Walk and Talk : Headspace as Nature Intended

From the child’s first faltering step across the homely carpet, to the astronaut’s “one giant stride for mankind” over the alien moon dust, walking is the simplest but most glorious declaration of human independence.

Duncan Minshull, Beneath my Feet, 2020

The benefits of walk and talk psychotherapy and supervision

Walking offers many health and well-being benefits, adding another layer of positive outcomes to psychotherapeutic change and sustaining helpers through clinical supervision.

The functioning of the most primitive parts of the brain is typically compromised by stress and trauma – making us more susceptible to getting triggered and stuck in fight, flight or freeze stress responses. The bilateral stimulation of the steady rhythmic movement of walking calms the brain stem, and so aids emotional regulation and coping, and ensures psychotherapy becomes a ‘whole brain’ activity. In this way, walking helps you to get brain systems working as a team again and you will often find a refreshing sense of clarity, a revitalized ability to feel, think clearly and make decisions.

Walk and talk interventions can both calm hyperarousal (fight and flight stress responses), and provide opportunities for the gentle sensory stimulation and here and now awareness needed to help the nervous system ‘wake up’ from freeze stress responses, effectively increasing our ‘window of tolerance’ and capability to deal with stress. Perhaps one of the most comfortable ways to expand your comfort zone and build resilience.

The impact is often surprising and liberating, unravelling knots and unsticking stubborn areas of stuckness.

Photo by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash
Walking whilst engaging in psychotherapy essentially harnesses all these benefits, and, with my help, can activate and use many of the mechanisms used in EMDR and trauma recovery therapy. Research suggests positive outcomes are reached more quickly and are more long lasting as a result.

Quite apart from this, being immersed in nature, looking out at stunning views whilst also looking inwards, filling your lungs with fresh air, and encountering wildlife and observing the change of weather and seasons can be profoundly uplifting and de-stressing in itself.

Clinical supervision whilst walking offers the opportunity to take time out to nurture and revitalise yourself, build up wellbeing and resilience and think together about your clinical work – it can free up process and reveal new perspectives.

A lot is made of sustained eye contact in traditional therapy, but there are many people for whom this can feel difficult and overwhelming. Walking psychotherapy and supervision offers the opportunity to be side by side rather than face to face and the degree to which this can help fully overcome barriers and ‘wicked issues’ is often surprising.

So why not give it a try?

Where will we walk?

Egerton

Egerton is blessed with a network of over 40 beautiful footpaths and sunken country lanes with stunning overhanging trees and native hedgerow – it is both peaceful and tranquil.

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Egerton stands on a 350 ft ridge of Greensand 9 miles north-west of Ashford and has one of the most magnificent and easily-accessible views to the south west across the Low Weald and beyond to the High Weald, and to the north east, the North Downs.

The relatively small fields that are bordered by hedgerows and veteran trees present an attractive patchwork landscape which is enhanced further for public enjoyment by an extensive pattern of over 40 footpaths. The tracts of ancient woodland and natural springs, ponds, ditches and grass verges provide the habitat for an abundance of wildlife.

The rich ground flora of ancient woodlands – bluebells, wood anemones, ramsons (wild garlic) – all of which provide havens for insects and bees – and the bird song of warblers and nightingales. Alongside its many lanes, many of which are enclosed by hedges and banks, Egerton has a large number of wide grass verges, some with ditches containing wildflowers in abundance depending on time of year such as primrose (primula vulgaris), cowslip (primula veris), celandine (ficaria verna), bluebell (hyacinthoides non-scripta), cuckoo flower (cardamine pratensis), yarrow (achillea millefolium), cow parsley/wild chervil (anthriscus sylvestris) and wild garlic (allium ursinum).

Hothfield Heathlands Nature Reserve

We can also meet at Hothfield Heathlands nature reserve. This location offers the opportunity for more spontaneity in our walk. The space is contained with many paths and choices that can be made along the way. If you like to be in the moment and make choices as you go along this may be a great option for you. Free parking is available.

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How I will walk with you

We will meet in the office initially, conduct an assessment, and explore your preferences around inclement weather, terrain, walk length, and pacing, and any health conditions you may have that we may need to consider in planning our walks. We will agree how to handle bumping into people, we might know and how to manage your privacy and confidentiality when walking.

We will meet at an agreed location and walk a route you are comfortable with.

You will set the pace of the walk as we can build in rest spots along the way if you prefer.

How we will meet

Finding the right therapist or supervisor is really important. You may wish to have a free initial phone consultation to give you an opportunity to find out how we might work together.

Our one to one sessions will be conducted face to face, in the outdoors – talking while walking. But in the case of inclement weather can be changed to Zoom, if you prefer.

We can get started quickly and work longer term if you need to. Session fees for walk and talk one to one psychotherapy sessions are £75 per 50 mins.

If we agree to walk longer than 50 mins we will pre-agree a pro-rata fee. Session fees for walk and talk one to one supervision by walk and talk are £75 for one hour or £125 for 90 minutes.

Book your free consultation

I offer a free initial phone consultation to give you an opportunity to find out how I can help you.

Simply enter your details into the form and I will contact you to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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