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The 30 Walks Project is a streaming audio service you can access on your computer, tablet or phone’s web browser. It's free to hear the first few episodes and you can subscribe to access more.
With an overarching aim to help listeners reduce their emotional pain and increase their personal agency, each half-hour audio episode of 30 Walks is the start of a conversation the listener will continue with themselves, in the back of their minds, over the days and weeks following.
At a personal crossroads and exiled in Paris, writer, musician and broadcaster Richard Lewis discovers the zen of walking. In the process, he finds the gentle motion acts not only to improve mood, but even more excitingly, walking acts as a gateway to productive reverie, or unconscious cognition.OK, I'll listen
It’s a way to solve problems and generate big ideas. Over the course of thirty walks, Lewis tackles notions of self-care and psychological wellbeing in a series of reverie-like introspections that leave the listener feeling stronger and happier.
Why should I listen?
Part personal history, part self-improvement, part primer in philosophy, quantum physics and social psychology, it’s a thought-provoking and profoundly moving meditation on the human condition.
Meet the team
Who makes 30 Walks?
Richard is the bestselling author of three books, a writer of journalism, television scripts, a series for Channel Four Radio and numerous musical scores. Over a twenty-year career, he has had work published in most of the UK broadsheets and appeared on Radio Four's Loose Ends, Excess Baggage and others.
Outside of his creative work, Richard is a devoted father, a trainee in psychotherapeutic counselling and member of the National Counselling Society.
He erroneously believes leisure time means doing different work, but when not behind his computer he is generally to be found on his Vespa or collecting rocks on the beach.
Photo: Rosario Oddó
Oliver is a freelance writer, editor and producer of web and audio content.
With over fifteen years experience in journalism and commercial copywriting, Oliver has parlayed those skills into his production and strategy work for the 30 Walks Project, producing rich, nuanced and engaging audio products that connect with listeners on an emotional and an intellectual level.
In his free time, Oliver is undertaking training in contemporary person-centred psychotherapy, studying eastern philosophy and spiritual practice, riding any one of his five two-wheeled vehicles, and dreaming about his next adventure.
Photo: Simon Green
These coexist in 30 Walks with well-established ideas from Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Jaques Lacan and Axel Cleeremans on the unconscious mind; the work of Jaques Derrida on meaning, signs and symbols; the work of Carl Rogers on empathy as the centre point of person-centred healing. The mix is wrapped up in metaphors and stories of the author’s own invention, partially influenced by the work of psychologist Milton Erickson.
Skinner believed that all behaviour (including thoughts and feelings) was learned; therefore, unhelpful behaviours could be unlearned and substituted for more helpful behaviours. He also believed in setting goals and taking incremental steps to achieving them. Ellis believed that our thoughts controlled our feelings, so by actively changing our cognitive processes we can change our feelings. These two approaches form the basis of modern cognitive-behavioural therapy. The issue I have with these approaches is that, while they are proven to be effective in changing behaviour I don’t think they “heal”.
Skinner’s approach posits the client as Pavlovian subject while I find that Ellis’s assertion that the person being helped is irrational and must be argued with by the helper to return to rational thought, misses the fundamental point of what it means to be human and in distress. Arguing with a person about their reality is, in my view, highly invalidating. I believe that the trauma of psychological invalidation is at the root of much of our distress to begin with.
So here I turn to Rogers and Maslow and the Humanistic approaches to therapy. Skinner, Watson, Ellis et al have given us terrific tools. But Rogers reminds us that every subjective reality is valid and that no one heals without being listened to and wholly accepted.
Rather than give lectures on these subjects, two thirds of which will probably be forgotten, I attempt to teach the ideas via story and metaphor that fire the imagination and become inculcated via unconscious cognition. Here we are into the territory of those who wrote about the conscious and unconscious mind: Freud, Jung, Erickson and many others.
So we walk to relax body and mind and enter a more meditative state. On its own, a walking meditation is relaxing for the mind and body. Add to it a host of ideas that the walker will assimilate, play around with and apply to their own lives without having to give it too much thought and you have the concept of 30 Walks.
SGD. Macclesfield, UK
Woke up with anxiety, thought I was going back to panick attacks. But I've learnt. My 30 minute walk a day put me back the right way.
S.M. Oxford, UK.
I have been taking my time with the walks, allowing them to roll around my head for a while before moving on to the next, though I now have the habit of walking for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.
User. Coventry, UK.
You’ve utterly inspired me to dig deeper into
my own negative thought spirals.
Your manner is charming and easy and
I like the way you make us all feel comfortable
with experiences and situations from real life.