High views of West Hythe

Aside from therapy itself, I have two passions: being outdoors & existential philosophy. These hugely inform my work as a therapist and over the years I have developed a way of working that synthesises existential and eco-based therapies. In a nutshell, I consider myself an existentially informed outdoor therapist.

Existential Therapy

I am particularly interested in the way that we (humans) make sense of our lives, how we take responsibility for our place in the world, and how we can come to terms with things that we do, and do not have control over.

Some people are looking for a directive experience in therapy (solutions, techniques, and exercises, etc.) however, generally speaking, I don’t work in this way. I instead opt for a gentle and supportive investigation in the ‘thrownness’¹ of ‘Being’ to help you discover new perspectives and develop a greater understanding of self. No diagnosis or pathologising, just simple curiosity and reflection in a confidential, supportive, boundaried, and non-judgemental space.

¹ Thrownness: A term that Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) used to describe the realisation (and feelings) that we associate with being ‘thrown’ into the world without any help or guidance and being left to work things out for ourselves.

Outdoor Therapy

Outdoor therapy is a way of working that not only recognises the benefits of a natural space but considers that ‘space’ as an integral part of the work. The therapist recognises their own limitations and actively makes room (and often encourages) connection with the natural world. Nature, therefore, is far more than a backdrop, but a fundamental element of the therapeutic process. Outdoor therapists are typically influenced by the school of ecopsychology as well as other compatible therapeutic models.

Some therapists choose to work outdoors, either walking or sitting with their clients. The work is not necessarily informed by the human-nature connection and whilst it certainly benefits from the influence of a natural environment, it is fundamentally and theoretically based on existing, contemporary models of counselling and psychotherapy.

Where do I fit in?

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Whilst not especially common in the UK (though gaining popularity since COVID-19), outdoor therapy is a wonderfully diverse and rich way of working. As in any model of therapy, each outdoor therapist will have their own reasons and interests. For me personally, I choose to work this way because that movement, fresh air, and contact with nature is a fundamental part of being a whole human being. Our disconnect from the natural world (of which we are part) is something that we (generally speaking) mourn as a species; working through our conflicts and tensions alongside nature is, to me, an obvious choice. It is important to note that in my outdoor therapy, as is the case with many other outdoor therapists, nature isn’t simply an office space, but a fundamental part of the process and will be frequently invited into the session, this might be in the form of nature-based metaphor, or on occasion in a more direct way such as grounding ourselves by connecting with our surroundings.

I am currently exploring more immersive ways of offering outdoor therapy (eg. Wilderness Therapy) and I will update this section when I am in a position to safely deliver this kind of experience.

Who I work with

I currently work with adults, and I am happy to offer my Counselling service to anyone 18 years or older.

I would recommend that client’s under the age of 18 seek support from a therapist trained in such work; a professional therapist will take no issue with being asked about their qualifications, so please check that have a qualification in work with children and young people!


Therapy for Trainees

If you are working towards a qualification in Counselling (usually a Level 4 Diploma) I would be more than happy to work with you and have a lot of experience supporting Trainees.

As well as my experience of working with a wide and diverse client base, I am also a qualified teacher with many years of experience in facilitating both the level 3 and 4 counselling courses.

I have a good working knowledge of the course requirements, the demands placed on learners at the various stages of the training, and I am happy to draw on the theory that you are learning as a way of enhancing your understanding of self.


My fees

Whatever arrangement we initially agree on, there is always the option to change over to more/less frequent sessions, longer/shorter walks.


Initial session (Up to 1 hour) – £30

An initial session to get to know each other, start thinking about how we will work, and what you would like from the sessions. It’s also an opportunity to ask any questions and to decide if I’m the right therapist for you; this is really important!

Standard Session (1hr) – £45

A circular walk that takes approximately 1hr, with an opportunity to pause, sit, and reflect where it feels necessary. (approximately 3.38Km / 2.1 mi) This is route is often chosen by clients who want regular weekly contact and/or would struggle to find the time for a longer walk.

Extended Session (1hr 30 min) – £60

A decent walk along the Royal Military canal that takes us a little further away from the hustle and bustle.

We can also walk along the seafront, which is a little less private, but just as beautiful. (7.3Km / 4.54 mi)

Full Session (2 hours) – £ 80

This is the longest walk that I offer and takes about 2 hours. It provides plenty of opportunities to reflect on your life, in-depth.

This session isn’t along a set route, but is structured as a ‘there and back again’ walk, and provides the most freedom; we will go where our feet take us and retrace our steps after an hour.

This is a popular route for those who want less-frequent or ad-hoc sessions.


FAQ

How long does a session last?

Outdoor sessions are professional and boundaried, however, it is very difficult to manage time in the same way that we would if we were indoors in a static environment: sometimes we will walk fast, sometimes slow; sometimes we stop for a bit, and other times we’ll stomp our way through the entire session! For this reason, session length is approximate and can differ slightly from one session to the next, however, we will generally aim for a 60 minute round trip (unless you request a longer session).

Do I need walking shoes/boots?

I would strongly advise the use of sensible footwear! You don’t have to go ‘pro’, but 50 minutes walking in work shoes can be a little uncomfortable; this is, however, a suggestion and not a requirement.

Depending on the time of year, it can get a little muddy.

Do I need to be fit?

This is in no way a boot camp style training session! The focus is on Therapy, and not the exercise (that’s just an added bonus).

We will walk at your pace and there are places to rest along the way.

If you would like an extended session, but feel unable to walk the extra distance, I would be happy to offer the standard walk with a 20 minute stop at the half-way point.

What if I need the loo?

A good question! The idea behind the walking session is to ‘get away from it all’ and therefore there are no toilets available on the route.

There are public toilets available in Hythe, so I advise that you make use of this before we head out; I have made the mistake of drinking a large coffee and then going for a long walk, so I speak from experience!

What if it’s raining?

If you’re happy with the rain, then so am I!

In fact, different weather can bring out different feelings and can really help the process, and there’s something wonderfully rebellious about heading out when others wouldn’t! If it really is too much to go out in, we will use my room in Hythe or reschedule.

What about privacy/confidentiality?

It’s an inescapable fact that during Walking Therapy, we may bump into other people, usually people walking their dogs. This doesn’t happen very often and most people just smile and walk past, but you should take it into consideration before engaging in the session. We will discuss this and other things during the initial meeting, and decide between us how this should be managed.

What if it doesn’t work for me?

No pressure at all, we can use my traditional indoor space instead.

Please note: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I am offering telephone/video conferencing as an alternative as my indoor space is unsuited to social distancing.

Do you offer indoor therapy?

I love being outdoors, however, I recognise that at times, an indoor session is more suitable. If needs must, I have a bespoke therapy space that we can use.

Please note: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, I am offering telephone/video conferencing as an alternative as my indoor space is unsuited to social distancing.