RUN Walk Talk®
Frequently Asked Questions
How can running and walking during my therapy help me?
There's an established and growing body of research that points to exercise as a helpful adjunct in mental health treatment; it's recognized as an intervention that is under-utilized. Run Walk Talk is a trademarked method which seeks to correct this under-utilization both in mental health treatment and in executive coaching.
There are several ways Run Walk Talk therapy can help. For many people, being outdoors and walking or running while doing therapy can make it easier to open up to a therapist and deal with negative feelings. In my observation, being side-by-side seems to reduce patients' shame and self-judgment, perhaps in a similar process present in psychoanalytic settings in which patients do not face the therapist.
For others, the physical act of sitting still is too difficult, and the running/walking helps them focus more effectively on the talking (I have found this to be especially true for people with an ADHD diagnosis or restless anxiety).
Running provides many well-documented benefits to the brain, and I believe this may be part of why people seem to like Run Walk Talk therapy - it feels really good. Also, there is evidence that spending time in nature, and especially near water, has mental health benefits. My office is two blocks from the beach, and patients often comment on how great it feels to conduct our sessions there.
What do I need to know about getting started with Run Walk Talk therapy?
Your initial appointment is always in the office, where we'll explore what you're hoping to change in your life as a result of therapy. If we decide together to make running/walking part of our work, we'll review issues of confidentiality and privacy inherent in running outdoors, including topics you don't want to discuss outside and how we'll manage any run-ins with people you know while we're working together. For subsequent sessions, running/walking while we work together is totally up to you (and the weather), and a great opportunity to check in with what you need and what would be most helpful each time we meet.
What if I can't run and talk at the same time?
Running is always done at what's known as conversation pace. This means we run at a pace that makes it possible to talk comfortably. For some people that means walking instead of or in addition to running, and that's okay. Conversation pace is variable for everyone, and finding your pace is part of the running therapy work.
What else should I know about Run Walk Talk?
There are often parallels between the way people approach running and the way they live. Running and walking provide an opportunity to increase awareness about ways in which we might be getting in our own way without even realizing it. For instance, some of the things that come up include questions like: Do you start too fast and have trouble keeping a steady pace when it comes to your goals? Do you zone out or lose focus on what you are doing or where you are going? Are you comparing yourself to others and having judgments about them/yourself? Are you self-conscious about your body?
We often slow down, walk, or rest as needed, and use the time to notice and work with physical sensations and whatever is coming up for you emotionally. Walking or running together is also important symbolically - it's a literal moving forward, one that you can internalize and apply to other areas of your life.
I don't really want to run or walk, but can I still work with you?
In my therapy practice, I’m currently only accepting patients who are open to incorporating the Run Walk Talk approach in their mental health care; this doesn’t mean they have to run or walk every session but it should be part of our work together.
In my executive coaching practice, I often work with leaders or employees who may or may not decide to run or walk - I provide in-office or video-based executive coaching that doesn’t include running or walking.
Okay, I'm ready - what do I do now?
Call me at 424-270-5427 and we'll talk about what you need and how I can help, and I can answer any questions you have about what it would be like for us to work together. You can also email me here.