Walk and Talk with Flourish & Thrive

Walk and Talk Therapy in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

At Flourish & Thrive Counselling, nature and the outdoors is at its core, so there is also the opportunity to take the counselling outside.

Clients will be invited to attend walk and talk counselling sessions, which will take place in a local park. All routes will have been fully risk assessed and a confidentiality agreement will be an ongoing process between client and counsellor. Traditionally counselling has been seen as an activity conducted within an indoor space. However, an alternative to indoor counselling is emerging using the outside environment as a therapy setting.

“The mental health benefits of spending time outdoors watching nature have been blindingly obvious to me for as long as I can remember. Immersing yourself in nature, even if it's just for a few short minutes, changes your perspective, it helps you slow down and notice what's going on around you and it opens a door to the overlooked beauty and drama of our natural world.”

— Chris Packham

Outdoor counselling sessions

Walk and Talk Counselling Sessions can also provide outdoor counselling with a combination of walking and sitting down during the therapy session. The duration of the session will be 60 minutes to include 10 minutes continual contracting throughout the counselling sessions. At Flourish & Thrive Counselling the outside is also brought inside at the face-to-face sessions, with green décor, plants, and nature metaphors by encouraging using nature metaphors and objects in the indoor environment evidence has found positive effects of nature indoors as beneficial as outdoors for facilitating the healing process.

Insurance and Contracting

The counsellor has indemnity and public liability insurance in place prior to conducting outdoor therapy. A contract with detailed contingency plans is in place prior to working outside to mitigate the risks involved providing therapy in an unpredictable environment (weather) to include confidentiality, health and safety and boundaries in the therapeutic relationship. Risks can be mitigated to achieve a safe professional and ethical working environment outdoors processing contracting is maintained throughout the counselling process. Underpins good practice (Institute for Outdoor Learning, 2020).

Process contracting identifies the practical issues to be taken into consideration to work safely and ethically outside. It is a means of referring back to the original contract and adapting it as changes occur in the relationship and environment. It also emphasises the importance of preparing risk assessments for safeguarding practice, competency and route planning in the context of the outdoor environment.

The importance of the contract whilst working outside supports the therapist to manage the needs of the emerging process between themselves, their clients and the uncertainty of the environment.

What is Walk and Talk?

Walk and Talk Therapy is ‘a type of counselling where the counsellor and client walk together outdoors during therapy sessions. It offers a way of integrating nature and physical activity into therapy and offers experience of the natural environment as a therapeutic reflective space. Allowing the therapeutic process to happen in nature is a fluid experience.

Frequently asked questions

How does it help?

Walk and Talks promote a collaborative approach to therapy. The physicality of walking side by side can potentially interrupt the therapeutic process. However, the research identified that some clients reported the lack of eye contact as helpful for them to open up compared to the intensity of a face-to-face therapy session.

Walk and Talk Counselling described the benefits of bilateral movement and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for trauma and exposure therapy.

Mind, the mental health charity supports the view that being outdoors is beneficial for physical and psychological well-being and recognises that spending time in natural environments has a positive impact on people’s lives and helps to alleviate symptoms such as depression, anxiety and stress related issues (Mind, 2018).

As a member of the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) outdoor therapy has become more beneficial as a therapy since the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of this, counsellors are now offering alternative methods of counselling, such as online and telephone appointments. Outdoor Therapy has the potential benefits to counselling in terms of offering clients choices in accessing alternatives to traditional counselling (BACP, 2022).

Why Walk and Talk?

Whilst the therapy room provides a safe contained space, the intensity of face-to-face therapy can be anxiety provoking and intimidating for some clients, so natural spaces have been found to support those who may struggle to engage with therapy. Evidence has shown that being able to step out of the indoor environment and into the outdoors helped to change the intensity.

A client found they were able to open up more, unlike in the indoor environment which was found to be more intense and contained within the safety of the walls. A participant said ‘The outdoors is my happy place, where I feel comfortable, relaxed and able to open up’.

Another client discussed the outdoors as a grounding experience. “I love the idea of it, and I am quite an outdoor person who likes to go and hug a tree”. Research has found that the role of nature is a key element to facilitate therapeutic change. ‘Tree Hugging’ helped one participant ‘It made me aware of the power of nature and my need to let go to its forces in order to achieve peace and power’. This relates to Berger’s (2006) theory about expressing oneself by connecting with nature in creative ways by using it as a partner in the process.

What about bad weather?

We are in the UK and used to the unpredictability of the English weather. Ultimately, it is your decision. A waterproof coat, suitable footwear and an umbrella are required. If for any reason, the weather is too bad for us to walk and talk together, sessions can be changed to online.

What if I bump into someone I know?

Concerns about confidentiality and anonymity about bumping into someone you might know and being overheard are commonly expressed in the outside environment.

Working ethically outdoors with the emphasis being on ethical considerations is the most important factor applied to all counsellors working outdoors or within an indoor environment and a professional requirement upheld

in the BACP ethical framework (BACP, 2018). A contract will be drawn up detailing an agreement of code of conduct of counsellor and client to mitigate the risk of lack of anonymity.

A solid contract is negotiated at the start of therapy in order to protect you, but it also emphasises the challenges that need to be accounted for in relation to confidentiality and working in an unpredictable environment. Thereafter process contracting, which is an ongoing contracting process to be maintained throughout the duration of therapy for the uncertainties of working outside. This will be discussed at the start of the therapy, that it may be a possibility and how we decide to manage that should you bump into someone you know.

Is it a physical activity?

Whilst we all have different levels of fitness. Walk and Talk therapy is a slow moderate walk. The routes are generally flat, and the health of the client will be taken into consideration. The counselling session can also be adapted by taking a pause in a seating area or spending the session outside in a seating area.

If you feel that you are unable to walk for 1 hour or commit to this level of exercise, then walk and talk therapy would not be an option for you. There are other options available for you including indoor face-to-face counselling, telephone counselling and online counselling.

Mental health and the outdoors

Research has shown that spending time in green spaces can benefit your mental health. Mind, the mental health charity supports the view that being outdoors is beneficial for physical and psychological well-being and recognises that spending time in natural environments has a positive impact on people’s lives and helps to alleviate symptoms such as depression, anxiety and stress related issues (Mind, 2018). The benefits of being outside include fresh air has more oxygen, green spaces raises serotonin levels, more sensory stimulation, increases feelings of wellbeing and lowers depression, sun exposure increases vitamin D and helps optimise hormones.

Tree of Life (The meaning of Trees)

I believe people are very much like trees we can grow, flourish and thrive given the right conditions as Carl Rogers a humanistic psychologist and father of person-centred therapy believed that all people can change given the right conditions to grow.

For a person to "grow", they need an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood). Without these, relationships and healthy personalities will not develop as they should, much like a tree will not grow without sunlight and water. Just like trees need water, soil and sunlight to grow (right environment).

Rogers believed that every person could achieve their goals, wishes, and desires in life. When, or rather if they did so, self-actualization took place.

Get in touch

If you would like to work with me, please contact me. I offer an initial 20-minute telephone consultation free of charge, which gives you an opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you have about counselling. The consultation will include your intentions from counselling and whether I am best suited to help you. It will also include counselling availability; fees and how many sessions are likely to be required.

All counselling sessions include a duration of 60 minutes and are offered to adults and young people 16+. All bookable sessions include face-to face counselling, online (zoom), telephone or outdoor therapy sessions on request.


  • Individual counselling session - £60
  • Online counselling session - £60
  • Telephone counselling session - £60
  • Outdoor Counselling - £55
  • Duration – 60 minutes per counselling session

Payment: Payment for all counselling appointments is required 48 hours prior to the counselling either by card or bank transfer at the start of each session.

Cancellations: If you need to cancel your appointment, please contact me as soon as possible because any cancellations made with less than 48 hours notice will be charged at the full session rate.

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