The Flagler County business provides therapy sessions in relaxing outdoor environments at some of Palm Coast's many trails and parks.
With more than 100 miles of trails, Flagler County is the ideal location for Kim Devine’s walk and talk therapy business, Get Off the Couch Counseling, LLC.
“When I was doing it in New Hampshire, I did see huge results,” Devine, who moved to Palm Coast in 2012, said. “I primarily worked with women with a lot of anxiety, and I saw how beneficial it was to actually get out there and do the walking and how much quicker we actually would progress once we started doing that. So, that’s my hope doing the Get Off the Couch Counseling.”
The business name is a play on therapy sessions typically being done with the patient lying or sitting on a couch and the idea that physical exercise encourages more effective conversations. Devine, a licensed clinical social worker, founded her business in January 2018 with the goal of helping locals express themselves in an innovative way.
“I’ve always kind of wanted to do a private practice, and I spend a lot of time on the trails myself, so I do my best thinking when I’m on the trails,” she said. “Leading up to the end of last year, I really wanted to do this.”
After a phone consultation and in-person meeting with a potential client, Devine meets them at a local trail — her favorite being Waterfront Park — for an hour-long session that costs $85. Devine works with clients on a patient-to-patient basis financially, if needed.
The tree canopies, breeze off of the Matanzas River, winding paths and periodic benches in Waterfront Park offer a relaxing environment that Devine said helps her clients open up and feel more comfortable talking.
“I think people enjoy just getting out of the office,” she said. “We spend so much time sitting, that actually being able to get a little exercise and therapy has been a nice combination.”
While Devine’s current patients are females ranging from adolescents to middle aged, she said she’s able to work with anyone going through a variety of issues, including anxiety and depression.
Devine described one experience with a 13-year-old girl she worked with in an office setting. She said the girl would barely say anything while they sat there, but when she got her up and moving, the conversation started to flow easier.
“I think just the walking kind of loosened her up, so she’s engaged,” Devine said. “I don’t think it feels as intimidating as therapy.”