In addition to indoor talking therapy, I also offer outdoor and walking sessions in Faversham, Canterbury and the surrounding areas.
Walking therapy is counselling whilst walking. I also offer outdoor sessions that include less walking, but use the natural environment (the beach or the woods, for example) as our counselling “room”.
What are the benefits of outdoor therapy
In the current pandemic, we are more safely able to meet in the fresh air than indoors. Outdoor therapy provides the opportunity to be together face to face in a safe way.
The immersion in, and connection to the natural environment provides a great opportunity for grounding and considering how we relate to the world around us and ourselves.
Although simply being outdoors in the fresh air can be therapeutic and relaxing in itself, the counselling sessions I offer incorporate counselling theory and skills into the process with the aim of deepening the opportunity for self reflection and awareness.
For some people, sitting in an open environment can feel less intense than sitting face-to-face in a room with a counsellor. This can help people to open up and feel able to talk more freely about challenging issues or emotions.
Increasingly, research is suggesting that our connection to the natural world is important for our mental health and well-being. From inspiring feelings of awe, to slowing us down and bringing us into the moment.
Seated outdoor sessions, as opposed to walking outdoor sessions, enable us to be in the fresh air and connected to nature with a slightly more predictable environment than if we are walking. For some people, this feels safer and provides the conditions needed to open up.
This is an accessible way to have sessions outdoors as we can choose a location with a toilet and terrain suited to your physical needs.
With the person-centred counselling approach, I believe that there is huge value to be found in accepting ourselves as we are, right here and now. Being in nature can often put a spotlight on just being, and existing.
If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence, we could rise up rooted, like treesRainer Maria rilke
How does outdoor therapy work?
Sitting inside for counselling might not appeal some days but taking the session outside, either for part or the whole of the session might be what you’re looking for.
Walking for 50 minutes might be too strenuous, or you might prefer to pause and sit rather than walking a planned route.
We can meet at a number of places including the Abbey Physic Community Garden, the park, woods and the beach. All of these places offer an abundance of natural materials that we can use creatively to explore feelings, relationships and experiences that can be difficult to express in words alone.
As with walking therapy, a separate contract is discussed and agreed during an indoor session due to confidentiality and a less controllable environment.