What it is:
Psychotherapy conducted outdoors.
As much about sitting and walking as it is about running.
Adheres to the UKCP and BACP Code of Ethics
What it is not:
It is not a kind of exercise regime.
It is not all about running.
It is not a get fit quick routine – physical, mental, or emotional.
How it works:
DRT is fundamentally the linking of movement (walking/running) with traditional talk therapy. It replaces the static atmosphere of the therapists’ office with an outside environment rich in life, change, and possibility. Less confrontative than an office where client and therapist “face – off” to one another, with DRT the therapist joins the client side by side, sharing each step.
Most people can recall instances where walking has facilitated deep conversation. Walking /running can result in a step by step “metronomic” sense of real progress and understanding. Clients feel they are taking bodily, proactive steps towards addressing their issues. This allows them to reach deep and locate, acknowledge, and “work” through whatever they bring.
What movements are we talking about? We may sit, walk, or run. It all depends on how you feel. We will look to see if your struggles in life are enacted in how you move in the world and in the sessions. Are you housebound or out too much? Do you get ahead of yourself or hold yourself back? Do you pace yourself but can never just let go?
Together we will examine and challenge your choices, assumptions, and habits. DRT’s use of movement facilitates a flow into and through the issues that you have brought to therapy. Whether it is allowing for silence, breathing properly, or the feeling of the earth holding us as we lie, sit, or move, the aim is for a gentle “being with” whatever needs to be met, resolved, or let go of.
By combining movement with talk therapy, DRT addresses the different elements of the human “operating system”, capitalizing on the synergy found in the “mind, body, and spirit”. We have found that when people make progress in one of these areas it is often also experienced in another. DRT capitalizes on this complimentary system to facilitate a sense of momentum and growth. An example of this may be a client experiencing depression who not only enjoys the added lift provided by exercise but also experiences a sense of progress by showing up and actively addressing his/her situation. Each component compliments the other, resulting in a deep-seated and powerful sense of growth.
When do we move, when do we sit? Who decides?
The answer is that the work together is very much a mutual endeavor. The therapist may make suggestions but fundamentally it is for the client to check in with themselves and their body to see what feels appropriate. If there is a loss of drive and direction we look at this – we may do the same if there is a struggle to sit still. It is an important component of DRT that the client is empowered to lead the way to their own recovery as soon as they feel comfortable to do so.
Reading body language.
For some clients it may be a long time since they respected the messages and needs of their body. DRT allows for a “reunion” of sorts to take place in a similar way to yoga. This can be a powerful and rewarding experience.
This takes place via regular “checking in”, whereby a note is made of changes in non-verbal cues such as posture, speed, and breathing. These changes are often informative about what is being discussed or experienced. This may then be practiced by the client in their own time. DRT draws on the “felt sense”, helping clients to notice and be “mindful” of what is going on inside them.
DRT and depression.
For those struggling with depression DRT can be practical and powerful way to make a change. It is an active step toward doing something. If the client is withdrawn to the point that talk is difficult we respect that, but ask that they still come, because showing up is a kind of commitment to change. And while we believe there is place for a pharmacological intervention in more extreme cases of depression, it is also our understanding that depression may indicate a need to stop and look at an important issue or block. Therefore we work hard with the client to try to understand the intricacy of their experience.
DRT and trauma/addiction.
DRT may also be ideal for those recovering from emotional or physical traumas such as illness, divorce and addiction. For those in recovery it can provide a regular commitment during the week which is both stabilizing and nurturing. Again, movement can encourage a closer and more respectful relationship with the body, leading to a greater sense of physical and emotional completeness – something often lost during substance abuse. This can be beneficial for those with internet/pornography addiction as well.
DRT and anxiety/sadness/tiredness.
For those suffering from sadness, anxiety, or tiredness, DRT can feel like a proactive step in the right direction. An article in Therapy Today quotes Richard Mitchell, Professor of Health and Environment at Glasgow University: “Physical activity in a natural environment gives you a double dose – both a biological and psychological response that protects against mental ill health…It can and does make people feel better about themselves”.
What does the process entail?
Emphasis is placed on gaining a fundamental understanding of the issue(s) at hand. When did it begin? How bad is it and when does it get better or worse? What do you do to cope? This process may take time, may be revisited, and the pace is set by the client.
If we are working toward change, we then ask what this change would look like. What would you like to change specifically? How would that change effect your life and what would others notice? What are some of the steps we can take toward it? How can we recognize and capitalize on a step that has been useful? What helps to motivate you and keep you motivated? During the period we are working together you will be asked to keep a note (mental or written) of progress between sessions. We will also ask for regular feedback on our work together.
On what theoretical foundation is DRT based?
DRT is an integrative psychotherapy grounded in person centred, existential, and solution based psychotherapy. In part this means it is non-directive and non-judgemental with an interest where applicable on such existential themes as freedom, choice, and suffering. As an Integrative Psychotherapy it aims to facilitate wholeness between the feeling, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological levels of functioning – in other words the whole person. It also means that the therapist may tailor their approach by drawing on their knowledge of different schools of psychotherapy according to what their experience tells them will work best with your personality and situation (some people may be seeking greater clarity in their lives, others may want to take a bit of space and time, while others may have a specific goal or a solution to a dilemma in mind).
DRT core beliefs:
Clients have the resources and strengths to solve their problems
Clients are the experts and thus define their goals
Emphasis is placed on what is possible and can be changed
Client feedback is critical to efficacy
DRT provides a powerful therapeutic alliance derived from a shared movement in the same direction. The beauty, space, and smells found in parks and open ground allow the client to see their worries and pain through a greater perspective resulting in a deep and holistic sense of wellness.
If this sounds like something that you could benefit from, please take the first step today, get in touch – every great journey starts with a single step…