Outdoor Therapy

Outdoor Therapy

Into the woods…

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As well as offering therapy drawn from Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy models, much of my work is based in family therapy and relational models. These models draw heavily on the work of Daniel Stern and the relational therapists, as well as Peter Fonagay’s adaptation of attachment theory through a lens of relational theory.

Both of these theories emphasize a very physical grounding of the body in real experience to reprocess the way that traumatic experiences create “miswirings” or hypervigilant overprotective responses in the brain’s responses to the environment. Even for kids who have not experienced trauma, sometimes the freedom of talking while walking side by side, (instead of the pressure of talking face to face), and the opportunity to be challenged to run, or balance on logs, to throw leaves in the water or hit trees with sticks, and just be a kid without limits, is a wonderful freeing experience that can open up all sorts of therapeutic connection.

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For these reasons, I often go with kids into the woods. In Issaquah, we go behind the Highmark Medical building to a small sandy creek that runs through alder saplings, where we can watch the water level rise and fall with the seasons. At my Bellevue office, we have the good fortune of being very close to the Bellevue Botanical Garden where there are many wonderful walks including a Japanese garden, the lost meadow trail with interpretive signs about hidden wildlife, and a swaying suspension bridge over a ravine (where we can practice desensitization to heights).

Please note: I will only take your child out of the therapy office after checking with you first, so that you can dress him or her accordingly. Be advised that children who play near the creek may get wet.

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