The practice of conducting counselling and psychotherapy outdoors may seem a little strange to some. It certainly can feel a little unusual when we first start, but the whole process is about reconnecting us with the outdoors through counselling and psychotherapy, and using that connection to move forward.
Outdoor therapy is based on the idea that we are all connected to the environment around us, you may have experienced this without knowing. For example, when it’s raining and cloudy outside often we can feel a little down and miserable, yet when it’s sunny and warm it can have the opposite effect. This is probably the most basic observation we can possibly make in relation to Outdoor Therapy, but if we look a little deeper and explore other connections there is actually a wealth of opportunities to benefit from around us. Taking therapy outdoors enables the client to engage with aspects of themselves in relation to the natural environment around them. The Outdoor Therapy process allows us incorporate the environment to heighten the senses in a way that a counselling room cannot. Experiencing the smell of a pine forest, the sound of a stream, or coming face to face with wildlife are experiences that most of us do not usually encounter in day to day life. These can be brought into therapy and the impact explored in a therapeutic and mindful way by the client.
By engaging in Outdoor Therapy it allows us to take our problems into a very natural environment, yet one that we may not be too familiar with. When working outdoors there is in fact much more going on around us then we realise at the time. Part of the process is understanding how to integrate with our surroundings yet still benefit from the therapeutic counselling that is taking place.
Conditions such as anxiety, grief and depression can all be addressed through therapy outdoors together with many more. By providing a natural space through which to reconnect with the outdoors, and at the same time exploring the issues the client brings. Nature can also help us reconnect with our past, as a child we may have fond memories of exploring and playing outdoors in the countryside often as adults we lose this connection. We may not feel we have the time to simply take a walk through a field or woodland, we may have forgotten what the experience was like, or simply feel there isn’t a need to. However, much has been written on the benefits of spending time outdoors, and only when we make the effort to explore will we truly know how beneficial the experience can be. This said, Outdoor Therapy is far more than just a ‘walk in the park’, we take the counselling session and we work outdoors integrating nature with the therapeutic models we are working with. This manifests in different forms such as walk-and-talk therapy along a path chosen either by the client or counsellor, or a pre-defined route to a suitable spot for counselling to take place, here we might sit and engage in the counselling session.
If you would like to try Outdoor therapy and experience the benefits that therapy outdoors can offer, simply contact me for more details. I will be happy to chat through what is involved and what to expect. We don’t have to spend all our sessions working Outdoors, you can try just one or two, because it really is about you, the client, and what works best for you. Outdoor Therapy with Reach for Help is available in and around the London area.