them,
- we are going to exercise five basic senses (touch, smell, sight, taste if we find berries, hearing) and use nature tools for meditation purposes while we stroll through the green. Meditation/relaxation does not require sitting still and not moving so you will learn how to do it in every moment of your everyday life. We will talk and walk exploring your issue however not only nature will be used to address it (the next point),
- I am mostly working with evidence based CBT tools which will be applied through a dialogue with you. To read what is CBT please click here
I will offer you some techniques to use in everyday life and offer worksheets on your request to practice. All is collaborative so your feedback is important and we can alter approach to your needs,
- I am using creativity and humour so prepare to laugh too. We will be aiming into achieving a feeling of safety first, openness and – if/when you are ready and if that is needed – spontaneity. The access to “the inner child” increases mental wellbeing and frees from unnecessary restrains****. There is no better place to open up like nature.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.
Hope I will see you In the Wild!