Walking together: the embodied and mobile production of a therapeutic landscape

Health Place. 2013 Nov;24:140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.08.009. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Abstract

This paper draws on a case study of led group walks in the South-East of England to explore the affective potency of shared movement for producing therapeutic landscapes (landscapes that through placed practices become associated with health and healing). The paper addresses the lack of attention to embodiment and movement in work on therapeutic landscapes through an exploration of how shared movement can produce supportive social spaces that are experienced as restorative. Drawing on an expansive conception of mobility inspired by the 'mobilities turn' in the social sciences in the last decade, the paper explores how the therapeutic landscape concept can be enriched by being approached through the lens of the body in movement. A complimentary concern in the paper is the ways in which supportive socialities and group dynamics are integral to many therapeutic landscape experiences. Walking together is found to have a significant impact on social interaction and together embodied mobilities and supportive socialities transform the countryside walkscape into a mobile therapeutic landscape and a site for shared therapeutic body work.

Keywords: Embodied mobility; Sociality; Therapeutic landscape; Walking; Wellbeing.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • England
  • Environment*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Walking / psychology*
  • Young Adult