Walk and talk counselling group - East Cheshire Hospice

Walk and talk counselling group

A leisurely stroll through Macclesfield Forest has become a popular way to assist with the grieving process.

The walk and talk counselling group run by East Cheshire Hospice using nature’s wonders as a backdrop help the bereaved cope with their losses.

Applications are open for the next series of six weekly 90-minute walks, starting on Wednesday, March 6.

The Forest Therapy group is available to family, carers and close friends of those who have accessed Hospice services in some way.

The walks, which began almost a year ago, are on a rolling cycle.

Hospice bereavement counsellors Helen Wilkinson (left) and Carole Hartley.

Bereavement counsellors Helen Wilkinson and Carole Hartley accompany the small groups whose feedback has been extremely positive.

Helen, the Adult Bereavement Services Manager, said: “The walks have been extremely popular, everyone has said they’d recommend it. One person said it’s so good it should be rolled out in all hospices.

“It’s important to emphasise the counselling and psychotherapy element because there are quite a few peer support groups out there already who are talking while they’re walking. But this group is run by two counsellors/psychotherapists.

“We cover a basic, gentle route and these walks have a huge benefit because we use nature as our playground for the therapy.

“Nature is so powerful in such a subtle way. People can relate to things instead of being sat in a room and talking intensely. We’ve found that outdoors things come easily to people, they can process grief in that natural environment.

“It might be a certain tree that resonates with them, or focusing on something that comes up for them during the walk.

“We’ve also had quite spiritual moments, with butterflies circling and robins stopping on the path in front. It’s powerful what you notice going through the forest and helps provide a gentle insight into someone’s grief.

“As it’s group therapy, people can say as much, or as little, as they want. But nine times of 10, the beauty of it is that someone introverted and quiet and quite isolated in their grief can often learn so much from others.

“It can bring them out of their shell and help their processes. They may make peer support connections afterwards as well.”

* To join the walk, or find out more, contact the Bereavement Services team on 01625 708936 or email cmicb-cheshire.echospicefsbereavement@nhs.net.

Back to all news
Find more news

How to donate to East Cheshire Hospice

Thank you so much for choosing to support East Cheshire Hospice. You may never know how much your gift means, but we know that it will make the world of difference to our patients and their families.