Otago Polytechnic

Sometimes it helps to get outside and walk while talking, but why are some people hesitant?

Some individual counsellors and psychotherapists take their clients for a walk. Stephanie Revell, a Senior Lecturer and also a therapist herself, realised that this practice was based on therapists' personal beliefs and judgement about when walk and talk therapy would be beneficial for clients. There was a lack of research  to understand and underpin walk and talk therapy.

To address this Stephanie has been studying the practice. In the first stage she surveyed therapists who were not just taking their clients outside but walking alongside them. They reported that clients enjoyed walk and talk therapy and found it was beneficial, but in their experience many clients were unwilling to try it. 

So for the second stage of her research Stephanie asked people about their attitudes to walk and talk therapy. In general they were willing to consider it, but they had concerns around the perceived lack of confidentiality, the weather, and the risk that their therapist might be distracted by the environment. Stephanie's research will inform therapists who wish to offer walk and talk therapy about some of the considerations that need to be taken into account, and how these may be collaboratively addressed between therapists and clients. 

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HEALTH & WELLBEING

August 2018