Running & Walking Sessions

You know the routine. It’s therapy. You sit on the couch; you’re offered some tea or coffee; and you try to relax while a therapist you may barely know begins to take notes as you process your inner most thoughts and feelings. I know the intentions are good. Create a safe and private space; remain neutral; don’t judge; seek understanding; provide empathy. The reality, however, is that while this arrangement may work for many, there are some who cringe at the thought of sitting face to face with a therapist as the seconds slowly tick away. Running and walking therapy is not only an alternative to traditional talk therapy, it provides benefits that extend far beyond the walls of an office.

In addition to the better known physiological benefits that exercise will reduce heart rate, reduce blood pressure, positively impact cholesterol, help control weight, boost energy and all in all contribute to a longer lifespan (Journal of American College of Cardiology), it has just as impressive benefits to our mental health (Mayo Clinic). Exercise stimulates the release of a feel good chemical cocktail in the brain including neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine), endorphins, and endocannabinoids–important chemicals associated with elevated mood and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety.

A strong therapeutic alliance is forged as barriers to therapy melt away while therapist and client move together covering the same ground and experiencing the same environment and the same sense of accomplishment. Running and walking sessions utilize a similar therapeutic approach as in an office setting with Port Townsend Family Therapy but without the couch and while moving. It is experiential by nature and opportunities emerge for teachable therapeutic moments and activities.

Who’s it for?

Running and walking therapy is for all levels of fitness, however, as with any change in your regular physical routine it is recommended to talk with your physician first. I am a lifelong runner and enjoy sharing my passion and knowledge of the sport, however, I am not a professional athletic trainer or coach. In addition to providing effective therapy, I hope to assist clients in establishing new and healthful lifestyle choices that incorporate regular exercise. The amount of running or walking during a session will be adapted to your baseline level of fitness. For example, if you’re new to running, a 50 minute session may include 10-15 minutes of running and 35-40 minutes of walking. Client comfort will also be taken into consideration when determining an appropriate route.

Where do we go?

Port Townsend’s location at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula offers some amazing trails and beaches to explore during a session. Some commonly used trails include Fort Worden, North Beach, and Larry Scott.

Without the constraints of a physical office, sessions may also be conducted within the surrounding community of Kitsap and Clallam Counties. Availability outside of Port Townsend will depend on demand within a particular region and ease of logistics.