Walk and Talk Therapy
Walk and talk therapy is what it says on the tin. Instead of sitting in front of your counsellor in a traditional therapy room, the counselling session takes place outdoors walking side by side.
It is counselling in motion, and although it is not a fitness session, it is often more dynamic than a traditional indoor session. If you have felt stuck in therapy in the past, being physically active helps release some tensions and stimulates new thoughts and ideas. It is a metaphor for moving forward.
During a walk and talk therapy session, you lead the pace just like in a traditional counselling session. Yet the dynamic is fairly different. You and your counsellor are on the same footing, literally. Walking side by side can be much less intimidating and helps release inhibition. It can be taken as an introduction to counselling, followed up by a more formal type of therapy if you’re apprehensive about being alone in a room with a therapist looking directly at you.
Also, people sitting in an office all day and for whom the idea of sitting yet again for a counselling session can prevent from seeking counselling, walk and talk therapy might be an option they would like to consider.
Even if you’re confident talking face to face to a counsellor, you might become apprehensive when confronting particularly tricky issues for you. The combination of walking and fresh air allows for easier engagement and process, and you can feel more grounded as you’re moving forward while walking.
How about the weather?
Usually, the first discussion will take place over the phone where your counsellor will take some details and you will both agree on what you will do if the weather is bad. Most therapists practicing walk and talk therapy are not deterred by a few drops of rain, but it is the client’s call, and many therapists offer the possibility of either calling off a session due to bad weather or conducting the session indoors.
During your initial phone conversation you will also discuss issues of confidentiality and how you will negotiate encountering other people when out walking. Whether it’s in a park, by a beach or in town, seeing people walking and talking side by side is a very common sight. A client and therapist walking side by side don’t look any different.
For some people, walking outside might itself confront issues they would like to address such as a fear of open spaces or a fear of feeling judged for their appearance. Having a therapist on your side might ease a return to engaging in social situations. The focus of walk and talk therapy is not on how fast or far you can walk but on you, your process and what you are comfortable with.
Walk and talk therapy is also particularly helpful for people feeling they are trapped in a life or roles that don’t fit them anymore. Being outdoors and talking about their issues enhances the renewal of a sense of freedom. Walking helps increase the blood flow to the brain, and new ideas to tackle our issues are more likely to come up.
Why not give it a try?
Hypno-psychotherapy is the clinical application of hypnosis to enhance psychotherapeutic interventions. Melissa is a Hypno-Psychotherapist , trained at master’s level to deal with complex psychological issues.
What is the difference between Hypnotherapy and Hypno-Psychotherapy?
Hypnotherapy can assist clients to resolve problems arising from habits, maladaptive behaviours, pain (under medical supervision) and psychosomatic medical conditions. It can also be used to assist clients in maximising potential in settings such as work and sport. At the time of writing hypnotherapy has developed a system of Voluntary Self-Regulation through the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council and as such hypnotherapists will be trained to a minimum of a level 4 NVQ equivalent standard. Hypnotherapists are not trained to deal with deep psychological issues or psychiatric illness.
Psychotherapy is defined by UKCP (2009) as a process “to help clients gain insight into their difficulties or distress, establish a greater understanding of their motivation, and enable them to find more appropriate ways of coping or bring about changes in their thinking and behaviour. Psychotherapy involves exploring feelings, beliefs, thoughts and relevant events, sometimes from childhood and personal history, in a structured way.”
Hypno-psychotherapy is the clinical application of hypnosis to enhance psychotherapeutic interventions. Hypno-psychotherapists must be trained at the master’s level. They will be able to deal with deep psychological issues and psychiatric illness.
A safe form of therapy
In the right hands, hypno-psychotherapy is a safe and beneficial therapy. A client’s full medical, emotional and social history is taken before deciding on a treatment strategy. There are some instances where the use of hypnosis is not recommended, or where it should only be used with care. A competent hypno-psychotherapist will be aware of such contraindications and may recommend an alternative form of psychotherapy or modify their technique.
Mindfulness aims to reconnect us with ourselves to alleviate stress. It also helps us to feel more attuned with our emotions and generally more aware of ourselves both mentally and physically.
As humans, we have a tendency to work on autopilot a lot of the time - completing tasks automatically without really giving them any thought. Consider your drive to work in the morning. Are you thinking about changing gears and steering, or are you mentally planning the day ahead? Or, when you eat a snack while watching TV, do you think about the feel, taste and sensation, or do you simply find yourself with an empty packet and no memory of having eaten anything?
These are both perfect examples of mindlessness - something many of us can relate to.
What is mindfulness?
The Mental Health Foundation has reported that anxiety and depression are the two most common mental health issues within the UK; something that could, in part, be attributed to busy modern lives. Multitasking and juggling commitments has become commonplace, with many people feeling as if they aren't truly present in their own lives.
Mindfulness is a specific way of paying attention to what is happening in our lives in the present moment, as it truly is. Of course, it won't eliminate life's pressures - but with practice it can help us take notice of (and hopefully stop) negative, habitual reactions to everyday stress.
The most common way this technique is practised is through mindful meditation. This usually involves practitioners focusing on sights, sounds and physical sensations while trying to reduce 'brain chatter'. Some people struggle with mindfulness meditation at first, finding it hard to focus their attention, but this is to be expected and may require practice. Practising the technique regularly can help people take a step back, acknowledge their 'brain chatter' and view it accurately and without judgement.
Other forms of mindfulness practice may involve physical movement. Exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi both involve meditative movements that can help improve physical self-awareness and quiet the mind.
While these types of mindfulness practices are useful for everyone, those with mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression may benefit from a more structured therapy that incorporates mindfulness, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.