“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

– Najwa Zebian


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From Jill Hamilton Buss, Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Life can be difficult, throw us curves, take turns we didn’t see coming. If we’re not careful, the curve or challenge (and our response) can evolve into a negative pattern. Things like:

  • Anger, substance use, over-eating, chronic stress, anxiety or depression

My goal is to create a safe, nonjudgemental place for you to get support, learn new ways of coping or find ways to make needed changes. To begin to heal and feel better.

My approach is holistic – meaning that we’ll talk about your overall well-being. Mental and physical health are inextricably linked. When one is out of balance, often the other is not far behind.

Chronic stress can and does impact physical health. Likewise, taking better care of our whole selves improves recovery from…everything.

One strategy I offer is “walking and talking”.  About twelve years ago, a client who was dealing with extreme anxiety and relationship challenges could barely sit still during our weekly session.

Instinctively I said, “Would you like to go for a walk?”  Without hesitation, she said, “YES!“We walked, talked, got fresh air, and she got a fresh perspective, endorphins and was better able to think, untangle her nerves and problem-solve.

With that, my “walk and talk therapy” journey began. Offering all of the benefits of traditional therapy, Walk and Talk Therapy/Coaching propels people forward – literally and figuratively.

This is just one option. I also offer traditional counseling (which most clients still choose). But, if the idea of walking while talking appeals to you or to your teen, it always remains an option.

Clients of Walk and Talk therapy all over the country (I’m not the only one) have said that the simple act of walking while doing therapy creates an environment of possibility and change. While not being a “workout”, the process can provide physical as well as emotional benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions About Walk & Talk

It’s essentially the same thing as traditional therapy but we are walking while we talk. We’ll do this outside in beautiful settings in Winter Park, Maitland or around the Baldwin Park Lake Loop.  You set the pace and always have the option for an in-office session.  When we walk, we’ll meet at a trailhead or in a park – most with restroom facilities.  We can discuss locations when we schedule your session.

No. The focus is fully on mental health.  However, the simple act of walking (with or without therapy) is healthy for the body – and mind. Research shows it improves muscle tone, strengthens bones, improves circulation and obviously it burns calories. It helps regulate blood sugar which is especially healthful for people with diabetes. Mentally, it has been shown to help alleviate stress, improve mood and calm anxiety. You will set the pace and brisk or very slow – whatever works for you is the perfect pace.  Sitting to rest or pause and reflect is part of the journey too.

Absolutely. It is your choice to walk and talk outdoors or to meet in my Winter Park office (pictured here) if that is what you prefer. I always respect your choice – no pressure.

If we get rained out or it is just too hot (or cold), we can meet in my office. It is always the client’s choice to make the ‘weather call.’ The office is always an option and I respect your choice. If you prefer to walk outside, I’ll say, “Let’s go!”

(This is my office – cozy, calming and always there if you prefer an indoor session.)

Size truly does not matter.  We can go slowly. Very slowly. The point is just to move, to breathe and to take the first step.  And then another. The rest will work itself out. People of all shapes and sizes can and do walk (or roll – persons in wheelchairs are welcome). If you have special needs or concerns, we can talk about them. Just email me and let’s schedule a time to talk. But after many years of walking with people of all ages and sizes, I am confident (even if you’re not) that you can do this.

Depending on where you live and your preferences, we’ll meet at one of several scouted walk locations in Winter Park, Maitland or Baldwin Park.  Most locations have restroom facilities.   When we walk, it will be at your pace, along tree-lined streets with birds, lakes and often, even peacocks. Or we can meet in my office if you prefer. (A peacock I photographed on one of my walks.)

You can choose one hour (full 60-minute session); or an hour and a half (90 minutes).  Some walks offer places to sit, rest and look at the lake or trees.  These moments to rest and drink in nature are also important and therapeutic. We can intentionally plan to walk part of the time and sit and talk part of our time.

Many friends walk and talk.  I’d encourage you to begin to notice how many people you see out walking and talking.  Who would know that we weren’t just friends out for a walk? If by chance we run into someone you know, I will follow your lead. A quick hello or a wave may do the trick but it’s always up to you to acknowledge me.  If we see someone I know, I’ll just give them a quick “hi” and keep moving.  Everyone understands the universal language of  body language that says “I’m in an important conversation – I can’t stop to talk now.” If they ever do attempt to interrupt, I’ll just say, “I’ll give you a call” and keep walking. I would never disclose our relationship – it is confidential.

Wear clothes and shoes that are comfortable for walking. Shorts, tennis shoes – whatever makes you comfortable – that’s all that matters.  You can also carry a water bottle if you like.

If you have any medical condition(s) or any concern about participating, you should check with your doctor. However, most people are able to walk and talk at a slow pace with little or no problem. (You will need to sign a general release – see Forms and Fees.)

If you haven’t been walking much recently, we’ll take it slowly, go a short distance at first and build the time and distance slowly. You always set the pace – and always reserve the option to meet in my office.

Individual Coaching / Therapy Rates:
60 – minute session –  Full Hour:   $90
90-minute session – 1.5 hours: $130

Phone calls will be billed at the same rate as individual psychotherapy for calls longer than 15 minutes (pro-rated). The duration and frequency of sessions that are best for you will be discussed during the initial appointment. Cash, credit card or check accepted for payment at the time of service.

I provide all the necessary paperwork for my clients to be reimbursed by their insurance provider. The majority of my clients receive some form of reimbursement from their insurance. Please call your insurance provider to determine your coverage.

“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” 

― Shannon L. Alder

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