Positive Psychology

Hiking Therapy or Walk-and-talk Therapy

Walk-and-talk therapy or hiking therapy helps to take your sessions outdoors, for example a public park or on nearby trails. This alternative provides a new approach by infusing the benefits of fresh air and exercise into the therapy sessions. Movement can make it easier for some people to discuss their feelings. Clients usually prefer to move or walk as opposed to sitting across in a therapist’s office. It may be a great option for people who are hyperactive during sessions and fail to maintain direct eye contact and sitting still. Few therapists have noted that physical movement improves psychological movement, and can even help achieve better client breakthroughs.

The endorphins produced during exercise are to known to have a positive impact on mental health. For a healthy client, outdoor sessions can enhance their ability to help through particularly difficult issues. It will also help them feeling refreshed in body and mind.

Another aspect is about insurance. No matter how well maintained your public park is, there are always risks associated when you are not in a controlled environment. When you decide that walk-and-talk therapy is the right choice, you will have to make your client aware of the risks, and make sure you and your practice are legally covered in case something happens.
Use this informed consent form to make sure your client acknowledges that you will only be acting under the scope of your license. Make sure your clients are aware of the risks beforehand, and consult your regulatory board or your insurance carrier if you have concerns.