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Walk & Talk Therapy: Definition & Purpose

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson teaches you the basic concepts behind walk and talk therapy. You'll learn how it differs from traditional psychotherapy and how it can help people.

Walk and Talk Therapy

Have you ever had a face to face interview where you were asked questions, you asked questions, and there was back and forth talk, both people trying to feel one another out? A little bit awkward? Intimidating? Stressful? Probably.

Have you ever taken a nice walk in the park? How did that make you feel? A bit relaxed? Perhaps it spurred some creativity or simply helped you enjoy the day more. Or maybe that exercise invigorated you physically and mentally for the rest of the day.

Seems like a walk in the park is a much better experience than an interview. So why not apply that idea to psychotherapy? Well, it already has been! It's called walk and talk therapy, and this lesson describes the basic premises behind this form of psychotherapy.

Traditional Psychotherapy

Traditionally, psychotherapy takes place in a psychotherapist's office or some other indoor location where a patient is seated near the psychotherapist, and they are engaged in a face to face interaction. Almost seems like an interview, right? Well, you can easily imagine that this can make many people feel a bit anxious as a result. This may not be conducive towards a beneficial psychotherapy session.

Walk & Talk Therapy & Purpose

So, why not take it outside? Literally. Take the psychotherapy session for a walk in the park! There are numerous potential benefits to this.

First, you are out in a bigger, freer space. It simply doesn't feel cramped, and that can really help relax some people. Secondly, there are visual distractions everywhere, so you don't have to look a therapist straight in the eye all the time. Again, a little bit less intimidating, no?

Third, many people simply relax and enjoy the fresh air, the sound of birds, and the greenery in general. Or, they associate the outdoors with vacations. And that's a positive association for a lot of people stuck in a cubicle all day!

Fourth, the patient is moving! This gets the blood flowing, and science has shown that exercise can positively impact people mentally and physically. People may feel more energized, more positive, and may be more creative thanks to exercise. That creativity, energy, and positive mindset can really help the patient solve some of their problems.

Walk and talk therapy can also help a person move past mental roadblocks when confronting some sort of serious issue. Think about it, as you are walking you are literally moving forward. You are also mentally moving forward, perhaps past an issue. There's even a hypothesis that rhythmic exercise, like walking, can help in self-discovery as well.

And, quite importantly, therapists believe that patients are more receptive to a therapist's ideas when out in nature. It could be because exercise and nature combine to allow people to have a deeper perspective, one that is also open to new ideas beyond their preconceived notions.

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