Walk therapy does have some unique considerations pertaining to confidentiality. The limits of confidentiality, in general and unique to walk therapy, are outlined in my consent form and discussed in person. If there are significant concerns about being identified or listened to in a public space, walk therapy is not recommended.
For clients without these concerns, I still address any questions. One of the most common is how to handle a walking into someone known on the path (therapist or client). This response is best handled before we start our process. Some clients feel comfortable stating our roles if we are stopped by someone familiar to them on our walk. For others, introducing a therapist as a “friend” and moving on may be preferred. Given that we walk on a low-traffic path, the likelihood of either is low. However, predicting and processing ahead of time is the best and most ethical approach.
In addition, sometimes there may be need to find privacy in our sessions, away from the path. Occasionally, we may take a break from being outdoors and move to the office. Importantly, these decisions are made collaboratively between therapist and client.
As outlined in my consent form, prospective clients need to ensure they are in good physical condition for exercise. Our walks are not rigorous, but we are exercising and others do move quickly on the path.
While accidents or health emergencies are unlikely, clients need to be aware (and consent to) a lack of liability I can provide for accidents or health related incidents. This includes the unlikely event of injury stemming from accidents with others (occasional bikers for example) or other health emergencies.
If there are any fears or uncertainty of a prospective client’s health status being sufficient to engage in walk therapy — another format is recommended.