4 benefits of Walk and Talk therapy & who it can help




Walk and talk therapy is a therapy or counselling method that combines physical activity outdoors with psychotherapy or psychological counselling. It is a relatively modern way of promoting mental health that is proving to be just as effective as more traditional forms of therapy. Clients who particularly benefit from this form of counselling like to spend time in nature, find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time to talk about challenges, or simply find it a bit strange to be stared at by a psychologist for 50 minutes. Some also want a change from their sedentary everyday lives.

Possible topics for Walk and Talk therapy or counselling can be anxiety, depression, stress, diminished self-worth or difficulties with life transitions. Find out more about how Walk and Talk can help with those issues below.


Effectiveness of Walk and Talk therapy


Various research studies have investigated the effectiveness of Walk and Talk therapy. One study found that walk and talk therapy is just as effective as conventional talk therapy in treating depression. Walking in nature has been shown to have antidepressant effects. The release of endorphins during exercise can lift mood and lead to a sense of well-being. Another study found that walking in nature can improve mood and self-esteem.


Neurobiological effects of exercise on mental health


Exercise has been shown to have various neurobiological effects on mental health. It can increase the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline, all of which are associated with mood regulation. Exercise can also increase the production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which is important for the growth and development of neurons in the brain, which in turn is important in learning new behaviours. In addition, the visual input of nature passing by while walking interrupts stress cycles on a neuronal level.


Advantages of Walk and Talk therapy

1. Positively influences the mental carousel

Intrusive thoughts, as well as recurring ruminations cause anxiety and stress in those affected. Those can be doubting thoughts or worries about major life decisions such as moving, a new job or relationship issues, or any questions that cannot be answered definitively. Walking in nature naturally focuses attention on the present moment, which can help to stop these thoughts. There are also reports of clients who experience a feeling of centring during Walk and Talk and thus experience more clarity of thought.


2. Reduces Anxiety and Depression

An open space allows for open thoughts in a stimulating environment. Movement brings people out of both a depressed, hypoaroused state and a stressed and anxious cortisol-driven hyperaroused state into a calmer state of mind, an inner state that promotes clearer thinking, new ideas and action. Movement can help reduce anxiety that a person feels during Walk and Talk. Clients can feel more comfortable and relaxedafter engaging in an active activity while simultaneously processing their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Walking stimulates both hemispheres of the brain and provides access to the subconscious with more clarity and insight. One study has also shown that 71% of people who take walks in nature experience reduced symptoms of depression. There is evidence that clients feel more energised after a walk and talk session, which can particularly benefit clients with depression, as fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of depression.


3. Reduces Stress

Physical activity has been proven to be a good and effective way to reduce stress. During counselling sessions, additional ways of dealing with stressors differently or minimising them can be developed. Walk and talk therapy outdoors helps the nervous system to relax.


4. Promotes healthy emotion regulation

mindfulness is an essential part of successful emotion regulation. Physical activity can sharpen both self-awareness and emotional awareness. Dealing productively with emotions involves interacting with other people, exercising and getting away from triggering situations, acceptance of emotional sensations etc. All these things are a natural part of Walk and Talk therapies. Many people also seek psychological help because they feel stuck in their lives (this can be triggered by a break-up, a difficult decision or professional difficulties). Research was able to show that walking can free people from the feeling of being stuck.




Walking moves people forward, literally and figuratively. Combined with psychological counselling or therapy, it is a powerful and effective method of promoting mental health. If you are interested in trying out this form of counselling, you can find information about my offer here .

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