As one of the most effective treatments available for symptoms of depression, anxiety, and related concerns, psychotherapy has enjoyed a long history of assisting clients who face considerable personal challenges, but has also remained open to the potential for concurrent activities to aid in recovery. In particular, exercise and physical movement have largely been embraced as supporting elements that can go a long way towards improving the efficacy of therapy and adding many psychological benefits to clients’ lives. Though many therapists and other professionals may recommend that their clients participate in physical exercise regimens, not all are able to offer an in-house program, something that a team in Texas has successfully launched for residents hoping to enjoy a better quality of life while they overcome mental, emotional, and behavioral concerns.
The team takes advantage of the increasingly popular format of group therapy, and carries this sense of community through to its physical activity offerings. Twice a week, participants are given an initial session in which to share their thoughts and feelings with the team’s therapist as well as with each other. After the session, clients focus on their general physical well-being through exploring nutrition and other important topics, while also joining in on walking, running, and other heart-pumping exercise modules. The specific offering of both psychotherapy and exercise may prove to help many clients access meaningful services that they may have otherwise overlooked or neglected to seek. As finding and acting upon the motivation to engage in therapy as well as to begin a personal exercise or nutritional program can be challenging even in the absence of depression, having both opportunities in a single service may result in greater use and accessibility. As the role of exercise in mental health becomes more clear, other potential teams may join together to provide comprehensive experiences for clients.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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