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Taking Therapy Outdoors

Updated: Jan 15, 2023

Have you ever wondered why talking with a therapist has to be inside an office?

Walk and talk therapy is an extremely effective way for a therapist and client to build rapport and humanize one another. Directly facing a therapist head-on might be too intense for some individuals and create an unnatural dynamic, rather than one of closeness and confidence. Some people might feel overwhelmed by the intimacy and formalness of therapy in a traditional office setting. They may find it hard to open up or get the conversation going.

Then there are children and adolescents who may have trouble sitting still and could benefit from some kind of stimulation to get them focused and talking. Children and teens may feel more comfortable when they are in parallel movement with a therapist versus facing each other and feeling like they are in the hot seat answering questions or being forced to talk.

Research has also shown that creativity, self-awareness, and emotional awareness can heighten during even light physical activity. Whether this has to do with greater blood flow to the brain, the activation or deactivation of specific brain centers, or just simple distraction, it is evident that when combined, exercise and talk therapy can produce powerful, positive outcomes.

Encouraging a client to be more physically active has other benefits too: Adopting an exercise approach can help in dealing with the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Walking boosts endorphins, reduces stress hormones and has the potential to alleviate mild depression and anxiety symptoms. Regular exercise often improves self-esteem and mood.

Your next breakthrough might come on that brisk morning walk. Therapists and clients the world over have found success using the power of physical activity and a good change of scenery. At our practice locations, we are fortunate enough to have an amazing little town with a beautiful waterfront park and we are nearby to Cold Spring Harbor State Park, both of which provide a beautiful, private and comforting environment to “walk & talk” with one of our therapists. The next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed and need to talk, try getting outside for a little “walk & talk” with a loved one, partner or even one of our therapists.

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