Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
McGrath, N., Dempsey, M. & King, R.
PSI Annual Conference
How About a Walk? Exploring the terrain of Walk and Talk Therapy
Athlone, Ireland
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Walk and Talk Therapy (WTT) is a therapeutic intervention combining therapy, walking and being outdoors. WTT may increase physical activity while providing an alternate way of accessing therapeutic services particularly for those for whom traditional therapeutic services are uncomfortable. This study considers WTT from practitioners, university students and a service users’ perspective. An embedded mixed method design using thematic analysis (TA) and regression analysis was used. An online survey measured constructs related to psychological help seeking and explored attitudes toward WTT. Semi structured interviews explored therapists’ and service user evaluations of WTT. Of the 108 useable survey responses, 67% were male. 54% of respondents had never used a therapy service yet 49% of respondents stated preference for attendance at WTT over indoor traditional settings. Qualitative analysis identified themes including ‘heightened awareness of symbolism in nature’ and ‘compatibility between physical and psychological movement’. WTT is viewed as an accessible route to therapeutic practice though engagement. It necessitates an explicit reconsideration of several practice issues (e.g. boundary management, silence, non-verbal communication) and practical concerns including anonymity and insurance.