What is Walk and Talk therapy?
Walk and Talk therapy is a form of counselling that incorporates walking in nature into sessions. Taking traditional counselling outdoors is a fairly new concept. It merges nature, movement and therapy. Instead of being enclosed in a therapy room, the client and the therapist stroll in the open air. Some clients find it more comfortable to walk along the therapist while they are discussing their problems. It can feel less overwhelming than being constrained in a room and sat in a chair facing the other person. It can offer a sense of freedom and a relaxed attitude that helps some clients open up more easily.
Lisbon Counselling has a therapy room 10-minute walk from the largest park in central Lisbon - Parque Eduardo VII. This is where the client meets the counsellor as they set off for a walk surrounded by a beautiful green landscape. The client sets the pace of their choice, either slow meandering through the greenery or a brisk walk with gorgeous views.
Benefits of Outdoors Counselling
Apart from all the usual benefits of counselling, Walk and Talk therapy offers unique perks of therapy in nature. Newest research confirms what many people have intuitively known for a long time – that being out in natural environments has a calming effect on the brain and it boosts wellbeing. Clues to this belief can be found in amygdala, which is a structure in the brain involved in stress related brain mechanisms including emotional learning and the fight-or-flight response. One of the most interesting studies on that topic has shown that a single 60-minute walk in nature (versus a 60-minute walk in the streets of a busy city) can support brain health. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of participants of the study has shown that those who took a walk in the forest had reduced activity of amygdala, as well as self-reported increased attention restoration and more enjoyment of the walk itself compared to those who took urban walks in Berlin. Another study has shown that was shown that a 90-minute walk in nature decreased self-reported rumination, while there was no reduction observed in those who took a 90-minute walk in an urban setting. (Molecular Psychiatry, 2022)
Is Walk and Talk therapy right for me?
Taking counselling sessions outdoors is a great option for many, but not all clients. An important consideration is privacy, which can be restricted outside of the therapy room. As the client and therapist walk past some members of the public, fragments of their conversation may be overheard. Being outdoors is also not recommended while distressing or sensitive topics are discussed. If Walk and Talk counselling appeals to you, get in touch and we will discuss if it is a good fit. Often the initial session will take place indoors. Sometimes it is also a good idea to combine some sessions in the privacy of the therapy room/online and some sessions out in nature. Occasionally, due to bad weather, some outdoor appointments may need to be rescheduled and take place online instead. Should this be the case, the therapist will always attempt to contact the client to reschedule as soon as the poor weather conditions become apparent.
Please feel free to call/WhatsApp, email me or use the form.
I will aim to respond within 24hrs Monday - Friday. For mental health emergencies please contact your local health centre.
In-person sessions are available by prior arrangement at:
Nearest Metro stations: Avenida and Marquês de Pombal.