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Portland Hiking Therapy

An Outdoor Approach to Mental Wellness

If you're looking for a different approach to therapy, you have found it. Hiking Therapy takes place outdoors on the trail and involves partnering with nature as an aid in developing mental wellness. Rather than meet at the office and sit, we meet at the trail where we walk and talk.

In a Hiking Therapy session we often focus on personal goals, similar to what we might do in the office or via telehealth, and we get the added benefits of physical activity and time in nature. Many individuals find that walking while talking makes the therapy process feel less formal and more approachable. Hiking Therapy is also offered in the group format. Check out the Hiking Therapy Group for Mental Wellness here. 

Nature-Based Stress Reduction

During a hiking session we may implement Nature-Based Stress Reduction techniques, a term coined by Dr. Thomas Doherty, which may include:

  • mindfulness

  • grounding skills

  • observing plants and animals

  • expressive exercises

Why Take a Session on the Trail?

Research shows that time in nature benefits our mental well-being by:

  • decreasing anxiety and stress

  • calming the nervous system

  • improving mood

  • increasing self esteem

  • improving a sense of connection to the natural world

Before We Go...

Are you excited about this format of therapy? Before we meet outdoors, we will complete a brief screening (completed within an intake or regular therapy session) to ensure that this format is a good match. In the screening we will go over your comfort level in the outdoors, and have a conversation about the pros and cons to this type of therapy so that you can choose to give informed consent after receiving all of the details. See more FAQ's below.

Research Opportunity

As of April, 2022, a partnership with Dr. Will Dobud, Phd, MSW, of Charles Sturt University (Australia), has allowed us to participate in a research study to monitor the effectiveness of adventure-based therapy- including our work together. If you choose to participate (anonymously), you will complete a brief survey following each session to give feedback to the effectiveness of our work together. This Adventure Therapy Outcome Monitoring (ATOM) research is being completed by adventure therapists around the world, and will be compiled to help further the advancement within the practice of adventure therapy. Participation is voluntary.

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