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Human Services


Rebecca A. Stout


Standards of healthcare exist to promote beneficent treatment; however, treatment approaches are sometimes not supported by research, creating potential ethical issues for clinicians expected to use evidence-based practices. For example, walk-and-talk therapy, where therapy sessions incorporate physical activity in an outdoor setting, is being offered at increasing rates, but research regarding the practice is sparse and primarily reflects the therapists' experiences. Thus, the purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analytic study was to explore the clients' experience of the altered frame of walk-and-talk therapy through the conceptual lenses of therapeutic frame and the biopsychosocial model of well-being. Data were collected through in-depth, semistructured interviews with a sample of three former walk-and-talk therapy clients, and data were analyzed using the modified van Kaam method. Findings included that the clients' experience of walk-and-talk therapy was shaped by prior therapy experiences with participants reporting concerns and benefits related to the altered frame. Clients found walk-and-talk equally or more therapeutic than traditional therapy and felt walk-and-talk could be a less stigmatizing therapeutic alternative for individuals who find traditional, indoor therapy unappealing. Implications for social change include shaping standard practices of walk-and-talk therapy, thus informing the future of training and supervision as well as providing an alternative therapeutic offering for individuals who find traditional, indoor therapy unappealing.

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