Beyond the therapy room: An exploration of outdoor talking therapy (recorded seminar)


This online seminar took place in February 2021 as part of the University of Leicester’s Clinical Psychology Cultures Seminars.

Presentation overview:

 The restorative capacity of the outdoors has long been known. As the evidence for this has grown, so have the number of psychological interventions incorporating the outdoors to support outcomes. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further prompted services to consider relocating outdoors, as a way of ensuring interventions can continue safely. In this seminar, we will be exploring the outdoors as an alternative context for talking therapy. 

It is hoped that content will support attendees to: 

  • Develop an awareness of the empirical grounding for outdoor talking therapy, including literature from environmental psychology, movement sciences and nature connectedness. 
  • Reflect on how organisational cultures within clinical psychology can either support or prevent access to outdoor talking therapy.
  • Gain practical and clinical guidance to promote safety, effectiveness and ethical practice when integrating talking therapy and the outdoors.

About the speakers:

Sam Cooley (@SamJoeCooley): Sam is a 3rd year trainee clinical psychologist at the University of Leicester. He has a background in sport and exercise sciences, including a Ph.D. and several years’ post-doctoral experience in the use of outdoor environments for social and psychological development. He is the Honorary Treasurer for the British Psychological Society’s Faculty of Holistic Psychology. Sam’s recent publications include a literature review and BPS guidance on outdoor talking therapy.

 Jonathan Hoban (@jonathanhoban): Jonathan is a psychotherapist, author and motivational speaker. He is a pioneer of Walking Therapy that integrates therapy and coaching whilst walking and talking outside in nature. He recently published a book titled ‘Walk with your wolf’ and has made regular TV and radio appearances. For many years, Jonathan has been training other therapists in walking therapy, including how to work creatively and metaphorically with nature and how to manage health and safety, boundaries and transferences (Jonathan’s website). 

Recorded talks:

Sam Cooley (45mins):

Links mentioned in the talk: Literature review and BPS guidance document

Jonathan Hoban (36mins):

We welcome any comments, questions and feedback.

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