Walk Inniú | Blog
Walk Inniú Counselling Psychotherapy Outdoors is David Staunton’s response to provide people in Ireland with an introduction and access to Ecotherapy.
Counselling, Psychotherapy, Dublin, Outdoors, David Satunton, Grief, Stress, Anxiety, Sexuality, Low Mood, depression, relationships, bereavement,
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Niall Breslin (Bressie) Bresie's Ironmind

The Dynamic Momentum known as ‘Bressie’

When a recognisable, well-loved and well-respected personality such as Niall Breslin (aka Bressie) talks openly about their personal mental health – they get an immediate and attentive audience.  But given the honesty and courage which Niall has spoken publicly with in recent times, he not alone earned but well deserves his audience – and what’s more his authentic efforts have gathered quite the ‘dynamic momentum’.

Not alone did Niall’s heartfelt disclosure of his struggle with anxiety spur the foundation of the A Lust for Life wellness website, (of which I was only too delighted to have been invited to write an article on ecotherapy for), his new creation on RTÉ Two, ‘Bressie’s Ironmind’ will explore the link between movement/exercise and well-being.


Bressie tells us that the aim,

“…was to work with a group of individuals with varying degrees of primary care mental health issues over the course of six months to train them to compete in a 70.3 Ironman Triathlon, but more importantly to develop their coping strategies and mental fitness with the hope that it would allow them deal much more effectively with their minds and emotional well-being”


However important it is that we see Bressie and his team of professionals exploring the link between ‘mind and body’ the benefit of having the topics of mental health and wellness being discussed on primetime national television is immense.  An inspirational and encouraging character the calibre of Bressie, can and has done so much for this nation’s wellbeing which is to be encouraged and admired, (no pressure intended Bressie).


At Walk Inniú of course we are a little (a lot) more sedentary about incorporating movement into counselling psychotherapy and although we get a lot of energetic hikers at our fortnightly Winter Walk and Talk’s at Dublin’s Phoenix Park, the pace is usually more of a ramble.  I know of a fellow practitioner in London who literally runs with his clients around a park during their sessions and this of course will resonate with people who enjoy jogging for its therapeutic benefits.

But when it comes to working with me here in Dublin the hint is in the name… it’s ‘Walk’ Inniú.


Walking Towards Wellness - Ecotherapy and Ecopsychology, David Staunton

Walking Towards Wellness – Ecotherapy and Ecopsychology, David Staunton


Click here to read my Walking towards Wellness – Ecotherapy and Ecopsychology article featured in Bressie’s Wellness Website ‘A Lust for Life’



Walk and Talk

7 Benefits from Walking and being Outdoors

Why should we walk?


  1. Exercise such as walking releases endorphins in our brains and this makes us feel better.


  1. Medical and General Practitioners advise us that walking outdoors in nature can support us with many health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and aid us with post cancer fatigue.


  1. Even leisurely walking outdoors improves our mood, self- esteem, and increases our motivation.


  1. When we walk in sunshine – we absorb Vitamin D and this helps us to reduce our levels of depression/low mood.


  1. When we walk outdoors in nature it can inspire and support us to grow, heal and learn, develop a sense of belonging, whilst restoring our self acceptance.


  1. After walking outdoors for even a short time – we are less likely to feel or tell ourselves we are ‘stuck’.


  1. Walking outdoors is good for the planet. Ecotherapy and ecopsychology are based on the assumption that as humans we have an innate instinct to connect emotionally with nature. In doing so we tend to care more for nature and become more aware of the poor treatment our planet receives from humankind. This reduces defence mechanisms such as avoidance and denial allowing us to move into a more accepting, caring and centred place.



Enjoy your walk…

The sun made it's way through the trees above

Describing Nature

Hi All,

Last week, as part of Laois Connects – Mental Health Awareness Campaign, I had the pleasure of being invited to the wonderful Abbeyleix Bog Project in county Laois to facilitate a group talk on ‘What is Nature?’  Although, we are in late autumn – the day was beautiful and the participants present were in no mood for sitting indoors.  Within seconds it became very apparent that the only item on our agenda was to decide how quickly we could get outdoors for a walk and we all agreed that if we gave ourselves 15 minutes of discussion indoors we could get out into the wonderful afternoon sunlight for a decent walk and talk on the bog.

The energy of the participants and their desire not to waste a moment of the October evening was infectious.  As the bog soaked up our chatter, our busyness and any fatigue that may have been lurking unbeknown to us within – we became alive and rejuvenated in the comforting hold of the natural space.  I suppose, we became closer to being ‘our authentic selves’.  Stories were shared and plenty of humour was present as we noticed how nature was preparing itself for the winter to come – a process which generally led us to check in with ourselves and become more aware of our own levels of wellbeing.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to find the words to describe nature…. but ask anybody in Abbeyleix and they are sure to send you in the direction of the welcoming bog at the end of their town, a bog which teams with life and has all the health and wellness we could ever need.

And all we have to do is give ourselves permission.


My sincere thanks and warmest best wishes to all of you who participated in the ‘Walk and Talk’ at the Abbeyleix Bog Project – DavidLaois Connects - bog

Mother You

Dublin Fringe Festival – Mother You, by Louise White

On the first night of the 2015 Dublin Fringe Festival, I had the opportunity to drink delicious home brewed fruit tea and broke bread with both the cast and fellow audience members in a thankfully un-let unit in Smithfield. I say thankfully, because had it been let then ‘Block B’ as it is called would simply become another out-of-bounds, nondescript office in our inner city instead of a place transformed by director Louise White and her team into a magical, yet all-too-real Laois bog land. White’s bog in Dublin city centre is fully replete with both biodiversity and what I would term ‘psychodiversity’ which is namely the common but varied human tensions and relational dynamics felt – but so often ignored by many of us who come together as a community to fight for what on a deeper level might not always be a ‘common cause’.

‘Mother You’ is White’s smart personal reflection on group dynamics which she sets against the narrative of the successful attempt by the intelligent and grounded efforts of the members of the Abbeyleix Bog Project to conserve and protect their local natural resource from decimation by Bord Na Móna. I always experience an exciting yet slightly edgy feeling when attending a performance in a non-traditional theatrical setting. Are we really in here? I wonder how they managed to get permission or did they bother to ask? Is that scaffolding part of the production or something that just happened to be left over from the builders?   ‘Performance-making’ in spaces such as Block B, I imagine encourages the artists and production team to really respect the non-conformity of the space and thereby the space in turn guides them to run with the unexpected during live performance.   The result, certainly in the case of ‘Mother You’, heightens the reality and tension experienced by us the audience.   As we met and mingled in the bare yet warm welcoming foyer, two local teenage lads walked straight in off Smithfield Square, heads held high with a suavity and outer confidence which left me wondering who were these two dashing theatrical Svengalis clad in hoodies? However, I also noticed that they made their grand entrance when the ticket collector was momentarily distracted and they were promptly but respectfully invited to exit, which they did so with the same swag as they had just entered. However, this hardly noticeable minor event added to my store of excitement and I was delighted to witness the fact that hosting performances in otherwise empty and usually closed-up buildings was attracting and tempting our youth to sneak into such performances. That, in my opinion is a good thing!

The performance of ‘Mother You’ has as much depth and as many layers as the bog in Abbeyleix. As a counselling psychotherapist, I ground my practice in ecotherapy and ecopsychology and through exploring our connection and indeed our disconnection with nature – I believe we can evoke the courage and strength to make positive changes in our lives. The understated yet beautifully authentic presentation by the cast of ‘Mother You’ gently encourages us to remember our feelings from our first day at school, at college, at our workplace or at any of the thousands of community events hosted the length and breadth of Ireland. Cringe and fold up inside as the dynamics unfurl in the magical space, knowing full well that you are that person, you have asked that question and you have felt that feeling.

Mother You Premièring Tiger Dublin Fringe September 2015. 9th - 14th & 16th - 20th - 7pm & 9pm  Preview 7th - 7pm & 9pm. Block B, Smithfield, Dublin 1.

Mother You Premièring Tiger Dublin Fringe September 2015. 9th - 14th & 16th - 20th - 7pm & 9pm  Preview 7th - 7pm & 9pm. Block B, Smithfield, Dublin 1.

White’s creative storytelling is as reassuring as it is healthily evocative and echoing what was being played out on stage (having been gently lulled into a ‘being’ mode from my earlier ‘doing’ mode), I sat with my own personal ambivalences and vulnerabilities in the audience. The significance and symbolism of sharing food amongst the cast and audience during the production reminded me that we were all in this together. The feeling of togetherness in turn cemented the conveyance of precious emotion from Louise White, through the talented cast and production team to us audience members.

It was only two days before the opening night did I learn quite by accident that on account of my Walk Inniú ecotherapy work and a recent visit to the Abbeyleix bog , was I to actually feature in ‘Mother You’. Imagine my excitement on knowing that I was to be mentioned in a Dublin Fringe Fest performance – a privilege and quite a first for me personally. Prominent members from the Abbeyleix Bog Project much more deservedly feature in ‘Mother You’ and all are presented in a unique and clever way. For me, most importantly ‘Mother You’ reflects on the passion and growing self-actualisation and realisations of a small midlands community and invites the rest of us to check in with our values and work through the cringe and dynamics of doing so as we come together as the communities which we really are.

Funny what you learn when the bog comes to Dublin…

(Mother You by Louise White in performance at Block B, Smithfield Square as part of the 2015 Dublin Fringe Festival www.fringefest.com)

David Staunton of Walk Inniú at Body and Soul Festival 2015

Body & Soul Festival 2015

This weekend, I took to the woods in County Westmeath. However, the trees in this wood were adorned and infused with the art and energy of several thousand happy revealers all enjoying the music and fun at this year’s Body and Soul Festival at Ballinlough Castle.


Taking our Ecotherapy Hedge School on tour is always exciting and the sun shone brightly on ‘The Sanctuary’ yesterday as a willing and able group of participants formed to partake in some mindful walking as we created a nature mandala together in the marquee after a brief introduction to Ecotherapy and Ecopsychology. And with the workshop completed the huge festival and all its energy was all there to explore…


I felt both energised and revived by the layering of a festival within the woodland. I believe that nature and art are never too far removed in any setting and when art respects, supports and listens to nature – they usually complement each other and encourage each other quite well.


But then again, art is nature…. isn’t it?

If you were there, but missed the workshop, Don’t worry.
You can avail of an exclusive offer just for Body and Soul 15 attendees here.


The Sanctuary workshop tent at Body and Soul Festival 2015

The Sanctuary workshop tent at Body and Soul Festival 2015

David amongst nature at Body and Soul Festival 2015

Resting amongst the woods at Ballinlough

The Sanctuary workshops tent at Body and Soul Festival 2015

The Walk Inniú Ecotherapy workshop was held in the Sanctuary

The Santuary at Body and soul festival 2015

The Sanctuary

Walk Inniú, Ú! 'Inniú' is Irish for 'Today' i.e, Walk Today, the answers are 'in you'.

Walk Inniú, Ú! ‘Inniú’ is Irish for ‘Today’ i.e, Walk Today, the answers are ‘in you’

Walk Inniú on the Sunday Timetable

Walk Inniú on the Sunday Timetable

Walk Inniú Workshop at Body and Soul 2015

The tent was a lovely space for a brief introduction to Ecotherapy and Ecopsychology

Mindfulness at Body and Soul 2015

We gathered mindfully around a handmade súgán (hay) rope.

Mindful Walking

Mindful walking as part of a mandala exercise incorporating nature

Ecotherapy discussion at body and soul 2015

If you missed the workshop at Body and Soul this weekend, don’t worry. We are delighted to exclusively offer €20 off our ‘Introduction to Ecotherapy & Ecopsychology’ Workshop to those who attended Body & Soul Festival 2015. The next workshop will be held on Sunday July 12th. Our workshops are delivered in a positive, relaxed and interactive manner in our sheltered outdoor ecotherapy hedge school in the beautiful hills of southwest county Dublin.

Places are limited. Find out more and reserve your place at walkinniu.ie/bodyandsoul

Love heart installation in the trees at Ballinlough woodland

Love heart installation above the trees

Colourful art in the trees at Ballinlough woodland

Colourful art in the trees at Ballinlough

3D Transparent art installation at body and soul 2015

There were lots of hidden pieces like this amongst the woods.

Portal into the eco crafts section at body and soul festival 2015

Portal into the green crafts section

More love hearts in the trees

More love hearts in the trees

The sun made it's way through the trees above

The solstice sun made it’s way through the trees above

Fantastic hanging installation in the trees at Body and Soul Festival 2015

This fantastic hanging installation was a favourite of mine and many others at the festival

Recycle your beat at body and soul

‘Recycle your beat’ was a real hit!


To find out more about the next ecotheraphy hedge school workshop and to reserve your place, visit walkinniu.ie/bodyandsoul

Places are limited. Special offer price is only available to those who attended Body and Soul Festival this year. €89 full price, €69 for Body and Soul Attendees.




Ravaged, cut, split, torn,
Growing heather, rushes, bushes, thorn.
Supersaturated, drowning,
Lakes and rivers without boundary,
Spilling into a vessel which can hold no more.


Patches and tufts of green misplaced,
Hold miserable animals wishing themselves elsewhere.
Driving, wetting, cruel mists and sheet rain,
Assuring a long hard winter before the next fine day.
Promising lower land will sleep dead underwater.


The men who pull and drag,
Life, rocks, clay and whins bush,
Suffer an eternity of forcing and cursing.
Trying to make land…
Instead of making time.

David Staunton


I wrote this poem not because I felt I could write poetry of any great merit – but because I had to.  It was written at a time when I was attempting to make sense of my world as I experienced it, to reconcile with dark memories from the past and acknowledge my fears and anger at the time of writing.  As I look back and reflect on the poem, I see my harsh projections of anxiety, negativity and anger at that time. Thankfully when it comes to exploration of a mindful manner, nature has an infinite holding capacity.  From a train window travelling through the west of Ireland in 2010, I became deeply aware of field after wet waterlogged field, passing in my gaze.  The fields seemed to invite me to explore my own busy, troubled and frightened self at a deep level – ‘to find Jung’s gold in the shadows’ as it were.  And for too long I had mined a lot of ‘fool’s gold’ – but I now felt more ready to look for the real thing.

Self analysis, self care and ongoing reflection is paramount for all counselling psychotherapists in order to provide a kind and therapeutically effective space for their clients.  Those wet fields and bogs of Connaught supported and held me as I wrote, inspiring and encouraging me to accept that the meaningful courage and strength I sought was accessible within my very being.  Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy at work.

‘We do not see things as they are we see them as we are’ Talmud

Body & Soul Festival 2012

Ecotherapy Hedge School at the Body & Soul Festival

13.30 – 15.00 Sunday 21st of June 2015 – Ecotherapy Hedge School at the Body and Soul Festival, Co Westmeath

The Walk Inniú – Ecotherapy Hedge School is thrilled to be chosen to facilitate an Introduction to Ecotherapy and Ecopsychology at the enchanting and ever-so-creative surrounds of Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath at the increasingly popular Body and Soul Festival this June.

I am really looking forward to facilitating a mindful, positive, interactive workshop which will include the participants creating a symbolic Nature-Mandala using a Native American experiential exercise – and all involved will receive a heartfelt memento for their participation.

Make sure to join us at Body and Soul.

Sign up at the festival or to reserve your place at our regular Hedge School Workshop just send us your name and email address to info@walkinniu.ie

Laois Connects

Ecotherapy Hedge School as part of Laois Connects –
Mental Health Week

05th to 11th of October 2015 – Ecotherapy Hedge School visiting the Abbeyleix Bog Project as part of Laois Connects – Mental Health Week

It is always a pleasure to be part of any community’s efforts to raise awareness about our mental health in society and I will be heading to the beautiful Abbeyleix Bog Project once again in October to lend a hand with the team in Abbeyleix as they make every effort to ensure that the people of Laois and surrounding counties are aware of the health benefits (both mental and physical) to be enjoyed by simply taking a mindful walk on the track through the peace and quiet of the bog.

Check out the walkinniu.ie website for more details closer to the date or send your name and email address to info@walkinniu.ie to ensure we let you know the times of the Walk Inniú events scheduled over Laois Connects – Mental Health Week.