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Therapy With A Twist: Trailtalk Offers Counselling While Walking Outdoors

Update Date: Feb 14, 2017 07:00 AM EST

Therapy could be more beneficial when done with a little twist like walking outdoors. Coming to nature can give positive and pleasurable experiences to humans.

A mental health therapy center, Trailtalk, offers counselling while walking Provo Canyon or American Fork Canyon. They can opt for their own neighbourhood as well, if the clients want to. The therapy with a twist started in 2010 by Allison Page in Park City. The idea of came to her when she was on the last semester of graduate school and she found herself stressed and very busy.

Page decided to go outdoors and went showshoeing with her dog. The experience felt cathartic, and she realized that she wants to do a walk and talk kind of therapy.

Clients of Megan Perry, therapist at University Avenue, Provo, said that the movement-based format therapy is highly cathartic and conducive to sharing. Perry said that when she and her clients are walking side by side, the counselee forgets that she is the therapist.

The effect of nature and walking seems to make the client starts talking freely. Unlike a couch-based counselling session, therapy with walking makes the client feel present in the moment of the environment. According to Katie Asmus, a psychotherapist and wilderness guide, the environment can help the nervous systems unwind. One client said that staring at the big beautiful sky puts their concerns into a perspective. She feels less overwhelmed.

Therapy with walking is good for people who is hard to reach or less willing to talk according to the founder of Trailtalk. They tend to open up more quickly while walking. Men and teens who do not like in-office counselling benefit from this therapy model as well.

Walking in the woods, or even just in the neighbourhood, also allows the therapist to look at the physical condition of the client. Perry said that exercising out in nature means the body is being taken cared of as well as the mind.

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