Walk & talk counselling - the healing power of nature & movement

I am a counsellor who works for two agencies and I also run my own private practice. It sounds like a lot but being well-organised helps to manage client work. I work face-to-face, online, and over the phone. I spend long hours sitting on the chair and having a walk or exercise is something I do regularly. Personally, I am an active person, who exercises, does martial arts, yoga, and walks. It is good for my well-being, both physical and mental health. 


For the past few months, I have been thinking about doing something different in my practice. I have done some research in my area to check if walk and talk therapy is available. Surprisingly, there were not many. The seed was planted, but because it was wintertime, I was not sure it was a good time to offer that to my clients. I used this time to prepare all the relevant things I would need to offer walk and talk counselling.

Firstly, I discussed this idea with my supervisor and she gave me the green light. I checked if my insurance provider would cover me for walking therapy, and they said they do not exclude walking therapy. I will need to do a risk assessment of the area in which I wish to walk. Plus, my agreement with the clients will need to be modified as I cannot guarantee confidentiality in a public place, nor the inherent risks associated with being in a public place such as other people, dogs etc. They do not need to see my risk assessment, but I do need to keep it as part of my clients’ records. Having this in place, I went to the local park which I decided to use for walk and talk counselling and I did the risk assessment. 

When spring arrived, I was ready to offer this type of counselling for my clients.

Why walk and talk counselling?

Walking therapy, also known as walk and talk counselling, is an incredibly beneficial approach for clients. This unique form of therapy combines the benefits of physical exercise with the power of talking through emotions and experiences.

By engaging in a gentle stroll outdoors, individuals can experience a sense of relaxation and freedom, allowing for a more open and honest conversation. The act of walking can stimulate the mind and body, promoting clarity and reducing stress.

Personally, I decided to offer walking therapy because I believe in the healing power of nature and movement. This approach helps clients gain perspective, increase self-awareness, and find new solutions to their challenges.

Walking therapy provides a refreshing change of scenery from the traditional therapy setting, which can often feel sterile and confining. Being in nature has a calming effect on the mind and body, making it easier for clients to open up and explore their thoughts and feelings.

In addition to the mental and emotional benefits, walking therapy also offers physical health advantages. Regular exercise, such as walking, has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, and increase overall well-being.

During a walking therapy session, I meet the client at a mutually agreed-upon location (park) and time, and together, we embark on a leisurely walk while engaging in conversation.

Walking side by side, rather than sitting face-to-face, or online, creates a more relaxed and informal atmosphere. This helps clients feel more comfortable and less intimidated by the therapy process. The gentle rhythm of walking is also soothing and grounding.

As we walk, clients are encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I am actively listening, provide support, and ask thought-provoking questions to help clients gain insight and explore potential solutions. Being in motion during therapy sessions, helps clients feel more energised and focused.

The act of walking can increase blood flow to the brain, promoting cognitive function and enhancing creativity. This can be particularly advantageous for individuals who struggle with concentration or need a boost of inspiration. The rhythmic movement of walking can also have a calming effect on the nervous system, allowing clients to feel more grounded and centred.

Walking therapy also provides a change of scenery from the traditional office setting. Being outdoors and connecting with nature can have a profound impact on mental health. Research has shown that spending time in nature can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, improve attention span, and boost overall well-being. The sights, sounds, and smells of the natural environment can be soothing and provide a sense of serenity, creating a conducive atmosphere for therapeutic exploration and growth.

Additionally, the dynamic nature of walking therapy can help clients break through mental and emotional barriers. The physical movement can serve as a metaphor for progress and change, empowering clients to take steps forward in their healing journey. As they navigate different terrains and encounter obstacles along the way, clients can develop resilience and problem-solving skills that can be applied to their daily lives.

Overall, walking therapy offers a refreshing and invigorating approach to therapy that goes beyond the confines of a traditional office. By engaging in a more active and dynamic form of therapy, clients can experience physical, mental, and emotional benefits that contribute to their overall well-being and growth.

Reconnecting with nature is a vital aspect of walking therapy that cannot be overlooked. As our lives become increasingly consumed by screens and gadgets, we often find ourselves detached from the beauty and tranquillity that the natural world offers. Walking therapy provides the perfect opportunity for individuals to step away from the chaos of everyday life and immerse themselves in the soothing embrace of nature.

When clients engage in walking therapy, they are not only benefiting from the physical activity but also from the therapeutic effects of being outdoors. The sights, sounds, and smells of nature have a profound impact on our well-being. Research has consistently shown that spending time in nature can reduce stress levels, improve mood, and enhance overall mental health.

Walking through a park, breathing in the crisp air, and feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin can be incredibly rejuvenating. It allows clients to escape the confines of their daily routines and find solace in the simplicity of nature. The rhythmic sound of leaves crunching beneath feet, the chirping of birds, and the gentle rustling of trees create a serene ambience that can calm the mind and soothe the soul.

Walking therapy also encourages clients to engage their senses and be fully present in the moment. As they stroll through nature’s beauty, they can take in the vibrant colours, breathe in the fragrant scents, and feel the textures of the natural world around them. This sensory experience can be incredibly therapeutic, helping clients reconnect with their bodies and the world in a profound way.

In addition, walking therapy can be particularly effective for clients who find it difficult to open up and express their emotions in a traditional therapy setting. The act of walking side by side with a therapist can create a more relaxed and informal atmosphere, making it easier for clients to engage in conversation. This can lead to a deeper level of trust and connection between the client and therapist, ultimately enhancing the therapeutic process.

I am aware that walking therapy is not suitable for everyone. There are individuals who have physical limitations or health concerns that prevent them from engaging in this type of therapy. In such cases, I offer alternative options and adapt the therapeutic approach to meet the client's needs.

In conclusion, I offer walking therapy because I believe in the power of nature and movement to facilitate healing and growth. Walking therapy provides a refreshing and dynamic approach to traditional therapy, allowing clients to engage in physical activity while also exploring their thoughts and emotions. By reconnecting with nature and incorporating exercise into therapy, clients can experience a holistic approach to their mental and physical well-being.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Coventry, West Midlands, CV6
Written by Agnieszka Walaszek, MTh, MBACP, Integrative Counsellor Aga Counselling
Coventry, West Midlands, CV6

My name is Agnieszka - Aga, founder of Aga Counselling. I am an Integrative Counsellor, who uses different therapeutic approaches such as Person-Centred, Transactional Analysis, and Gestalt. I have a holistic approach and I work collaboratively in a person-to-person way.
Registered Member 401562 MBACP

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