by Amy Emmerson

It is the summer solstice! The longest day of the year with over fifteen hours of sweet, sweet daylight.

Are you in the habit of marking the changing seasons? I am drawn to nature and to the changing seasons, and so it is only natural that, in my therapist training, I have been drawn to Eco TA; a growing Transactional Analysis movement developed by Hayley Marshall and Giles Barrow.

Eco TA is a therapy all about the connection (or disconnection) we have with our natural world, driven by our ‘out of awareness’ ecological scripts. Eco TA encourages taking therapy outdoors and exploring how we understand ourselves and others in connection with our environment.

I find being outdoors incredibly nourishing, and it enables me to connect with my inner Child. Having my own children has provided the perfect permission to reconnect with the things I loved to do when I was little: paddling in streams, climbing trees, dancing in the rain, foraging for brambles, and coming home from a walk with a handful of twigs and sticks! It is so easy to feel removed from these simple joys and let them escape day to day life.  Offering walk and talk therapy has given me the opportunity to share the enchantment I feel in the natural word with my clients.

The seasons remind me, and reassure me, that there is room for all of our experiences. Space for growth and hope like the first shoots of spring emerging after winter; time for energy and anger like the intensity of the sun-soaked summer; time for slowing down and letting go, like the gentle sigh of autumn, leaves and seeds falling to the floor; room for sitting in grief and sadness, like the deep, dark, cold winter that seems to never end. Then on the cycle goes, over and over, but each season takes its time; it does not apologise or rush. Each season, like each stage of our personal journeys, is necessary and valuable in some way.

An outdoor therapy session can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the therapist. It can simply be using the outdoors as the therapy room and walking and talking, which, as you are side by side with your therapist rather than being sat across from each other, changes the energy and dynamic. It can give a sense of journeying alongside and together with your therapist. It can also be used in a creative way: to explore what you are drawn to – perhaps a bench, a tree, or running water. These internal pulls can offer clues to what we may need in our internal landscape, being drawn to water could indicate a need for calm, a tree could indicate a search for resilience and strength.

If your interest has been piqued there are a number of Ellesmere trained therapists who offer walk and talk therapy in Hull and East Yorkshire: