Rock climbing is a powerful non-traditional therapeutic tool. With no skill necessary, climbing can be used as a kinesthetic metaphor to work through concerns about confidence, physical performance or appearance, interpersonal issues or simply the way you relate to yourself.

We provide two ways to engage in therapeutic rock climbing with David Walden. One is a Physical Education course called “Therapy on the Rocks”, offered each fall by David. Students can register for that course through the normal registration process. The other is through individual sessions, which can be scheduled through the Counseling Center. General information for both is offered below.

Who can participate?

Anyone. Seriously! No skill is needed, and in fact not initially feeling comfortable with climbing has been a common experience for people who have enjoyed Therapy on the Rocks. Instruction is provided and you will be completely safe throughout the experience. Therapy on the Rocks is NOT about making it to the top; it’s about improving how you live your life.

Where do you do it?

We are so lucky to have a world-class rock wall right here on campus. Mostly, sessions take place at the wall. On rare occasions, we may be able to schedule individual or group sessions at an outdoor site.

What’s a typical session “look like”?

Our first meeting will be at the counseling center, where we will discuss your goals and how we can use climbing to benefit you. Subsequent sessions will be spent climbing. We’ll start with talking about your goals for the session, climb and then process a bit more after. Sessions may involve climbing, working on specific techniques, or safely practicing falling.

How can I schedule a session?

Just call the counseling center at 315-859-4340, and let our office manager know you’re interest in Therapy on the Rocks.

Therapy on the Rocks is offered by David Walden, licensed psychologist and mildly obsessed rock climber. David began offering therapeutic climbing and outdoor experiences to combine his personal and professional interests, and is committed to providing a helpful and safe climbing experience. David is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

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In Crisis?

Call 315-859-4340 and press option 2 to speak with a counselor 24/7/365.

If you want off-campus help, call 1-800-273-TALK or text “START” to 741-741.


Contact Name

Counseling Center

Office Location
Johnson Center for Health and Wellness

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