Taking Talking Therapy Outside

For most people the idea of talking therapy conjures up the idea of sitting in a  room somewhere talking to someone about their problems.  While this is often the case, it doesn’t have to be. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many therapists to get more creative with what therapy can look like.  For some this has meant online working (me included!) but another option has been to take therapy outside into natural spaces.   

Taking therapy outside is nothing new – many therapists have been taking therapy outside for years.  There is also a growing evidence base showing the positive effects of nature on our mental health and wellbeing.   

So here are my top five reasons for taking talking therapy outside:

1 – The benefits of meeting in a ‘neutral space’: Going to see a therapist can feel a bit scary and intimidating, especially when you are meeting them at ‘their’ office or therapy room.  Outdoor spaces used for therapy are often public spaces, so can help put people at ease. 

2 – Walking and talking can feel less intense: Linked to the point above, many people may find the idea of sitting in a room with one other person, whose full attention is on them, too intense.  Meeting in a natural space, and talking while walking, can help to take the pressure off.  

3 – Nature can become part of the therapy:  Nature can provide lots of insights into life and our mental processes.  This can provide rich opportunities for developing our insight and understanding about ourselves and our relationships with others (and nature itself).

4 – We become more aware of our senses when we are outdoors.  When we’re out in nature all of our senses are actively stimulated.  This can provide a great environment for practising skills such as mindfulness, which we know from research is a key skill in nurturing mental health and wellbeing.  There is nothing quite like doing a practice like ‘leaves on a stream’ next to an actual stream. 

5 – Being outside reduces stress: Research has shown that being outside in nature reduces our stress response, and helps us to recover from the mental overload of day-to-day life.

Even though many things (including how we deliver therapy) are starting to go back to ‘normal’, Wise Minded Wellbeing will be continuing to offer 1:1 ‘walk and talk’ sessions outside in local natural spaces.  If you are interested in finding out more about these sessions, then please get in touch.