Throughout the warmer months of the year, I offer a special type of therapy session, where my client and I take a walk on the Toronto Lakeshore. As long as the weather permits, we can spend an hour in a beautiful outdoor setting, working through your concerns together. These “Walk n Talk” sessions take place during quieter hours on the boardwalk, usually Monday through Friday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Lunchtime sessions are popular.
Why is Therapy While you Walk Effective?
First, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine releases Vitamin D, which helps to elevate your mood. Most people don’t get enough of this essential vitamin. Briskly walking for more then 20 minutes releases endorphins which also improve your mood. Walking gets the blood and the lymphatic system pumping, which is good for the brain. Most clients report, in addition to their progress from therapy, they feel grounded, have increased energy, less tension in their body and feel refreshed.
Confidentiality and Walk n Talks
The same confidentiality rules apply during a Walk n Talk session as in a normal therapy session.
How it Works
Clients come to sessions with comfortable shoes and a bottle of water. The session starts and ends at my Lakeshore boulevard west office. Walks vary in intensity and can last up to one hour.
In 2008, I had a client who was suffering from depression after being involved in a car accident. She was unmotivated, dealing with back pain, and was gaining a lot of weight. She spent most of her days lying on the couch, which further contributed to her weight gain and depression. She was unmotivated to complete the exercises recommended by her physiotherapist. It had become a vicious cycle. After working with this client for 6 months, it was clear that her lack of motivation was blocking her from progress in her physical and emotional health, despite the fact that she did want to feel better.
I decided that instead of talking to her about the importance of getting out of the house, our next session would take place outside. I hoped that taking a slow walk in the sunshine would help her to start feeling better, and become motivated to exercise on her own.
The results were astounding. Something about being outside on the boardwalk and not being stuck in a clinical office, she was able to open her awareness to the emotions she had been avoiding. The exercise and added benefits of the outdoors also motivated this client to start walking on her own. Her back pain decreased, she began losing weight, and most of all, her mood improved. When she left our sessions, she then had the energy to face her life and start making lasting change. It was like moving her body on the boardwalk helped her move forward toward change when she left. I quickly realized that this unique mode of therapy could benefit most of my clients, and I have been offering it since then, with wonderful results.