Episode 84 Walk And Talk Therapy & Outdoor Play Therapy: Interview with Nicole Osborne

Oct 12, 2022

What is Walk & Talk therapy and how can it open up the possibilities of your practice? Can bringing movement and nature into your sessions take away the stigma of mental health and traditional therapy?

MEET Nicole Osborne

Nicole Osborne is a licensed holistic mental health therapist and co-owner of Milk & Honey Therapy and Milk & Honey Merch located in Greensboro, NC (soon to be located in Honolulu, HI!). She specializes in working with teens and young adults from a variety of cultural backgrounds. She loves using creative and holistic approaches to help her clients overcome anxiety, depression, trauma, athlete concerns, low self-esteem, life transitions, and identity development issues. Nicole has over 10 years of combined experience serving as a coach, tutor, mentor, teacher, and counselor to children, teens, and adults from diverse backgrounds. In all of her various experiences and in the current work that she does, her deepest desire is to empower people to show up as their authentic selves.

In her free time, you can find Nicole taking a nap, sitting on her patio, trying new restaurants, traveling, and spending time in nature.

Find out more at Milk & Honey Therapy and connect with Nicole on Instagram & Facebook

Holistic Therapy & Wellness Cards can be found on: milkandhoneymerch.com

FREE 5-Step Guide on How to Feel Your Feelings: 

https://milkandhoneymerch.ck.page/feelyourfeelings 

FREE How to Forgive Guide: 

https://milkandhoneymerch.ck.page/howtoforgive 

 

IN THIS PODCAST:

  • What is Walk & Talk therapy? 3:00
  • Mindfulness strategies for a walk & talk therapy  6:35
  • How to prepare for walk & talk sessions 16:22
  • What is play therapy? 23:00

What Is Walk & Talk Therapy?

  • How to handle patient confidentiality in walk & talk therapy?
  • Understanding liability concerns with a walk & talk therapy
  • What type of clients are walk & talk therapy for?
  • What are the benefits of this type of therapy?

Mindfulness Strategies For Walk & Talk Therapy

  • Incorporating cards & worksheets as mindfulness prompts
  • How to incorporate nature into therapy
  • What is bilateral stimulation?
  • Walk & talk therapy versus traditional therapy

How To Prepare For Walk & Talk Sessions

  • Ideas for planning ahead for these types of therapy sessions
  • Learning to be flexible in scheduling your time with clients
  • The importance of making your sessions accessible to your clients
  • What are the downsides of walk & talk therapy

What Is Play Therapy?

  • Being open to the possibilities of what therapy can look like for kids
  • The benefits of play therapy
  • Ideas for incorporating play therapy into your practice
  • Being prepared for play therapy sessions

 Connect With Me

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Rate, review, and subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Milk & Honey Therapy and connect with Nicole on Instagram & Facebook

Holistic Therapy & Wellness Cards can be found on: milkandhoneymerch.com

FREE 5-Step Guide on How to Feel Your Feelings: 

https://milkandhoneymerch.ck.page/feelyourfeelings 

FREE How to Forgive Guide: 

https://milkandhoneymerch.ck.page/howtoforgive 

Transcript

Chris McDonald: Welcome to the holistic counseling podcast, where you discover diverse wellness modalities, advice on growing your integrative practice and grow confidence in being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey.

Welcome to today's episode of the holistic counseling podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I can't wait for you to hear from today's guest Nicole Osborne. She's here to talk about walk and talk therapy. I don't know about you, but this is something I thought about providing for years. I. I just never took that step to offer it.

So I have lots of questions and I'm sure a lot of listeners have questions about this as well. Nicole Osborne is a licensed holistic mental health therapist and co-owner of milk and honey therapy and milk and honey Mer located in Greensboro, North Carolina, soon to be located in Honolulu, Hawaii. That is amazing.

She specializes in working with teens and young adults from a variety of cultural backgrounds. She loves using creative and holistic approaches to help her clients overcome anxiety, depression, trauma, athlete, concerns, low self-esteem life transitions and identity development issues and all of her various experiences.

And in the current work she does her deepest desire is to empower people, to show up as their authentic selves. A fun fact about her is she has lived in eight places soon to be nine. She is a no man. Welcome to the podcast,

Nicole Osbourne: Nicole. Thank you for having me, Chris. I'm excited to be here. Yay.

Chris McDonald: Awesome. So nine.

Wow. Awesome. I take

Nicole Osbourne: it. You like moving? I do. I honestly. I was talking to my husband the other day. I was like, I feel like a nomad. Like nowhere feels like home. Not in a bad way. Yeah. Yeah. But I just like exploring and seeing different places and just seeing the world, like, I've, I've been like that since high school.

And so. Oh, okay. I just, I'm gonna just keep it going, keep

Chris McDonald: it rolling. Right. So can you tell my listeners a little more about yourself

Nicole Osbourne: and your work? Yeah, so I am, um, like Chris said a licensed holistic therapist. Um, I'm located currently in Greensboro. And so I love working with teens and young adults.

That's my favorite age group. Just lots of, um, issues going on in that age group. Absolutely. Um, and I really like working with college students as well and helping them navigate. Just college life, grad school life as well, just helping people just overcome academic issues, stressors, anxiety, everything that comes with just school stuff.

Um, I tend to attract a lot of people, pleasers people who have boundary issues and have a hard time setting boundaries, people who are overachievers or higher achievers. And I most. Work with people from the bipo community, but I work with people from every different cultural background and identity, and I just love the work that I do.

And I'm happy to be here to talk more about walk and talk therapy.

Chris McDonald: Yes, this is awesome. So what first interested you in providing walk

Nicole Osbourne: and talk therapy? When me and my husband were first thinking about building our practice. I think I was in some Facebook group, cuz I had joined a million different Facebook groups.

Um, when we started prepping for our practice and I was like, all right, uh, we wanna do something creative. We at the time couldn't afford to get an office space cuz we were just in the startup phases. So we didn't have an office space and we knew we didn't only wanna do virtual. And so some person in one of the Facebook groups mentioned.

Playing outside or walking outside. And me and my husband were like, well, we both love walking. We walked a million miles during the pandemic, talked about a million different things. Why don't we incorporate that into our practice? So then I did some research, looked it up and then we just went from there.

Chris McDonald: So, how do you handle confidentiality with this kind

Nicole Osbourne: of work with confidentiality? We have our clients signed paperwork, knowing that there's limited or there's limitations to confidentiality. Yes. Because we're out in public. And so clients are aware of that upfront during the intake process, I tell clients like, Hey, if we do walk and talk therapy and we happen to run into somebody that I know, or, you know, I could be your friend, your cousin, your sister.

Like, if you wanna address me as your therapist, that's fine. But I won't say that I am, we can role play something, but I kind of just kind of make it fun and light, like, okay. Like if we do run into somebody, like how do you wanna handle it? Like, we'll say a hi quick. Hi and bye. And that's it. Nah, that's great.

We won't like deep dive into, you know, You know, this is so and so, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Um, what are you doing this weekend? yeah, right, exactly. So we're not gonna do that. So clients understand that. And thankfully after two years I haven't run into either somebody that I know or that my clients know.

So it really isn't that big of an issue.

Chris McDonald: Is there any liability concerns like with, I'm just thinking any kind of movement

Nicole Osbourne: practice and mm-hmm so we have liability insurance and it covers, um, walk and talk therapy. And so it does. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So it's portable. Interesting. So basically you can use it in any space that you're in and your liability insurance covers it.

Um, and like I said before, just making sure that your clients sign a waiver, um, again, oh, okay. Thankfully after two years we haven't had any injuries or incidents, so. Pretty much just like you're just walking and talking with a friend in the park. So there's usually not too much of a risk.

Chris McDonald: Are there certain types of clients that like to do this kind of therapy?

Nicole Osbourne: That's a good question. Um, a lot of teenagers actually. Oh, okay. So my husband works with a lot of children in teens and there was one point where he was just like walking miles, like back to back sessions, just outside. And so I would say a lot of teens, I have teen clients who. Wanted to be outside as well.

Some teens prefer inside. It just depends on the teen. I've offered it to people who say they love nature and they like to be in nature, but they don't wanna do walk and talk. So it just really depends. I wouldn't say there's like a trend that I've noticed. So, what

Chris McDonald: are the benefits that you've noticed with this?

Nicole Osbourne: It's more relaxed. So me and my husband are super chill people, very easy going. And so with our therapy practice, it kind of translates the same way. So, um, clients really like it because, like I said earlier, it's like, you're talking to a friend. Just going on a casual stroll and I've had clients say like, oh, it's a lot easier to talk about X, Y, and Z issue versus being in the office.

And so seeing that difference for clients, clients in general, just like the mindfulness aspect. And so being outside in nature is very healing. And so just being present and in the moment and being surrounded and engulfed in nature and connected to the earth, um, are some of the biggest benefits that I've.

Do you

Chris McDonald: use like mindfulness strategies while you're doing it? Yep.

Nicole Osbourne: So I've done many mindfulness activities out when we're walking. So sometimes it'll look like me bringing like a deck of cards that talks about mindfulness or it'll be like a worksheet. Um, and I'll incorporate into the session when we're talking and I.

Talk about literally like, okay, today we're gonna talk about mindfulness and we're gonna do some practice and I'll say, okay, we're gonna do the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding activity. So what do you see around you? What do you smell? What do you taste talk about slowing down, noticing your walking pace. So all different aspects of mindfulness.

That

Chris McDonald: sounds great. Instead of just doing it in the office, mm-hmm to really incarcerate nature can be so

Nicole Osbourne: healing. Yeah, definitely. And just the bilateral stimulation too. That's what I was gonna thinking in my head too. yeah. Cause I also do EMDR. And so just having that bilateral stimulation, the left right left right.

Is very calming for people and it makes it easier to process certain traumas. Really

Chris McDonald: calms the nervous system. Mm-hmm yeah. So that's great for regulation.

Nicole Osbourne: Yes. Yes. And I've had clients who, you know, they're Boohoo crying during session and they're, you know, just really dysregulated. So just taking a moment, I'll ask them like, Hey, do you wanna sit down and pause?

And we'll just reground and we'll sit on a bench or in the grass or whatever it may be. And just giving them that option to reground and regulate themselves in nature is really helpful.

Chris McDonald: So, can you share, what are some other things might, we might notice about a walk and talk therapy that might be different than normal in office

Nicole Osbourne: therapy?

The biggest difference I would say is I guess, keeping track of time, um, because you can get kind of lost in nature a little bit. And so just being mindful of time. And so I wear a watch or. I have my phone, but just being mindful of time and what's going on there. Other than that, it's I would say also the weather, um, that's a big, factor's true factor.

That's what worried me. Cause I'm like, dang it, its hot in here in North Carolina. Yeah. I would say honestly that one's the biggest one. I've done sessions, probably the coldest I've done, which was actually really refreshing. I would say like the coldest is probably 40 degrees and the hottest I've done is maybe like 95 degrees.

I would not do the 95 degrees again, to be honest. do

Chris McDonald: you offer certain times a

Nicole Osbourne: year? That's what I, after. Um, we do it year round and so, oh, we do it winter, spring, summer fall. We just, we don't do it in the rain. Um, I don't. Do, I'm not a huge fan of rain. I know some people love the rain, but, uh, if it does rain or if it's too hot or too cold, I give the client the option.

I'm like, Hey, you know, it's 95 degrees today. Do you wanna do this session today? Some will say yes. Some will say no. Um, and if they say no, then we'll either switch to the office or do virtual. Oh, okay. So you,

Chris McDonald: so you, you just, do you decide like the day before? Or how does

Nicole Osbourne: that work? Yeah, typically I'll either do like the night before I'll check the weather, um, and then text my clients or sometimes the morning of if I'm seeing them later in the evening.

So one of the two options. So do you

Chris McDonald: offer this like in the morning or evening? How does that work?

Nicole Osbourne: So me and my husband are not morning people. Oh, so so you said

Chris McDonald: evening

Nicole Osbourne: we, uh, start around 12 o'clock and then go until about 8:00 PM or so. And so they're all typically in the afternoon, usually the afternoon fits hot.

That's usually the hottest part of the day. I was like, that's what you doing? That's

Chris McDonald: like real hot ,

Nicole Osbourne: but in the springtime it's nice. It's not a ly degrees. Oh, true. But in the summer, it's hotter, but in the evening it's a lot cooler, but yeah, we usually only offer afternoon and evening times.

Chris McDonald: Do you only offer like a certain number per day or how does that work?

Nicole Osbourne: Uh, no, not necessarily. So we schedule it just like any other regular sessions. So I typically see about five clients a day on average. Um, and with walk and talk, I think the most I've seen in one. Three. And to be honest, that was a lot because the trail, it sounds like, um, cause the trail, uh, or the loop that we do at the park near our office.

Oh. And where we live is about two miles. And so I was basically that day that I did three, I would walk six miles and so oh, wow. That it was great exercise, but it was more obviously than a virtual session or office session.

Chris McDonald: Is this more energizing as a therapist, do you think? Or is it more tiring? Cause you're

Nicole Osbourne: extra, it's refreshing.

It's nice to be in a non-traditional space, outside the office in a more relaxed setting. And so I know we're not supposed to think of our clients as friends and I have very strong firm boundaries on that. but it does feel just more like, oh, okay, I'm going to go talk to a friend and help them out, you know, with their issues like you would with your, you know, actual friend.

Um, so it's refreshing, it's nice to get outside. Especially being in the office all day. There's some days I'm in the office. I don't have any walk and talk sessions and I'm like, I need to go outside and just like. Smell the air and breathe and get the sun on my face, cuz I've been in this office all day.

So it's nice to mix it up. So some days I'll have virtual and office and walk and talk. And so I like to mix up because it keeps things a little bit more interesting to me.

Chris McDonald: That's true. Yeah. And I think sometimes with cuz I'm all virtual now that sometimes that like gets lonely too. Mm-hmm from just being me in my office and my cat

Nicole Osbourne: and yeah.

Yeah. And I've seen with clients who struggle with depression, like how it just opens them up. Like there was one client. Oh really? Yeah. They were sitting in the office. They were just super down regulated. and just crying the whole time. And I was like, Hey, you know what? Like, let let's go outside. And so thankfully there's a trail right next to our office.

Um, in addition to, we also go to a bigger park and I was like, Hey, let's just go walk on the trail for a little bit. I was like, you're really dysregulated. Um, you're really shut down. And so like, let's go outside. And so once we went outside, I brought a little deck of cards that have random self-reflection questions and we just talked through them and they opened up so much more.

They felt a lot better after the session. And I could just tell like in their body and just how they were carrying themselves, that they're doing a lot better than when they first came into session.

Chris McDonald: Isn't that a magic moment when that

Nicole Osbourne: happens? Yes, it is amazing. Like, I love it. Like, it just shows the power of just somatic work and holistic therapy and just doing things in a non-traditional.

Yes.

Chris McDonald: And that connection too, for them to have a more, have it feel, I mean, it's, of course that I know you're serious with it, but still to have that more laid back feel mm-hmm to it just, you know, I have felt that before, when I've sat on the floor with adult clients, mm-hmm with yoga, mm-hmm and we're both doing yoga and, and there's something it's like feels more casual, even though we're doing some somatic work and it just FA I don't know, it almost like takes a barrier down.

It's hard to

Nicole Osbourne: explain. Yeah, no, I, I completely agree. Like there's some clients I sit on the floor with. And so, yeah, again, it just kind of, you know, takes away the, the whole stigma of therapy that like, we both have to sit in chairs. We both have to be this certain or like I'm the expert in my expert therapist

mighty of like the whole power dynamics and hierarchy, like me and my husband are not about that at all. Like, we're like, We're two human beings in a space, you know, I'm here to support you. And so like let's literally, you know, lower the hierarchy, the barriers, and let's just sit on the floor, sit on yoga mats, sit on pillows and just

Chris McDonald: have a good time.

Nice. And I wonder too, if, cause I, I think about this when I, I used to work with teens a lot and would tell parents to open conversation with teens while they're driving while they're side by side with their teen, because they're not facing them. And I wonder if. Same kind of dynamic as at play with walk and talk that you're side by side, if that can lessen some of the intimidation with therapy

Nicole Osbourne: and yeah, I think so.

I, I really do think so. Cause I think about some of my clients who struggle a little bit with eye contact and especially the teens, cuz. Not gonna allow teams are it's a little, it can be tough, awkward sometimes so, and that's okay. I embrace the awkwardness. It allows me to be more awkward and goofy in session, but yeah, just walking side by side, it again just is like, all right, like I'm just talking to someone.

I don't have to make eye contact. There's not that pressure to like stare at each other in the eyes.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. I'm just thinking about some of my, uh, clients on the spectrum too, that they

Nicole Osbourne: would love this . Yeah. Yeah. I bet that would be really, really helpful and really amazing for.

Chris McDonald: More of a connection too, cuz that can, I know it feels stressful for them just to always feel like not that they have to look eye contact, but still it's just still can be awkward for them.

Nicole Osbourne: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I could definitely see the benefit for that population

Chris McDonald: and I'm thinking of anxiety too, that. I get some, I don't know if you've seen this too, that some clients that come in, they just have so much energy and restlessness. I mean, for me, I do yoga and that's my body based stuff, but I was like, maybe you could find yoga in the park and then go for a little walk.

Ooh. We're getting

Nicole Osbourne: somewhere. That would be really nice. That could be like a whole experience. Like if it was like a hour and a half session, you know, do some yoga, some walking, you know, all that good stuff. That would be really cool. See then I,

Chris McDonald: my thought goes to it's 95 and a hundred percent human me out.

well, you could do it in the fall.

Nicole Osbourne: I think the fall. I know exactly. It's my favorite time to do walk and talk just because the leaves are changing. Yeah. I think you're right. Like it is so beautiful. And so, yeah, I would say maybe, maybe try it out in the fall time. Do a little test run. Yeah,

Chris McDonald: no, I think that sounds wonderful.

Um, just getting that fresh air, cause I use a lot of the mindfulness techniques and grounding too. And what better way to do tree poses than being surrounded by trees?

Nicole Osbourne: Yes, exactly. Exactly. And I also mix it up. I've done art in the park with clients. I've done photography. My husband plays outside with his clients and so he, you know, throws a football or plays soccer or he even brings toys.

And so you can make it as creative as you want it to. That's that's

Chris McDonald: good. So I think just adapting to whatever you offer mm-hmm might be helpful too. Now what about if you, where your office is that you don't have any places to

Nicole Osbourne: walk? Yeah, that's a good question. So for us, we have the opportunity to have our office right next to a trail here in North Carolina, which.

So ideal when we got the office, we were like, this is perfect. Yeah. Um, but we also offered at a larger park. And so if somebody were to do it, they could also potentially, depending on their office space, they could potentially walk in the parking lot. I've seen other people walk in the parking lot near my office.

Um, if it's spacious enough and safe, or if you live next to a neighborhood walking in the neighborhood where there's houses and everything, again, making sure it's safe and scoping it out before you actually go to do it. But I would say. Neither of those options are possible. You're probably gonna have to find actual park and just making sure you time out your sessions, um, and making sure you have a gap in between your sessions so that if you have another walk and talk, that's what I wondered.

Yeah. You have time to recover or if you need to go back to the office or if you need to go do virtual. So I typically here in Greensboro, there's not a lot of traffic and everything's close together. Typically put 15 to 20 minutes in between just so I have time for transition. Um, for some people they may need more time.

And so it just depends on how you wanna make your schedule.

Chris McDonald: It sounds like you'd have to be a little bit of thought with putting that together. Mm-hmm figuring that part out, cuz yeah, that could

Nicole Osbourne: get tricky. Yeah. I remember when I first started, I had a regular like virtual session and then I had a park session.

I only had 10 minutes and the park is only, I think. Five to seven minutes from my house. I was like, oh, I have time. But of course the walk and talk session ran over and I was like, crap. I was like, speeding home. I was like, oh, so harsh. So yeah, definitely make sure you scheduling. Yeah. Yeah. You leave time for buffers.

Also, just making sure, like I said before, do the prep upfront. So when you go to out places, you wanna walk, time it out. Can sure. You can find like shortcuts. If you need to walk back early, it's always better to walk back earlier than, you know, being late. So just taking time to just be mindful of just your surroundings.

So you don't wanna go for an eight hour hike yeah, no, I, I don't think I would recommend that. I mean that if you're doing an eight hour session yeah, right. That you're doing an intensive, see you being

Chris McDonald: like, oh my God time.

Nicole Osbourne: Oh, over

Chris McDonald: time. yeah. Okay. Want to think about like finding a place that has good trails, maybe mm-hmm , but not too, you know, or timing it so that you turn around a certain time and right.

Exactly. Figure that out. Yeah. So that's again, being thoughtful with that. Mm-hmm yeah. Something and there's a partner here that has like. These, these one mile loops, even if you didn't twice, you know, that could work.

Nicole Osbourne: Yeah. And like, there's been times where I thought about, like, I had one client specifically who they brought their kid to session and we only strictly did walk and talk.

They didn't wanna do the office. They didn't wanted, we had to do virtual every now and then. Okay. But they brought their child to the session. And for me, it. Accessibility, like you're able to, yes, mm-hmm they weren't able to afford childcare. So they brought their child to session and they just put 'em in the stroller and everything was good telling clients, if it's okay with you, they can bring their dog.

I had one client bring their dog or they can bring their kid if their kid is yeah. Animal therapy. Right. Exactly. So, yeah, there's. There's options and trying to be accessible if you can, if it's not an option for you, that's okay. Are there

Chris McDonald: downsides to it?

Nicole Osbourne: Hmm. Are there downsides? Um, if you want to do, if you're a therapist who likes to do a lot of like, uh, worksheets in session, like write this out and there's nothing wrong with that.

I do worksheets and sessions too, but if you're going into the session thinking like, oh, I really wanted to do this worksheet. That's probably not gonna be the best option unless you're able to verbally talk out the worksheet I've done before. Oh, okay. Um, I would say that's a downside if you're big on worksheets.

Um, another downside again, the weather. So like for example, I've had clients who are like, yay. Super excited. And then the weather switches up. Oh yeah. That's true. That's, that's a bummer.

Chris McDonald: So then do you just switch to in person or?

Nicole Osbourne: Yeah. So we'll either do in the office or virtual, just depending on their preference.

Other downsides, thankfully, uh, we're the park that we go, it's not noisy, but I can imagine in other parts of the country just being mindful of noise level. So if it is like a really noisy park, I know there's, I was recently in central park a couple weeks ago, and I think there's a therapist out there who does walk and talk in the, in central park.

But for me personally, I don't know if that would be enjoyable just because it's so busy. yeah, that's true. So that is a downside. So just being mindful of surroundings and noise, or if there's a concert or right. ,

Chris McDonald: I'm just thinking something loud going

Nicole Osbourne: on. Right. And, and the park that we go to, they have certain regulations where you can't sit in the grass.

Um, so you can't like have, cause it's a national kind of park. And so you're not allowed to sit in the grass. And so. For clients who have wanted to sit in the grass, we have to go to a whole separate park. And so just again, doing the prep work, knowing what you're getting into, knowing what time the parks close.

I, me and my client both almost got locked into the parking lot because, because I didn't realize the park the lot closed at five and our session ended at like four 50 something. And so yeah, I would say that's a downside of parking's an issue or anything like.

Chris McDonald: And I would think too clients that might have mobility concerns.

Nicole Osbourne: Right? Yeah. And you also don't have to walk, like you can just sit in, sit on a bench. So I've had some clients, I'm not feeling like walking to my, like, all right, cool. Like let's just sit on this bench. Oh, okay. So it's just

Chris McDonald: kind of making it just outdoor mean outdoor

Nicole Osbourne: therapy

Chris McDonald: at that point. Yeah. Cause I guess from the therapist side, I have some chronic pain issues.

So that was my only concern too, was like, if I'm having a bad day, would I just be like, can I put that in the paperwork? that my back's not up to it or we, maybe we can sit on the bench.

Nicole Osbourne: Yeah. Or you can, I've rolled out yoga mats before where you sit in the grass or find a blanket if a client's comfortable with being that close together.

But yeah, it's, it's all about flexibility. I would say if you're a therapist who has a difficult time with flexibility, or isn't open to flexibility, that's flexibility, walk and talk may not be the best option or, you know, just putting certain boundaries on it, where it does work for you. So either one of those,

Chris McDonald: cause it doesn't sound like you can't be totally rigid and structured with

Nicole Osbourne: this.

No, no, definitely. But that won't work no, no, definitely. Can't be rigid or tructure.

Chris McDonald: I know you mentioned outdoor play therapy. So what is

Nicole Osbourne: that? And how does that work? Yeah, so my husband, he does play therapy. He's been doing it for a while now and basically, um, same kind of concept we thought about like, okay, like let's continue bring therapy outdoors.

We love nature. Why not combine the tube being outside and playing. And so kids naturally like to be outside. They like to run around to burn off that energy anxiety. Trauma symptoms, depression, symptoms, anything like that. And so what my husband did, uh, is we got two like little tumble mats, and basically he does play therapy on those mats.

And so he brings out his big, like toy chest and he sits under a shaded tree and he has the kids to play therapy on the, on the little mats or he'll throw a football with them or play soccer. So again, just being flexible and open to just the possibilities of what therapy could look like for kids especi.

Yeah, that's

Chris McDonald: very interesting. Cause I used to do play therapy, but I had never thought about outdoors with it. That's like taking

Nicole Osbourne: it whole other level. Yeah. Yeah. And I've seen some therapists, you know, do art therapy outside. So having chalk and things like that, honestly, the possibilities are endless obviously as long as you're being ethical and safe and your liability insurance covers it.

And if you have questions, call your liability. I. But yeah, everything that we've done, we've researched and we've okay. You know, looked over liability and all that stuff. And again, thankfully, we haven't had any injuries or issues or anything severe, any problems with bugs. That would be my, no, to be honest, not really.

Uh, I bring bug spray with me. So I bring you books spray, um, like an all natural books spray. So no worries about. You know, chemical ingredients or allergic reactions. Yeah. Um, bring water tissues. My feelings will, but yeah, no issues with bugs, thankfully, maybe one or two times, but it was for like a very brief

Chris McDonald: moment.

That's good. Yeah. Cause I know that could be sometimes with when you're outside. You never know. Yeah. I'm

Nicole Osbourne: not a, not a fan of the bugs. I love nature. The bugs meaning can.

Chris McDonald: Exactly. So what about clients with insurance? Does insurance, would that not cover this kind of therapy and do you

Nicole Osbourne: know? So I I've read different things.

So I've read that if you're offering outdoor. Or walk and talk therapy that you can leave the office cuz you have to come back and insurance will cover that. Mm-hmm I've also heard a therapist say that you can make, uh, it, the intervention. So walk and talk therapy is the intervention. So there's. I don't know the correct full answer to be very honest.

That's okay. They're not saying we're, we're like doing anything illegal or anything like that. No, I know. I know, but just being mindful of the CPT codes, um, and the location codes that's and also asking insurance, they would cover it. So just being mindful of those factors, but for the most part we're private pay and so, oh, okay.

Um, uh, we don't go through insurance unless the client needs a super bill. And so the clients we do walk and talk with, it's usually they're the private pay clients.

Chris McDonald: Do you charge more for a walk and talk? Or is it the same price?

Nicole Osbourne: Nope. The same price. So we charge the same.

Chris McDonald: Oh, okay. I told you I had a lot of

Nicole Osbourne: questions.

it's okay. I want people to know, like, I know what they're, you know, what to expect, what they're getting into. Um, when I was. Searching around. I was looking for all this information and I didn't really see it out there. Um, and so I'm glad that, you know, you invited me to be here to talk about it because I would've had all the questions that you have.

Absolutely. And people, people are more than welcome to contact me if they have more questions. Um, but to be very honest, it's pretty. It's pretty straightforward. So basically the steps that I would say is make sure your liability insurance covers it. Find a couple parks that you want to go to or offer.

Or if you're looking for an office space, finding an office based near a park trail, having our clients sign a waiver during the intake, and then also talking about it during the intake, letting your clients know to wear comfy shoes and brings water, letting them know that you'll text them the day before or day of if you need to switch.

When you get to the actual park, giving them the lay of the land. So basically what I do is say, Hey, so this is the park. We're gonna walk probably about two miles. You either take this side, this trail or this trail, which one do you wanna do? So giving them autonomy to choose. And so giving them the lay of the land and then making sure you have any tissues, any kind of therapy tools that you want to bring.

Um, I also bring in a little deck of therapy cards or self-reflection cards. Um, and then you just do the session and then it's.

Chris McDonald: So maybe I'm not oversimplifying, I'm making it more difficult.

Nicole Osbourne: what would you say for you is I guess the, the hesitation to offer interviewing need, but I'm wondering, I know

Chris McDonald: I'm just thinking again, the temperature for me, cause yeah, well here's the problem.

Like if I get overheated too, it can like trigger migraines for me. So I've always like really cautious in North Carolina. yeah. And the temperature varies as you know, so significantly. Right here. So, yeah, but I guess if you had a policy in place, that would be fine. Yeah. You know, but you can, I guess you can just, if you really think about it, put all those things in place.

Mm-hmm to say, Hey, here's my procedure. I will text you the night before. If something's going to happen with the weather that will need to do whatever different kind of sessions. So mm-hmm but I think just putting that into plan, I was concerned with the insurance piece too, cuz I do take some insurance.

Yeah. So, but from what I heard. You can't, but I don't know. There's different, I guess you'd have to figure out the insurance you take and if

Nicole Osbourne: they cover it. Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, there's, there's, you know, some factors to look into, but I think it's pretty, pretty feasible. Like when we first started out, because we started out during the pandemic.

Um, yeah, we noticed just a shift in more people offering outdoor and walk and talk therapy. So I think it's becoming more trendy ish now to have that option. Absolutely.

Chris McDonald: And I did do, we didn't call it this back then when I first started in my career, working with difficult kids and adolescents that had really severe issues, some of them wouldn't talk.

So that was perfect. And I played more basketball with boys outside, but we, and sometimes we would just go for a walk around the GRA. It was a specialized school for kids with behavior issues, but. We would just go outside and walk, but I didn't think of it as walk and talk there. I'd be like, we're just gonna try to do some out of the box stuff cuz sitting in my little tiny windowless office.

Nicole Osbourne: Wasn't helpful. No, not windowless

Chris McDonald: shoot. Oh that was brutal, man. So yeah, you, you kind of had to. To really meet these kids differently. Yeah. But so many of 'em would relax more and talk more mm-hmm yeah. So it, it, it does bring a different style of therapy, I guess, especially those difficult kids and adolescents that aren't, it's not their favorite.

And I think boys mm-hmm Hmm.

Nicole Osbourne: let's fix some of my husband works with a lot of teenage boys. And so I think if he didn't offer walk and talk therapy, he. I do it. Yeah. , it's a good option, isn't it? Yeah. Yeah. Cause I mean, there's a stigma obviously for males, you know, in therapy. And so to say like, Hey, like let's go, just meet at the park and talk.

It's like, oh, okay, cool. Like, we're going to the park. We're not like, you know, going to a doctor, office ish kind of vibe.

Chris McDonald: I'm glad you said that, cuz I guess, does it help with the stigma of therapy and mental health you think?

Nicole Osbourne: I think so. Cuz a lot of people, a lot of perspective clients have called and be like, oh my gosh, I've never heard of this.

Like yeah, this is cool. This is interesting. And so they're more open to the idea of therapy just based off that even if they only do office sessions. Sure. The fact that we offer something that's non-traditional and kind of breaks the box of what therapy quote unquote should look like. I think people are just like, oh wow.

Okay. So therapy doesn't have to be in an office. It can be, you know, I guess per se.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And to me it is more holistic too, cuz you're using the physical, but then you're working on the mental health piece and yeah. And a connection to me it's like a spiritual piece too. Yeah. Connection to the earth, whatever you believe with

Nicole Osbourne: that.

And yeah, no we're, we're spiritual. And so, you know, just being connected to the earth and just seeing God's creation and just seeing. The small details and having gratitude and just for everything that's been created for us to just be able to enjoy. So it definitely is spiritual for us. Mind, body spirit,

Chris McDonald: right?

Mm-hmm , mm-hmm love that. So, Nicole, was there anything else you wanted to share about this?

Nicole Osbourne: I think we covered everything. I, I think we covered just all the amazing benefits of it, things to be mindful of and aware of just steps to take. And so if you wanna do it, I say, do it, what are you saying? Do it.

just, just do it and you can always try it out. And if it doesn't work, like that's true, you just don't offer it again. And that's all right. Like you. Pivot. And so if it does work out even better, but you know, there's no harm in trying.

Chris McDonald: Absolutely. So what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you?

Nicole Osbourne: Yeah, so people can follow me on social media, uh, most active on Instagrams. So at milk and honey therapy, you can also go to my website, which is milk and honey therapy.com. And if you'd like to get in contact with me, you can send me an email at Nicole milk and honey therapy.com. And we'll

Chris McDonald: put those in the show notes as well.

So people can access that. But I wanna thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Nicole Osbourne: Thank you for having me, Chris, I enjoyed my time here.

Chris McDonald: This has been great. And listeners, don't forget to join us for another episode next Wednesday. If you haven't already, please write in, leave a review today on whatever podcaster you're using.

This helps us to continue to grow our holistic community. This is Chris McDonald sending each one of you. Much light in love until next time. Take care. Thanks for listening to the holistic counseling podcast. Ready to engage with other holistic counselors. Head on over to my Facebook group, the holistic counseling and self care group, where you'll be able to connect with other holistic counselors, just like you.

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