Where do you do your walks?

Dr. Doherty choses park or park-like areas within the Portland metro area that are accessible and uncrowded, and also provide greenery and some sense of solitude. He will share specific location details with clients. Walks are of moderate intensity with some minor uphill and downhill sections depending on the location. Running, scrambling or climbing is not included.

Do I need special clothing or shoes?

Dr. Doherty asks clients to dress for the day’s weather and provides clothing recommendations. Lightweight walking or trail running shoes are suggested. Otherwise, no special clothing or gear is required.

What about privacy and confidentiality?

In addition to the customary discussion of consent and confidentiality with clients, we also discuss any privacy or confidentiality issues that may arise when walking. Dr. Doherty choses areas that less likely to have issues with meeting other walkers or being overheard. Walking therapy clients are self-selected and tend to be comfortable with the arrangement. Dr. Doherty’s job to make sure his clients are fully briefed so they can make informed decisions. Walks can also be adjusted as required by the  conditions.

Do I need a medical clearance?

Dr. Doherty recommends all of his clients obtain regular physical exams to identify issues that may affect their mental and physical health (whether they access walking therapy or not). No special medical clearance is required for walking. Please discuss any medical or health issues with Dr. Doherty.

How long are walking sessions?

Typical sessions are approximately 60 or 90 minutes. Other timings may be discussed.

What does a typical walking session look like?

As a trained facilitator of outdoor experiences, I sequence activities for the client. A typical walking session will begin with a brief check-in and planning discussion to confirm the goals of the session and any details about the location. Depending on the client’s needs and preferences, the session may be conducted primarily while walking or may also include sitting, guided meditation, self-reflective, or guided stress management or nature connecting exercises (such as observing local plants and animals).

How far do you walk?

Distance and durations of time spent walking during the session vary based on Dr. Doherty and the client’s pace, other activities such as sitting or mindfulness exercises, and the location and conditions.

How do you deal with risks?

Dr. Doherty relies on his past experiences as wilderness therapy guide, outdoor leader, and educator when he considers risk management for outdoor walking therapy. He limits risk by scouting and choosing appropriate locations, and moderating the scope and pace of activities. All activities take place in the Portland metro area with access to cell phone communications and emergency services. Dr. Doherty has CPR and wilderness first aid training.

What if there is a storm or bad weather?

Dr. Doherty offers walking therapy in the spring, summer and early fall months when the weather and ground conditions are most conducive to walking outdoors. In the case of adverse weather, Dr. Doherty will contact clients. If needed, walking sessions can be changed to office or telehealth sessions.

Do you do walks with couples?

Dr. Doherty does offer walking therapy with couples if both partners are willing.

Can I switch between walking sessions and office or Zoom sessions?

Walking sessions are an optional, added-value service and can be alternated with office or telehealth sessions.