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Taking Therapy Outdoors

Walk-and-Talk Therapy

~ Oldbury Court Estate & Snuff Mills, Bristol BS16 ~

Peter Lowis, MA, PG Dip Psychotherapy, Dip Supervision, UKCP Reg.

Outdoor Therapy

The practice of outdoor therapy has its roots in Ecopsychology, a growing interdisciplinary movement that seeks to integrate psychological and ecological concerns. Associated developments in psychotherapy go by a variety of names, including Wild Therapy and Ecotherapy. 

Taking therapy outdoors reminds client and therapist alike that they are subject to a world that is much larger than themselves. Synchronistic events might start to feel commonplace and free association tends to intensify in an environment that offers itself as a limitless source of metaphor: Will you choose the well-trodden path or beat a new track of your own through the long grass? Do you toil uphill because that is your characteristic approach to things, when all the while there has been an easier route to your desired destination?  Does your path, which minutes ago seemed so clear, run out?  All of these things can have meaning when the environment is recruited as ‘co-therapist’, as a mirror to one’s internal world. 

Walk-talk therapy

Clients in individual therapy generally meet with me once-weekly. When working outdoors, we still aim for a 50-minute session, but in practice the timing will be less precise as is appropriate to the context. Your session might last longer, but it will never be less than 50 minutes’ duration.

As a guide, the fee you pay should place a value on your therapy that is meaningful to you without subjecting you to financial hardship. My standard fee for outdoor therapy is £65-70 per session. This is what you can expect to pay if you are in substantial employment. There is scope for negotiation depending on your circumstances. 

Outdoor and indoor meeting places

Walk-talk sessions take place at Oldbury Court Estate and Snuff Mills, a large area of parkland, woodland and heath that abuts the Bristol neighbourhoods of Eastville, Fishponds, Stapleton and Frenchay. If the prospect of outdoor therapy appeals, please be aware that we would meet indoors initially, for a minimum of two sessions, during which we would explore the possibilities for working together, think about whether walk-talk therapy could be a useful approach for you and, if so, agree a plan for taking therapy outdoors.

I maintain a consulting room in Fishponds BS16, not far from Oldbury Court Park (this is in addition to my main BS7 office). This is where we would meet on days when weather conditions make outdoor sessions unviable.