A New Twist On Mental Health: Running With The Therapist While Discussing Life’s Problems

By Robin Abcarian
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) After launching her “Run Walk Talk” practice three years ago, 33 year old Sepideh Saremi discovered other professionals were doing similar things: for example, she spoke with Wayne Sandler, a psychiatrist in Century City, who has two treadmills in his office.

REDONDO BEACH, Calif.

The psychotherapist was in running gear: black tank top, black leggings and black shoes. Her hair was pulled back.

She carried only her phone.

Leaving her office in Redondo Beach, Sepideh Saremi crossed a couple of streets, walked down a sloping path to the beach, then began to run north, toward the pier.

Had I been her patient, that’s when our session would have begun.

As we ran along the edge of the ocean, Saremi periodically asked me if I was OK, if the pace was good, if I was comfortable. I had a feeling that she was also reminding me that we were not pals, which struck me as entirely appropriate.

Running, I’ve learned over the decades, is the best kind of therapy. You always feel better after. Combining it with actual talk therapy, as Saremi does, seems like such an obvious practice, I wondered why no one had thought of it already.

Turns out, a handful of therapists around the world already have.

But Saremi, who was born to Iranian parents in Germany, didn’t know that when she began taking male clients for walks.

She had recently graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in social welfare and was treating Farsi-speakers in a community mental health program run by Jewish Family Services.

It occurred to her that getting out of the traditional office setting might be helpful, particularly for some of her male clients, who did not seem comfortable in the traditional therapeutic setting.

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