Psychology
10:24 am
Thu May 2, 2013

Therapists, Patients Find Stress Relief On Skateboards

Robert Aguilar and Isaac Farin rest after an afternoon of therapy on wheels.
Robert Aguilar and Isaac Farin rest after an afternoon of therapy on wheels.
Credit Patricia Sagastume

Move over, Freud. Your couch is being replaced by a piece of wood on wheels.

On the shady slopes of pavement in Greynolds Park in North Miami Beach, a therapy counseling session is in progress.

Once a week, amid the sprawling canopies of hardwood hammocks and mangrove forests, patients sort through emotions — while pushing on a longboard skateboard.

Donning kneepads and helmet gear, Alex Batista, 47, smiles as he rides silently alongside his therapist.

“Longboarding forced me to focus on what I was doing and not what I was going through — the suffering and everything else,” said Batista.

High fives for Robert Aguilar and his therapist Isaac Farin after a longboard flow session.
High fives for Robert Aguilar and his therapist Isaac Farin after a longboard flow session.
Credit Patricia Sagastume

Last October, Batista’s wife Claudia, 48, died after undergoing a year of intensive chemotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer. They were married 12 years.

“I was in this black hole. There were a lot of emotions going on. So I thought, ‘What do I do?’ ’’ Batista said.

What he did was ask his wife’s therapist for help. Her counseling sessions had helped her before she died. At first, he had regular talk sessions with Isaac Farin, a marriage and family therapist in North Miami. But Farin, an avid longboard skater, was developing a new treatment using the sport.

“I use longboarding as exercise, but I started to feel different. My stress was being reduced and I liked how I was feeling. It was a different sense of joy,” said Farin.

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