Walk-and-talk therapy isn’t new to the scene. It’s a fairly common, modern way to enjoy a therapy session. Therapist and client go on a stroll, talking in much the same way as they would in an indoor therapy session. For many, this type of therapy is hugely beneficial. These days, the walk has to be taken together virtually because of the pandemic. Even so, there is no evidence that suggests the benefits are less potent. Here are some of the many reasons walk-and-talk therapy might be right for you or your child.
Banish the awkwardness.
Eyes are the window to the soul, right? And if your soul is troubled, eye contact can feel scary. Walking side-by-side, or your therapist in your phone, can ease that tension. Even if a walk-and-talk session is done with the video turned on, it’s normal to glance at the passing surroundings instead of the screen. This creates more openness and relaxation. Teens are especially likely to enjoy walk-and-talk therapy since it departs from that “under a microscope” feeling that can happen during in-person sessions.
On top of that, walk-and-talk therapy offers a unique opportunity to practice mindfulness. Outdoors, there are sensory cues all over the place that your mind can observe during a walk. Your therapist can guide you through techniques that are proven to help reduce anxiety and center you in the present moment, such as focusing on the smells, sensations, and sounds of the outdoors. This is harder to do in a temperature control indoor setting without a lot of variance.
Boost your creativity.
According to a series of studies run by behavior and movement psychologist Marily Oppezzo, all it takes is a 15-minute walk to double your creativity. You can learn the very interesting details of the study here. The gist is that participants had to list all the possible uses of an ordinary object that they could think of. Then, their answers were measured to tally up how many were “creative” uses. Participants either sat while taking the test or took a walk prior to taking the test.
Across the board, the study proved that those who walked first generated double the number of creative ideas — that’s a consistent 100% increase. This is five-minute abs for creativity (except that it’s actually proven to work!).
A creative mind is more flexible, more resourceful, and more open to possibilities. Bolster your newfound creativity with the guiding hand of a trained professional and you’ll set yourself up for an optimally successful session full of fresh perspectives.
Take that creativity with you after the session!
The walk unlocks the creative energy that’s kind of just sitting within you. What you do with it afterwards is up to you. Paint, draw, cook, rearrange your bedroom, write, dance, play an instrument — you name it! Whatever creative ambitions you have, a walk will ignite your energy and motivation to get at them. And spending time on creative ambitions is a proven way to boost your positivity affect, which measures the amount of positive emotions — such as joy, confidence, and optimism — that you experience in a day.
If you’d like to book an appointment, Georgetown Psychology offers walk-and-talk therapy in-person (with safety protocols in place) and over the phone so that clients can simply, easily, and safely gain these benefits during the pandemic. Anyone up for a spin around the block?