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One-to-one sessions outdoors in a natural setting, walking side by side
What is Nature Therapy?
Nature therapy has the same foundations as conventional therapy but has the added input of nature as a kind of co-therapist. Instead of sitting indoors in a traditional therapy room, I offer one-to-one sessions outdoors in a natural setting, walking side by side. We may stop at any point if you notice something of interest. There is potential for a great deal of flexibility here, I will follow your lead.
What are the benefits of nature therapy?
Modern scientific research now clearly supports the benefits of therapy in nature. Studies have concluded that natural environments help us recover from mental fatigue, are restorative, improve positive outlook, enhance ability to recover from stress and illness, and restore concentration.
People who experience nature therapy tend to become more aware of their bodies, how stress manifests in their bodies, as well as mind-body connections. In addition, therapy outdoors motivates people to use physical activity as a self-care strategy on a more regular basis, which in turn improves sleep patterns.
Talking about issues outdoors in nature enables new, creative ways of thinking to come to light. Nature therapy often allows people to see things from a different perspective, opening up new possibilities, finding solutions where perhaps they were unable to before.
Some people find it easier to open-up and engage with difficult feelings, and be more expressive in their body language, while walking side by side, in a less formal manner than sitting in a room with a therapist.
What do we need to consider before going outdoors?
I like to arrange the first 1 or 2 sessions either online or in person at my counselling room in Newcastle. We can develop a shared understanding of your intention/goals in counselling, and discuss the differences of working outdoors, considering together things like where we meet, how we manage the time, the weather, the walking pace, confidentiality, meeting people/dogs.
I will follow your lead at all times and will never compromise your confidentiality.
Weather can offer an added dimension to the therapeutic process. Sometimes, as long as we are equipped for the outdoors, the weather can be a powerful and invigorating part of the experience in therapy. However, I will always consult with you before setting out, taking weather and other risks into consideration. Should the weather be too unforgiving on the day, the session can be re-arranged for an indoor, outdoor or online session within the following week instead.
The emphasis in nature therapy is on the therapy, and the physical activity is a secondary benefit. You will set the pace of the session. You can choose to have a gentle stroll or a more active, faster paced session. We can find places to sit along the way. You do not need to be ‘super fit’ or consider yourself to be to an ‘outdoors’ sort of person to benefit from nature therapy. If in doubt, double check with your doctor that there are not medical conditions that would prevent you from participating in therapy outdoors.
Suggestions for outdoor meeting points in the local area include:
- Apedale Community Country Park (gravel pathways and tracks – easy to moderate)
- Silverdale Nature Reserve (gravel pathways and tracks – easy to moderate)
- Bathpool Park (flat pathways, easy)
- Hanchurch Woods (gravel pathways and tracks – easy to moderate)
- Barlaston Downs (tracks – moderate)
- Longton Park (flat pathways, easy walk)
All locations have carpark facilities.
Other counselling options I offer:
I had such bad anxiety before I came to see Alison and now I realise why and how I can help myself. Thank youJohn