I think that a lot of the time I focus really heavily on describing everything that Run Talk Run is.
It is easy to talk about what a supportive, community-focused, all-ability-welcoming, open and honest environment we are.
What is more tricky, or avoidable perhaps, is talking about what we are not.
But talking about what we are not, is super-duper important.
Talking about what we are not helps people distinguish whether or not we are really “right” for what they need.
Run Talk Run is not group therapy.
But why not?
The simplest way to answer this is to explain that group therapy would require a leading therapist.
Run Talk Run leaders are not therapists.
(well, actually, some are… but they are not acting as therapists in the RTR sessions).
Does that mean that Run Talk Run is not as effective as group therapy… with a “proper” therapist?
Well, yes and no. It’s the classic “it depends”. It depends what you class as “effective” for you, personally.
Run Talk Run holds the belief that we need more less intimidating spaces to talk about our mental health. To achieve the less intimidating vibe, we believe that the run leaders should be on an equal playing field as the runners who attend. Whilst they are the navigators of the run, and have a responsibility to ensure everyone is safe, they can also use the session to talk about their shit, and be honest about their mental health too.
Everyone is equal at Run Talk Run.
Irrespective of pace.
Irrespective of confidence.
Irrespective of age, gender, athleticism, whatever.
And that means that the Run Leaders are no more qualified than you are.
They are just people who give a shit about mental health. Like you.
Sometimes, Run Talk Run might feel like group therapy, because it is such an open environment. The nature of running (and knowing that it’s a confidential space) allows an element of letting go of what we might usually hold internally on a day to day basis. When we are not used to experiencing this level of openness, it can feel like what we can imagine therapy to be.
But the Run Leader (and runners themselves) are not there to pull these things from you, or to encourage you to dig deep for this revelation. They are simply there to listen to whatever it is you need to share.
We are a mental health support community. Not group therapy.
We are here to bridge the gap between not talking at all, and the opposite end of the spectrum of receiving professional talking therapy.
And, an important note to end on….
You do not have to be professionally qualified as a therapist to be an empathetic listener.
See you at a Run Talk Run soon I hope. Please do email me using the contact form if you have any questions.