Therapy is great, but homework isn’t. 

At the end of my last therapy session, my therapist asked “So have you made any more headway in that workbook I recommended?” The smile on my face fell slightly. ‘Shit.’ I, in fact, had not opened that work book in over a month. I managed to save face and talk about the bit of the book that I had worked on. She encouraged me to do a bit more and that we should discuss it at the next session. I agreed, said goodbye, hung up the phone (thank God for the miracle of tele-therapy!), and then sighed and rolled my eyes. 

Picture of Chapin Parkway that says "5 Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session"

I absolutely love therapy and I am grateful to have a brilliant therapist, but homework is just not my jam. Either way, I resolved to make good on my promise to try. Normally, I would set aside time to head to a cute cafe with my workbook and journal, but alas COVID is a fickle mistress. So I was resigned to find a cozy outdoor spot near me to work. 

Luckily, Buffalo is full of great outdoor areas, recreational and otherwise. If you are headed to Explore What’s Next to see one of our associates, or if one of them have given you homework, here are some spots that would be great for journaling and/or reflecting. 

1. Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session: Chapin Parkway

Picture of Chapin Parkway that says "5 Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session"

Just a quick two minute drive or a ten minute walk from the Delaware Avenue office, Chapin Parkway is a quiet tree-lined street. Stretching from Gates Circle to Soliders Circle, Chapin Parkway lines three blocks of greenery. One of three parkways that connects to Soliders Circle in downtown Buffalo, Chapin is perhaps the quietest of the three. 

If you are looking for an outdoor space in which to lay down a blanket, meditate, or journal for hours without being distrubed, Chapin is a perfect spot for you. I, myself, have gone there to work on the homework that my therapist has given me post-session. I laid down my blanket and dreaded starting the hard work, and ended up leaving feeling lighter and more relaxed. It is of note, during this time of COVID, that Chapin provides plentiful space to enjoy the outdoors while also safely maintaining social distancing protocol. 

2. Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session: The Delaware Park Rose Garden 

Photo of Deleware Park Rose Garden

Just a quick three minute drive, or a twenty minute walk, from the Delaware Avenue office, the Delaware Park Rose Garden sits along the Lincoln Parkway next to The Terrace, a 17th century boat house turned into a modern restaurant. Conceived in 1917, the rose garden was designed in the French style, and was installed following Frederick Law Olmsted’s designs for the park system of Buffalo. 

During the summer and early fall months, visitors can walk along the maze of roses and floral blooms. Along the pathways, benches are sporadically located, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. You may also bring your own chair or just sit on the edge of the pergola on the garden’s eastern edge.

3. Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session: Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park 

Photo of Hoyt Lake at Delwaware Park for the article "5 Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session"

Designed in 1868 by Olmstead and Vauz, Delaware park is a 350 acre “country park”. At the edge of the park, across from the Albright Knox Art Gallery sits Hoyt Lake. The lake is lined by a pathway, the loop completing at 1.1 mile. The area around Hoyt Lake is often busy during the summer months, filled with runners, bikers, picnicers, and the local volleyball league. 

Hoyt Lake offers areas of activity as well as pockets of quiet and solitude. If you are seeking a quiet area to just unwind, the north east edge is preferable and has less traffic. If you are seeking a bit more activity, find a spot over on the eastern edge. At the entrance to the park on Lincoln Parkway, you can rent a rowboat or a paddle boat from early summer to late fall. 
Recently, Univera Healthcare has announced the second annual Tree-ventrue at Hoyt Lake! If you want to challenge yourself and see how well you know your Olmstead trees, check out how you can participate in the tree scavenger hunt!

4. Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session: Rumsey Woods at Delaware Park

Fredrick Law Olmstead had a gift at recognizing “the genius of a place”. Another portion of Delaware Park, Rumsey Woods does just that by preserving the feel of a wide-spanning forest while being nestled in a bustling city. The woods are positioned on the southern edge of Hoyt Lake and stretch further into the park. 

Several running and biking trails weave their way through the woods. With over ten acres of forest, there are plenty of places to lay down a blanket, or hitch a hammock between the trees. You could get lost in there for hours.

5. Parks to Visit After a Therapy Session: Forest Lawn Cemetery 

Now, hear me out. I know that a cemetery may not seem like the most relaxing place. More often than not, people get anxiety thinking of cemeteries, but there is no place quite like Forest Lawn cemetery. Spanning 269 acres, this not-for-profit cemetery possesses various hills, valleys, two lakes, and a reconstructed wetland. 

There are plenty of quiet spaces in which to sit and reflect. I would recommend the small pond by the Frank Lloyd Wright memorial. Lined by trees and nestled beside one of the trails, it is a perfect place to journal or have a picnic. 

The Power of Mirror Lake

Another must-see location in the cemetery is Mirror Lake. Surrounded by one of the main trails, Mirror Lake serves dual-purposes, as a beautiful body of water and as a sculpture gallery. At the center of the lake sits the Three Graces bronze fountain, designed in 1909. A second sculpture stands on a small island in the lake as well, known as “The Little Girl”, it was designed in 1914. Mirror Lake is positioned in a valley, allowing for tremendous views of the tombstones that line the hillsides. 

The Meadows Is Perfect for Quiet Time

A third notable feature is The Meadows. The Meadows is a six and a half acre area within the cemetery of complete open space. There are no burials or tombstones in this area, allowing for people to just wander, sit, and reflect. Within The Meadows stands a Victorian gazebo, erected to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the cemetery. 

When I went to the cemetery to take photographs, I accidentally got lost for an hour. Imagine how you can retreat from the world within Forest Lawn if you go with a purpose.

The Importance of Hard Work 

Like I said, therapy is great but sometimes it can be a bit intense and a little hard. The staff at Explore What’s Next will do everything they can to help make you feel comfortable, supported, and most importantly heard. If you aren’t given post-session work, it can help to take a moment to sit in a quiet space and just reflect on the session. It’s important to think about how you feel, and the space that you are in. 

It is also enough to even just take a moment and acknowledge that you are taking a big step to even just try therapy. You are making moves to better yourself and enrich your life. That can be a big thing to take in and consider. 

One of the newest associates at Explore What’s Next, Dr. Michelle Woogen is a big supporter of taking a moment before or after therapy:

“I really support the idea of clients spending some uninterrupted, downtime prior to a session, following a session, or both.

Doing so is very much a mindfulness approach, which allows for the individual to be introspective and to become better in-tune with their own personal experiences – which is often times the goal of therapy!

It is so easy for all of us to go mindlessly from one thing to another in our busy lives, and by doing so, we can become oblivious to how we are feeling and coping.

Mindlessness all makes it difficult for us to allow our therapy sessions to really sink in and make an impact. Therefore, providing ourselves some time and space to sit and reflect – even for just 5 minutes – can provide a wonderful opportunity for us to gain some valuable insight and to soak up everything that has been discussed thus far in therapy.”

Dr. Michelle Woogen

I hope that these spots will help to bring you solace in a moment when you may need it. And if you’d prefer another spot, be sure to ask your therapist for any suggestions! Dr Woogen suggests Bidwell Avenue! 

If you are a patient at the EWN office on Sweet Home, don’t fret! We will be composing another Near Me featuring good locations to visit after therapy near the Amherst office!

Sofia Aletta is a Master of Anthropology, living the dream in Buffalo, NY. Outside of researching mortuary practices, human skeletal biology, and criminal justice procedures, she enjoys learning about all aspects of life. When she isn’t in the lab or the library, she can be found listening to true crime podcasts, taking photographs, and painting postcards for her family and friends. If you can’t find her, she is probably camping and will get back to your last email as soon as she gets back!