Narrative Walks is a hope-based, depathologising outdoor program that was developed to engage with populations who may not be drawn to conventional methods of therapy. This structured day program encourages participants to explore 15 narrative therapy questions, and to engage in a number of other activities during a 20 kilometre walk through the bush. The program invites different perspectives on problem stories, and offers walking as a narrative metaphor. In this video Chris outlines his own hopes for the future development of Narrative Walks as a program transferable to many people and lands.
Chris Darmody is a Father, Husband, Psychologist, Son, Dreamer and a number of other things. He has spent a large part of the past fifteen years working with young people and currently works in private practice in Perth, Western Australia. Chris is the founder of Embark, a service which develops and runs a number of therapeutic programs held outdoors in an attempt to address issues of power, connect people to their environments and engage with populations which may not engage with indoor therapy. Chris also helps run a Narratively Informed Non-For-Profit organisation which places a large focus on building upon skills young people already have to support their communities.
Published on 25 January 2019.
Some international responses:
I just watched your video clip about the Nature Walks and enjoyed hearing about the wonderful approach! I teach a class in Solution Focused and Narrative approaches for the Family Therapy Training Institute in Milwaukee, WI (USA). I will for sure share the link with my students and I would welcome any other resources you might have to offer.
Thanks again for your work!
I hope this email finds you well. I just watched your video on the narrative therapy page, I imagine you’ve been flooded with emails since you put it up! I’m an Australian therapist living and working in Santiago Chile. I also love hiking. I run a community hiking group that has (on the surface of it) nothing to do with therapy but I often find that the hikes provide spaces of connection and triumph, especially as many of the people I take up are migrants from all over the world, new to Chile and working hard to build new lives. In Santiago we’re surrounded by the Andes mountains, and there is something so very therapeutic about struggling up a mountain and forging back down it triumphant and exhausted, with new friends and a new outlook on life (literally, as the view on the way down always looks completely different to the way up!).
Your video made me think of a patient of mine who struggles to sit still in sessions because of back pain and who likes to keep active. I saw that you were very generously sharing your materials with therapists all over the world and thought I’d stick my hand up too. It’s such a fantastic idea. I had a few questions too- how big are the groups you take? Do all the facilitators have training in narrative therapy?
“Hei Chris Darmody,
Thank you for sharing your work and idea (this narrative walks -program). Here in Finland our oudoor-life is relatively huge part of our well-being. I have kind of artwork (I’m an artist but also social worker and art therapist) called “Storypal – may I walk with you?”. Now I’m collecting information and working methods for that and also for my art therapy group. Strengthening the natural relationship is also part of helping with environmental anxiety and grief caused by climate change and the ecological crisis. Now I have a weekly group and mostly it’s art therapy but I think maybe later in spring I want to take the group out to the nature and have a narrative walk. I’m interested of materials you use and what is the group structure, many members and how often do you meet?
Thank you and Warm regards from snowy Helsinki, Finland.”