Park Sessions and Walking Therapy in St. Louis, MO
There’s something about sitting in an office, week in and week out, that just feels like it won’t be helpful to you. Maybe some social anxiety is preventing an office visit from feeling comfortable. Maybe it feels too much like a doctor’s visit. Or, maybe you just want an easier way to incorporate some non-sedentary time into your life.
In addition to in-office and virtual therapy, I now offer park therapy.
Also sometimes called walk-and-talk therapy, or movement therapy, park therapy has many benefits. First and foremost (and most obviously), it’s just a way to get outside. And let’s be honest: with chaotic family schedules, long work days, and one extracurricular after another, it can be hard to just spend some honest time outdoors. Utilizing park therapy is a way to get that time in the fresh air and sunshine (which we all know are good for our health!), without having to separately fit it into your schedule.
The other benefits to therapy in the park may be less obvious but they are actually well-researched.
There are many connections between our brain and body, so moving while addressing therapeutic topics can lead to deeper insight and more creative problem-solving. As we feel the benefit of moving during a session, we can talk about the broader benefits of exercise on emotional and mental state and start to build helpful habits together. A pretty cool benefit (at least, I think so!) is that as our body rhythmically syncs with another, our self-confidence increases. And I know I already mentioned it, but fresh air and sunshine are just so insanely good for our health, that doing therapy in an outdoor setting can give the benefits of talk therapy a compounding effect.
When I partner with clients, I talk a lot about the “brain-body connection.” Utilizing walking while doing the talking part of therapy helps us capitalize on this connection in real-time. I also talk about how our brains work—the neural pathways, the use of different neurotransmitters—and being in a place of movement while helping you do some things to “retrain your brain” allows us to see that happening in real-time together. It’s pretty cool.
Ok, so how does it actually look for you? Great question!
2 options for Park Therapy:
Option 1: We sit in a shaded part of the park, on lounge chairs I provide (unless you’d feel more comfortable with your own), with the park as the “office”. The spot still affords privacy, so you don’t feel like you have to censor yourself! I dress in workout clothes, not professional ones, so if people look over at us, they wouldn’t be able to guess we are client and counselor, but instead probably friends or colleagues catching up.
Option 2: walk a 50-minute loop that is about 2.5 miles. I know a few shortcuts throughout this loop, too. So, if it’s hot, you’re tired, or any other variable, we can do a shorter loop and sit on benches for the remaining time. While there are other people on the path we’ll use, they aren’t so close they’ll be able to tell it’s a therapy session. If there’s anyone walking behind us, we can pull to the side and let them pass, then resume our pace again.
Why Forest Park?
I know the Park really well, which allows me to fully tune in to you and our session. I don’t have to worry about when to turn next or how much longer we have, because the path is second-nature to me. Also, if there were to be a trip & fall incident, or issue with a car, plenty of people are around that could help with any of those issues.
The Park is beautiful! Lakes, basins, fauna & flora, bridges...being immersed in such a beautiful place, even if talking about something difficult, can be calming and comforting to our spirit and senses. Plus, Forest Park is conveniently located near downtown St. Louis with plenty of options for parking and plenty of shady spots. Perhaps you'll even want a visit to the St. Louis Zoo after we chat!
A few extra considerations for Park Therapy:
You do not have to commit to having all of your sessions in the park! If you’d like to use the park as the office on occasion but not each time we meet, that’s absolutely fine. Or, if you want to almost always commit to the park but use virtual therapy or in-office therapy as an intermittent option, that works for me. We can talk about your preference before the first session and then I will continue to follow-up after the first few sessions.
Parking is ample where we will meet, so no need to worry about parking and then walking a mile to meet me. I also wear a fanny pack on the walk; you’re welcome to toss in your car keys or phone so you don’t have to worry about finding a pocket or leaving them in your car. I also keep some sunscreen and bug spray with me, just in case you forget!
Bonus: our meeting place is in front of The Boathouse in Forest Park. If you’ve never eaten there, I highly recommend it. Depending on our session time, you may even be able to meet a friend or family member there for a meal or social hour, or could even do carry out for a meal you don’t have to cook!
Begin Park Sessions or Walking Therapy in St. Louis, MO
Let's get some fresh air, and a fresh perspective! Meeting in Forest Park is a great alternative to therapy in the Kirkwood, MO counseling clinic. When the weather is bad, we can also chat via telehealth for online therapy in Missouri. Taking this first step toward therapy is a big deal, so give yourself credit! Just follow these simple steps and we will get started.
Contact Marble Wellness to schedule an appointment
Chat with me, Stephanie, your therapist
Let's get outside and get into some of what is on your mind.
Other Mental Health Services at Marble Wellness
At Marble Wellness, our goal is simple: Counseling services in St. Louis, MO designed to help set you on a path of living a more fulfilled, calm, and happy life. We specialize in anxiety, depression, and maternal overwhelm. Mostly, I work with moms who want counseling. So, I can also help new moms with various postpartum concerns, moms in the thick of parenting, and moms with teens. we can also chat from wherever you are in the state with online therapy in Missouri. No matter where you are in your journey, I would love to support you.