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Walk & Talk Therapy


Lacamas Counseling Serves Vancouver, Camas, Washougal Washington and the surrounding areas

Walk & Talk therapy is professional mental health therapy administered by a licensed professional in an outdoor setting. While traditional therapy occurs seated in a counseling room, Walk & Talk therapy occurs on a walking trail or hiking path. The client sets the pace, and problems are discussed and mitigated as the client and therapist walk the trail.

Benefits of Walk & Talk Therapy:

  • Adding movement to traditional therapy can help people work through problems more efficiently.
  • Walking releases endorphins, which can elevate mood.
  • Walking parallel versus sitting face-to-face is often less intimidating for people new to receiving counseling.
  • Fresh air and nature contribute to an overall sense of calm and wellbeing.
  • Some people may feel more comfortable in an outdoor setting due to minimization of illness.
Walk & Talk Therapy

Getting Started with Walk & Talk Therapy:

Take a self-inventory to assess whether Walk & Talk therapy may be a good fit for you. Some things to consider:

  • Am I in good physical health and able to walk for about an hour?
  • Do I feel like movement would be a beneficial addition to my mental health journey?
  • Am I comfortable discussing my problems in an outdoor setting?

If Walk & Talk therapy seems right for you, contact Lacamas Counseling to schedule a session with a Walk & Talk therapist.

What to Expect

Learn more about how to prepare and what will occur in your Walk & Talk session

Meeting Location:

  • You and your therapist will meet on a walking trail in the local area.  The spot will be predetermined and communicated to you in advance by your therapist.
  • The trail may contain uneven ground, loose dirt, or mud depending on weather conditions.
  • The trail is open to the public and you may encounter others from the community during the course of your Walk & Talk session.
  • The Walk & Talk session will take place rain or shine.  You may communicate with your therapist prior to the session if you feel that the weather would make it unsafe or uncomfortable for you to attend the Walk & Talk session.

Appropriate Attire:

  • Wear sturdy, comfortable walking shoes.
  • Wear clothes appropriate for the weather and temperature.  Athletic clothes are appropriate.
  • Consider bringing a water bottle, rain jacket, or umbrella if appropriate.

When You Arrive:

  • Arrive a few minutes early.
  • Look for your therapist at the start of the trail.
  • Make sure you lock your car and secure your valuables.

During the session:

  • Come prepared to discuss your problems/stressors.
  • Consider your confidentiality and privacy.  You may want to speak softly or stop speaking when passing others on the trail. 
  • You may come into contact with someone you know on the trail.  Give thought to how you would like to handle any personal encounters and communicate this to your therapist in advance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Walk & Talk therapy private and confidential?

A: Walk & Talk therapy is less private and confidential than in-office therapy.  Your Walk & Talk therapist is bound by the same legal and ethical mandates of confidentiality.   However, because the therapy session takes place in a public space, someone you know could see you or overhear parts of your conversation.  You and your therapist can discuss ways to protect your privacy as much as possible while on the trail.

Q: Are there any safety issues that I should be aware of?

A: Ensure that you are in good physical health and capable of walking on varied terrain for approximately one hour.  You could encounter loose dirt/sand, uneven ground, mud, potholes, and tree roots along the trail.  You should feel confident in your ability to navigate the terrain without injury in order to participate in Walk & Talk therapy.

Q: Will Walk & Talk therapy take place in all weather conditions?

A: Most of the time, yes.  Your Walk & Talk therapy session will take place even if it is raining lightly or hot.  If walking in the weather is ok with you, be sure to dress accordingly.  If your therapist feels that the weather makes the walking conditions unsafe, he or she will notify you that the session is canceled due to weather.  If you feel that the weather conditions make it unsafe for you to walk, please notify your therapist.  Do not walk in weather that you feel would be unsafe for you. 

Q: What happens in the winter?

A:  As the winter months approach your therapist will discuss a plan to transition your visits to in-office visits

Q: Can I try Walk & Talk therapy out before I commit to it?

A: Yes, you can schedule a Walk & Talk appointment to see if it is a good fit for your therapy needs.  If you decide that traditional office appointments are a better fit for you please let your therapist know.  Your therapist will facilitate getting you scheduled for an in-office appointment, likely at a different day and time. 

Q: What if I get tired on the trail?

A: Let your therapist know.  The client sets the pace of the walking session.  You and your therapist can always slow down or find a bench for a break. 

Q: What if there is an emergency on the trail?

A: Depending on the nature of the emergency, your therapist may call the emergency contact listed in your client file, 911, or both.

Q: What if I see someone I know on the trail?

A:  As the client, you have the right to disclose or not disclose that you are in a therapy session.  The therapist will follow your lead.  

Q: What happens if we see someone my therapist knows on the trail?

A:  Your therapist will not disclose you as a client to anyone they might come into contact with on the trail.  Your therapist will make every attempt to keep interactions with others brief and your privacy protected to the extent possible.  Your therapist will discuss this with you prior to starting Walk & Talk therapy to ensure you are comfortable with this possible scenario.