I am becoming increasingly passionate about Outdoor Therapy, it is a wonderful way to work! Being part of nature through the seasons is grounding and soothing. Whether it is seeing the beyond-cute brand new ducklings in Spring, catching a glimpse of a darting Kingfisher or being outside as the clouds roll overhead, all these ways of being with nature in our city bring us back to our roots. Being outside will also bring something valuable to the process, it is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness and grounding, which I have found to be particularly useful if we are experiencing trauma symptoms. Some people find it helpful being able to walk and move whilst talking, they find it regulating and less intense than sitting in a room face-to-face.
How each person approaches this way of working will vary, I am Person-Centred and this applies to Outdoor therapy as well. I will encourage you to consider how you would like the session to progress - it could be a meander, we might follow a familiar route, or we might sit for some or all of the session. I currently work at the Downs and Eastville Park, both have well-maintained paths and accessible bathrooms. If you think you'd like to try this way of working, but are unsure if mobility/accessibility will be issues, I am really happy to have a phone conversation to explore potential issues beforehand.
The issues which can be explored in Outdoor Therapy are the same as if we worked online or in a room. The focus of the work will be guided by what you bring.
These sessions will last for 50 minutes and we will, on the whole, go ahead in most weathers. Obviously lightning is no go! Do speak to me if you think having appropriate clothing for bad weather is an issue for you. How we will manage with the changing seasons would be something for us to talk about when we first meet. We would have an initial meeting to meet, for you to tell me about yourself and what brings you to counselling. I would ask some questions to get an idea of what is going on for you and how we might work together. There is no obligation to continue after this session if you decide we're not the right fit, outdoor therapy isn't for you or you don't want counselling just at the moment. Obviously one of the challenges of working in a public space is confidentiality, I tend to gently make sure that we have enough space around us so that people don't overhear. Sometimes it might mean going a wee bit faster or slower if we are on the move, or stopping briefly to allow a bit more space to open up. If you think you would like to sit down off the beaten track, let me know and I'll pop a blanket in my bag!
For some parents/carers with babies, who aren't able to find childcare or would rather have baby with them, Outdoor Therapy can be a good option. We would meet in park and we would walk around and do the normal work of counselling. Throughout we would hope that generally, baby/babies would be soothed and lulled by the gentle movement and looking around! Of course, we will continue to be responsive to their needs, should they need a change or a feed, we will stop along the way.
Outdoor therapy: £55