Over the past 20 years, I've walked with hundreds of clients, averaging 3 miles or 6,480 steps per each Walk-N-Talk™️ Therapy session. In total, I have walked over 13,200 miles using my modality. This equates to more than 26 million steps I've taken with clients...making progress one step at a time...over the last two decades.
Those are the numbers, but it’s really hard to measure the exact impact Walk-N-Talk™️ Therapy has had since the very first step I took with a student I was counseling in September 2003. Back then, my modality was not known by other professionals, as therapy was not known to be taken out of a traditional office setting. But for me, Walk-N-Talk™️ Therapy was a natural way to help encourage high school students to seek help…a natural way to help them get their stride, pun intended.
Since that first walk, I’ve strolled lakefronts, forest preserves, icy city streets and other corners of the urban landscape. Walking alongside client after client, I’ve lugged umbrellas, laced up snow boots, experienced 7 degree temperatures and beat the heat with the best gear one can find at REI, all in a span of days...given Chicago's notoriously fickle weather. But that's the point. Weather is a metaphor for life, and we should approach these challenges with the support, resources, and faith that come from hard-earned experience. That is what gets reinforced, session after session, with Walk-N-Talk therapy.
I’ve walked with clients at 6:30 a.m. I’ve walked with clients at 8 p.m.
No matter what it is, when it is, where it is, or how it is, I have been true to my craft and therapeutic methodology.
As the seasons have changed and the years have drifted into decades, I’ve watched my clients traverse the shifting emotions of their own lives, day by day, week by week, year by year…step by step.
I’ve walked with clients who are 10 years old. I’ve walked with clients who are in their mid-sixties. Each client has a different story, but what weaves us all together in this tapestry of humanity has been the human experience and the need for a deeper understanding that only the clarity that comes from from therapy can provide.
Long before there was even a name for Walk-N-Talk™️ Therapy, I played basketball with clients or took walks with them as a way to put us on equal footing. Side by side, elbow to elbow.
Being the trailblazer for this modality has been a godsend.
I think back to the early days of Walk-N-Talk™️ Therapy, when I worked with students from New Orleans who had been displaced by Hurricane Katrina and were staying in temporary housing on the outskirts of Chicago, not knowing where to go or how to get there. When you feel stuck, it can be hard to take the first step toward healing.
I’ve always been a person who has had an ear for others. A lifelong athlete, I’ve trained for three marathons, but I never expected the simple gesture of taking the first step to shift therapy from the typical method of “sitting on a couch” to taking a walk outside would inspire me so deeply.
I never expected that doing this would allow an experience that I love as much as I do. I think you will love it too.
Thank you to my clients for 20 years of Walk-N-Talk™️ Therapy. Here’s to 20 more!
About Walk-N-Talk™ Therapy
Walking can be therapeutic, but walking with a trained professional—can be lifechanging!
I have been the trailblazer of walk and talk therapy since I founded Walk-N-Talk™ Therapy in 2003 as an innovative way to help my high school students to engage in their counseling sessions.
After seeing the positive effects this method had, I created and incorporated the Walk-N-Talk™Therapy modality into my private practice as an effective method that was welcomed by clients. Since then, the initiative and similar movements have grown to be embraced around the world, offering a promising new way for people to traverse the twists and turns of their mental wellness journey.
For clients, this style of therapy has several benefits. It puts physical and mental distance between them and their stress-causing environment and it inspires self-awareness, physically and creatively. The nature component is conducive to the client’s lifestyle and opens the senses to their natural surroundings, be it a lakefront path or a forest preserve or city parks and streets. Clients have reported experiencing a sense of calm, clarity, focus and energy following these sessions.