This is a windswept Michaela, returning from a recent Walk and Talk session with one of her counselling clients.

We’ve been offering Walk and Talk Therapy since last summer and it’s been a fantastic way to maintain face to face contact with clients during the pandemic.

Whilst video and telephone sessions are working well - some clients are struggling with the isolation imposed by the lockdown, particularly if they live alone or are suffering bereavement.

Our outdoor sessions usually consist of short walks in and around the Whitley Bay, Tynemouth and Cullercoats area. The walks can be interspersed with periods of sitting, depending on client preference - and the weather!

Walk and Talk therapy, (sometimes also known as eco-therapy) harnesses the therapeutic healing potential of nature for the benefit of mental wellbeing. It involves the delivery of counselling sessions in outdoor, natural environments.

There is now considerable scientific evidence to suggest that being outdoors and connecting with nature, can have a significant positive impact on our mental health. Being more mindful of our natural surroundings can be good for all of us, but it can be particularly beneficial to people suffering from anxiety, depression and bereavement.

This kind of therapy could also appeal to those people who may find the idea of sitting opposite a counsellor in a therapy room, intimidating or off-putting.

In considering whether Walk and Talk therapy is appropriate for a client, there are a number of practical considerations, which we discuss before embarking on a course of sessions.

These include confidentiality, (what we might do if either counsellor or client comes upon someone they know whilst walking), weather conditions, (what we might do if the weather is too inclement to walk) and issues relating to health and safety and physical fitness levels.

Walk and Talk sessions are charged at £40 per session. If you are interested in pursuing this option then please email or phone us to discuss it further.

  • Julian & Michaela

Often, when we experience anger, there are other, more vulnerable emotions hidden beneath the surface. For example, we may feel hurt, fearful, rejected or overwhelmed. Looking ‘underneath’ our anger can help us to better understand our responses and learn to manage them more effectively.

This can be particularly important in personal relationships where we can find our emotions escalating very rapidly in ways we find difficult to control. In the illustration anger is helpfully represented as an iceberg, highlighting the way our deeper emotions can remain concealed from view.

Reflecting upon our anger in this way can help us to take a step back and look inside ourselves rather than lashing out at those around us.

  • Julian & Michaela

Human beings place a lot of faith in the power of thought. It is our ability to reason - to think rationally and logically - which has often been held up as the thing which distinguishes us from the animal kingdom.

Increasingly, however, therapists recognise that the thinking mind is not the be all and end all of who we are, and certainly not the only means of sorting out our personal problems, which usually have a physical and emotional dimension that also need attention.

Not all the difficulties we face can be thought-through to a satisfactory resolution. Indeed when we try to sort out our problems in this way we can get caught up in circularity and over-thinking. Many clients sight their tendency to overthink problems as part of their reason for coming for therapy.

As a result therapists are looking to other ways of working with their clients which involve more than just talking issues through. These methods often involve working with the five senses, in particular the senses of sight, sound and touch. Therapies such as EMDR and EFT make use of eye movement and tapping on the body. Guided relaxation methods have been used for many years by hypnotherapists and are now incorporated into other models of practice.

This may all sound a bit strange, but if you think about it the advantages of working in these ways become obvious. The psychological benefits not just of yoga and body massage, but of all forms of physical activity are now universally acknowledged.

Walk and talk therapy has increasingly been use during the Covid-19 social restrictions, bringing together talking with the simple physical activity of walking. At the same time this also encourages sensory engagement with the natural environment.

Simple sensory experiences can also be easily utilised for self-help purposes as is shown in this useful self-soothing illustration. This graphic helps to elucidate some of the simple ways we can help to nurture our sense of mental as well as physical wellbeing.