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Therapy in Nature

Walk, Talk & Play Therapy: A Breath of Fresh Air

In today’s fast-paced world, finding moments of peace and connection can seem like an impossible feat, especially for busy parents and their children. But what if I told you that the path to healing and harmony lies just beyond your front door? Welcome to the world of Walk and Talk Therapy – a fun and impactful approach to mental health counselling that harnesses the power of nature to promote healing and growth for community members of any age.

What is Walk and Talk Therapy?

Walk and Talk Therapy offers a refreshing alternative to traditional counselling settings by taking therapy sessions outdoors, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Instead of sitting in a stuffy office, families have the opportunity to stroll through parks, forests, or along the beach while engaging in meaningful conversation with their therapist.

The Healing Power of Walking

Have you ever noticed how a simple walk in the park can lift your spirits and brighten your mood? That’s because walking is not just good for our physical health – it’s also incredibly beneficial for our mental well-being. The rhythmic, repetitive movements of walking have a calming effect on the brain, helping to reduce stress and anxiety for both parents and children alike.

As you walk and talk with your therapist, you’ll feel the tension melt away with each step, replaced by a sense of calm and clarity. The gentle rhythm of your footsteps creates a soothing backdrop for open and honest communication. For young people, it also offers a lovely mindful opportunity to tune in to surroundings and take the pressure off someone staring at you while you try to share thoughts and feelings.

Bilateral Stimulation: Soothing the Nervous System

In addition to the therapeutic effects of walking, Walk and Talk Therapy incorporates a technique known as bilateral stimulation. By engaging both sides of the brain through rhythmic movements, such as walking or tapping, bilateral stimulation helps to soothe the nervous system and reduce feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

For children, who may struggle to express their thoughts and emotions verbally, bilateral stimulation can be particularly effective in helping them feel calm and grounded. As they walk and talk with their therapist, they’ll experience the gentle rhythm of their footsteps as a source of comfort and stability, guiding them towards greater self-awareness and emotional resilience.

Exposures and Novelty

When something scary does come up on a walk (one spring, I counted 12 snakes on a single walk!) we have the opportunity to experience ourselves in a state of stress, co-regulate with the therapist and with nature, and return to a state of calm again. This practice of up and down regulation strengthens resilience and gives in-the-moment feedback that we can overcome challenging situations. The youth on this walk went from “AHH SNAKE!” on the first encounter, to “Oh, cool, another snake!” as they approached it with curiosity later on. Talk about exposure work!

Nature as Co-Therapist

One of the most magical aspects of Walk and Talk Therapy is the presence of nature itself as a co-therapist. In the natural world, there are no judgments or expectations – only acceptance and unconditional support. As you and your therapist/friend/family walk through the forest or along the shoreline, you’ll feel the healing embrace of nature surrounding you, offering solace and comfort in times of need.

For children, who often thrive in outdoor environments, nature can be a powerful catalyst for healing and growth. The sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world awaken their senses and ignite their imagination, providing a safe and nurturing space for exploration and self-discovery.

Benefits Walk & Talk Therapy

So, why choose Walk and Talk Therapy? Here are just a few of the many benefits:

  1. Improved Mental Health: Walking, bilateral stimulation, and nature combine to create a powerful therapeutic experience that promotes emotional healing and well-being.
  2. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: The calming effects of walking and the soothing presence of nature help to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling more relaxed and at ease.
  3. Increased Self-Awareness: Walking in nature encourages introspection and self-reflection, allowing you to gain insights into your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  4. Enhanced Creativity: Nature has a way of inspiring creativity and imagination. As you walk and talk with your therapist, you may find yourself experiencing moments of clarity and insight.
  5. Greater Connection: Walking side by side with your therapist fosters a sense of connection and trust, creating a safe space for open and honest communication (without the pressure of intense eye contact).
  6. Mindfulness Practice: When we bring therapy outdoors, we have opportunities to use our senses and intentionally focus our attention.
  7. Multi-sensory Engagement: In addition to the sights, sounds, smells and textures present outdoors, walking allows us to use other aspects of our sensory system as well, including vestibular, proprioceptive, and introspective inputs. Being aware of our bodies in space, using balance or maneuvering over a log, and checking in with our heart rates or feet as we walk all build pathways to wellbeing.
  8. Exposure Opportunities: Did you read the part about the snakes above? Working in nature can allow us to face fears, be it bugs, bees, or people in cases of social anxiety.
  9. Grounding: Engagement with the natural world allows us to get grounded, release extra energy and stress, and reconnect with the Earth and our natural environment. Our brains understand this better than concrete and walls and screens.
  10. Wonder: Therapy outside the office in nature allows for a sense of wonder, discovery, engagement with the natural world, and even opportunities for joy and play.


In a world that often feels chaotic and overwhelming, Walk and Talk Therapy offers a sanctuary of calm and tranquility. By harnessing the healing power of walking, bilateral stimulation, and nature, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

So, why not take the first step towards a brighter tomorrow? Lace up your shoes, breathe in the fresh air. Let nature be your guide on the path to healing and wholeness. With Walk and Talk Therapy, the possibilities are endless, and the journey is yours to explore. Reach out and ask about Walk & Talk Therapy at Acorn Counselling.