What is Walk and Talk?

Walking is a wonderful way to boost physical and mental wellbeing - just a short time spent walking at a gentle pace outdoors brings a multitude of benefits. So, combining a stroll in the great outdoors with a counsellor can become a very therapeutic experience. Walk and Talk is counselling in motion and is a great alternative to sitting opposite your counsellor in the therapy room or meeting them online.

We all know being outdoors is a known remedy to help lift mood, but what is it exactly that helps us feel better when we’ve spent time in the fresh air?

Feeling happier -  time outside makes us feel happier, as we receive a surge of happy hormone (dopamine) when we exercise and are surrounded by natural beauty.

Relieves stress - being in a natural setting reduces stress levels because our heart rate and blood pressure becomes lower, having a similar effect on our brain and body as that of meditating.

Boosts energy - we experience increased energy just by participating in outdoor activities. This boost of energy can help to inspire more activity...it’s a virtuous circle J 

Improves brain function – spending time outdoors is linked to higher levels of focus, inspiration, and mental clarity. These benefits can lead to better ways of managing life and its inevitable ups and downs. 

Walk and Talk therapy is a great alternative to conventional therapy for many reasons. It is a great way to meet your counsellor on a face to face basis during these uncertain times of needing to social distance. Also, it maybe that you spend the best part of the working week sat in front of your lap top, so the opportunity to take an hour for yourself in nature can be very appealing, rather than meeting your counsellor online. One of the greatest advantages to walk and talk is that you and your counsellor walk alongside each other – you will literally have someone by your side as you uncover and meet your emotions. Some people find this approach less intimidating than having to sit opposite the gaze of their counsellor.

If this is a type of therapy you feel could work for you, here are some things you may want to consider:

  • The first session will need to be conducted whilst seated as there is usually paperwork to go through, this can still occur outdoors though
  • All routes are risk assessed and your counsellor will describe the routes available for you to choose which is most suited to you
  • The weather can change drastically in a short period of time, however, as long as you are prepared the session can continue. Sometimes though, it is sensible to literally rain check and arrange another session for another day
  • Confidentiality will always be paramount and your counsellor will discuss with you if people known to you or your counsellor are encountered on route

Meeting your counsellor in this way for the first time can be a relaxed and gentle introduction to therapy as you are both in neutral territory. Whilst moving through emotional confusion and distress together, the landscape can help to navigate the way forward. Integrating nature into the sessions has the potential to be a creative and liberating experience, which could help to inspire and find new perspectives.

The gentle rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other helps to relieve stress, whilst absorbing the natural beauty of the environment helps to stimulate new ways to move forward. Walk and Talk can literally be a method of moving on - a wonderful way to become ‘unstuck’.

If this resonates with you, please reach out to someone you know you could trust.

I am Jo Tolley and I am a qualified and experienced Counsellor working in private practice near Wimborne and Blandford, Dorset.

For more information about help and support at Moving on Counselling please call me on 07484 184 256, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or complete an enquiry form on the Contact page. I hope to speak with you soon.