Swapping therapist’s couch for Bibbulmun Track

Psychologist Chris Darmody, of Scarborough. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d491227
Psychologist Chris Darmody, of Scarborough. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d491227

PEOPLE disillusioned with talking out their problems on a therapist’s couch can explore them on a hike in the great outdoors.

Psychologist Chris Darmody said he developed Narrative Walks to engage with people who were not drawn to conventional methods of therapy.

“When we started running the program it was developed for young males specifically, who often don’t find sitting on a therapists’ couch and talking an attractive prospect,” he said.

“Young men told me they didn’t want to be sitting there isolated and talking with me. They wanted to be out in nature.”

Dr Darmody said Narrative Walks was a structured program with a lot of international evidence it was a beneficial form of therapy.

“The focus of the 20km walk is to work on an issue that people choose to bring with them before they come,” he said.

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“The host asks 15 questions at different stopping points along the route.

“There is a strong focus on developing a preferred story in the walk but we also develop other skills such as externalising, mindfulness, identifying supports, emotional awareness and being present all whilst getting exercise and completing an achievement.”

Dr Darmody said he was passionate about combining nature and therapy.

“I’m naturally drawn to the outdoors,” he said.

“Working as a therapist I found I was sitting for days in a clinical space and yearning for outdoors so I wanted to combine the two.

“By combining therapy with the outdoors it reduces issues of power between the therapist and the client and it can be more suited to some people who may not be interested in entering a clinic.”

Narrative Walks is a mixed gender and age group program.

It is run on a section of the Bibbulmun Track starting Hills Recovery Centre in Mundaring.

The next event is on March 24. For more information email hello@embarkpsych.com.

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