Most people are accustomed to the idea of meeting with a therapist in a cosy room, sitting face to face ( or sometimes lying down), and this can work very well. Some people, however, find it more interesting or comfortable to have sessions outside, walking and moving, or finding somewhere to sit.
Working outdoors opens some possibilities to experience things in a different way.
Many of us have had our most intimate conversations sitting alongside someone else ( in a car while driving, doing a joint activity, watching the sky etc.). It can feel a little like this to walk or sit with a therapist outdoors: we are both engaged in something together, the therapist is alongside you, but we are focusing in a different sort of way. Some people find this less stressful than being in a room and having the feeling of being in the spotlight.
The outdoor world also becomes a part of the interaction. We might become interested in a tree, a bird call, the sound of something or a particular spot to sit or stand. Our view can become wider and we can see ourselves in relation to the environment around us: the rest of the natural world interacts with us all the time.
Movement is well documented to build our sense of capability and strength, psychologically as well as physically. many people use walking as a way to think things through (Charles Darwin is a famous example). We may walk our way to an understanding or insight, or to a new discovery. We may also walk our way into more intimate relating and trust.
I often suggest to clients that they explore some form of physical activity as part of their self-care and to build internal resources, because it often works. It seemed natural to me to extend this into the therpay itself and I offer each client the option to work outdoors if they want to. Some people like and others don’t. It’s down to you.
I live beside a lovely London park where there are areas of woodland and meadow, as well as access to the canal towpaths. It’s a great space for outdoor sessions. If you come to see me in Shropshire, there are endless possibilities for walking and exploring outdoors in a quiet and dynamic landscape of fields and woodland.
These possibilities have been closed down during the current pandemic situation and I am mostly working by phone or skype. It is possible to have virtual sessions while being outdoors or waking too ofcourse.