Two Birds, One Stone: We Went Jogging with Our Therapist
I feel like stress is a given in my life, which is why my weekly therapy appointments and workouts are high priorities. When I was referred to a Beverly Hills and Redondo Beach-based therapist who combines the two for supposedly breakthrough progress, I was curious and a little bit oh-how-cliché-Californian skeptical.
But I decided to give it a try. I met Sepideh Saremi, who’s a licensed psychotherapist and certified running coach, at her Run Walk Talk office a couple blocks from Hermosa Beach. We had a quick chat in which we discussed my therapy goals (basically, worrying less and being more patient with my family) before we tied on our running shoes and walked to a two-mile-long boardwalk. We began briskly walking side by side for me to give Saremi a bit of background (and, of course, to warm up our muscles). After a few moments, she suggested we slowly jog for a bit. The effort took my mind off of being self-consciousness about spilling my guts to someone I’d just met but didn’t leave me so winded that I couldn’t still talk.
For the next 45 minutes, we alternated jogging and walking, and I found myself getting super-candid without feeling the anxiety I’d experienced in basically a whole lifetime of therapy…on a couch. The ion-rich salt air, the warm sun on my face, the waving palms in the distance…all of it worked in concert to make a potentially fraught emotional exercise more intense, but also less scary. Saremi’s thoughtful comments—including encouragements to tolerate the discomfort of prickly feelings—helped me feel positive about my life overall.
Saremi developed her hybrid practice after working with PTSD-afflicted refugees who didn’t respond well to static, face-to-face, in-office talking therapy. Now she’s finding it gets great results with high-achieving professionals, too, who blanch at traditionally passive therapy chat. Currently, there are a few dozen therapists worldwide doing this kind of work, including one in Hermosa Beach. While these beach towns are a bit of a drive, I’m seriously considering visiting Saremi’s Beverly Hills practice because, well, 90210 is a great place to move forward in the world, too.