5 Benefits of DRT (Dynamic Running Therapy)

5 Benefits of DRT (Dynamic Running Therapy) -by theSUNNYshadow.comThirteen years ago, I began psychotherapy with twice-weekly sessions. On my way there, I’d sometimes wonder how in the world I was going to sit still for the full hour. The only way I managed the 30-minute drive was to blast heavy metal and sing the whole way there.

Back then, bipolar mania had me feeling like I was going to jump out of my skin. It had crossed that imaginary line from euphoric to unbearable. Many times, I considered asking my therapist if we could have my sessions outside. I thought the openness and fresh air may somehow calm the chaos within me. Apparently, I wasn’t too far off.

This all came flooding back to me when I discovered the Twitter account and website of William Pullen. Mr. Pullen is a London-based psychotherapist who specializes in DRT, or Dynamic Running Therapy. Not a runner? I’m not either, so don’t stop reading yet. DRT is not some type of exercise regimen. In fact, it’s not all about running at all. DRT is ‘as much about sitting and walking as it is about running.’

What Is DRT?

Dynamic Running Therapy

An integrative client-led psychotherapy conducted outdoors.

DRT is fundamentally the linking of movement (walking/running) with traditional talk therapy. It replaces the static atmosphere of the therapists’ office with an outside environment rich in life, change, and possibility. Less confrontative than an office where client and therapist “face – off” to one another, with DRT the therapist joins the client side by side, sharing each step.” ~via William Pullen B.Sc., M.A., MBACP, as stated on his website: dynamicrunningtherapy.co.uk

You may be asking what factors determine whether you sit, walk, or run. And the answer is: YOU! Though therapists may make suggestions, DRT is client-led. Ideally, through practicing self-awareness, you’ll be able to answer this question for yourself. “It is an important component of DRT that the client is empowered to lead the way to their own recovery as soon as they feel comfortable to do so.”

5 Benefits of DRT

Replaces the traditional confrontational environment with a united front. Bonus: it’s set in nature.

In many therapists’ offices, clients and therapists sit straight across from one another. This arrangement intrinsically fosters a confrontational and defensive environment. DRT replaces this with a cooperative side-by-side position. One that says, “we’re working together to find a solution.”

5 Benefits of DRT (Dynamic Running Therapy) -by theSUNNYshadow.com

It maximizes self-growth.

DRT capitalizes on the natural synergism of the body, mind, and spirit. Often, when we make progress in one area of our lives, it naturally extends into other areas of our lives too. While this is unintentional, it’s also favorable. DRT not only takes advantage of this, but aims to maximize it by facilitating momentum and growth.

Acts as the tangible and actionable step that’s sometimes lacking when we practice self-improvement.

When we do self-growth work, it can be easy to lose motivation if we don’t have something tangible to show for it. And when we’re anxious or worried, it tends to make us feel better when we take some type of action. DRT can provide us this.

Outdoors = Sunlight = Vitamin D

Not only does the sun give us a quick “pick me up,” it provides us with vital nourishment that many of us are lacking. In a previous blog post, I reference several studies that link low vitamin D levels to depression. Also mentioned is seasonal affective disorder {SAD}. SAD produces depressive symptoms that occur during the darkest time of the year, when days are shortest and sunlight is in short supply. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency has been shown to play a role in many major diseases. DRT indirectly addresses all of these factors. Though I suppose it is possible that some sessions are scheduled before or after daylight, considering busy schedules and season changes. {Never start or stop any medications, including supplements, without discussing it with your doctor first!}

Provides both physical and mental benefits. 

Despite mounting evidence on the benefits of exercise, psychologists don’t often use it as part of their treatment arsenal. In this 2011 American Psychological Association article, Kirsten Weir shares more research on why they should.

This 2006 article in The Primary Care Companion to Journal of Clinical Psychiatry instructs all mental health providers to share the following benefits of regular exercise with their patients:

  1. Improved sleep
  2. Increased interest in sex
  3. Better endurance
  4. Stress relief
  5. Improvement in mood
  6. Increased energy in stamina
  7. Reduced tiredness that can increase mental alertness
  8. Weight reduction
  9. Reduced cholesterol and improved cardiovascular fitness

The article goes on to state that “further studies should be done to understand the impact of combining such interventions with traditional mental health treatment including psychopharmacology and psychotherapy.”

Summary

  1. DRT replaces the inherently confrontational environment found in many therapists’ offices with a united front set in nature.
  2. It capitalizes on the natural synergism of the body, mind, and spirit, maximizing self-growth.
  3. DRT acts as the tangible and actionable step that’s sometimes lacking when we practice self-improvement.
  4. It provides us the routine opportunity to absorb healthy doses of vitamin D, something many of us are lacking.
  5. DRT benefits us physically as well as mentally.

Clearly, DRT is a worthy therapeutic option and can benefit just about anyone. I think it would have been particularly helpful to me when I was just starting out in therapy, thirteen years ago. But who knows, maybe for once my procrastination will pay-off. As much as I love therapy, I haven’t made finding a new therapist a top priority. Perhaps I can find one who specializes in DRT?!

Have you ever tried DRT? Share your experience in the comments!

SOURCES: dynamicrunningtherapy.co.uk (William Pullen, B.Sc., M.A., MBACP) | The exercise effect by Kirsten Weir,  American Psychological Association, (December 2011, Vol 42, No. 11) | Exercise for Mental Health, The Primary Companion to Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (2008; Ashish Sharma, M.D., Vishal Madaan, M.D., Frederick D. Petty, M.D., Ph.D.)

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer


10 Comments

  1. How cool is this?! I am a Therapist in St. Charles, IL + I love to allow my clients the freedom to explore various ways of healing beyond the traditional form of therapy. I had never heard of this — but this is awesome!

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