Couples therapy consultations with Steve Gunther - informed consent
Our commitment is to your personal growth and empowerment.
The base of our approach is Gestalt therapy. Amongst other things that means that our focus in on increasing your awareness, expanding your range of choices, and assisting you to become more fully who you are. We intend to do this in a way which respects both wisdom and your wiscom and experience. That means we include may include ourselves in the process, and expect that we will also learn and grow from the meeting. If something doesnt fit for you, we are open to hearing that.
What we don’t do is attempt to ‘fix’ you or your relationship, rely on giving advice or solutions, or support either of you to remain in a victim role. The work is collaborative and you will benefit to the degree you are an active participant.
We do not generally come in with an agenda or overly control the flow of the therapy. We are interested in what is important to you both individually and as a couple. We are interested in your experience in the present, your feelings, but do not want to open things up to a degree which you cannot integrate; we believe that going slowly is important.
In order to ascertain if this type of therapy and our style suits you, we generally suggest an initial commitment of 6 sessions after the first consultation. After that we can review how things are going. It is rare that a couple can address all their important issues in one session.
Generally weekly sessions are best, but frequency can be adjusted according to your availability and budget.
If you are away, it is possible to do a skype based session.
Couples need to be prepared for more than 'fixing up' the other person. There is an excellent preparation sheet which you can view here.
If you and your partner decide to have some individual sessions in parellel with the couples therapy, what you say in those individual sessions will be considered to be a part of the couples therapy, and can and probably will be discussed in our joint sessions. The principle we operate on is openess and authenticity.
You can terminate therapy at any time you so choose. We ask for a final session in which this is discussed, and closure is attended to. We consider it important that our working together is completed properly, rather than you simply stop coming.
Steve is trained in Gestalt therapy, is a member of EAGT (European Association of Gestalt Therapy) and accredited as a Career Counsellor with the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA), hHs highest academic qualification is a Masters in Mental Health.
Sutara is also trained in Gestalt therapy, including working with children. She is a member of the International Play Therapy Association, and CAPA (Counselling and Psychotherapy Association). Her highest qualification is a Masters in Gestalt Therapy.
We are committed to the professional code of ethics of the associations we belong to. The EAGT code of ethics can be looked up online at:
We hold myself accountable to these codes, and if we unwittingly contravene them in some way that you are aware of, please tell us.
USA disclaimer and clarification
We are a registered psychotherapists, but this does not extend to practice in the USA. When we are in the US, and/or practicing with clients in the US, we do not use the terms 'therapy', 'psychotherapy', or 'counselling' to describe our work or claim that as what we offer, as these words are reserved for those who are licensed in such terms. In this jurasdisction, we describe our work as 'Life coaching', 'Gestalt consultatations' and 'Authentic facilitation'.
We write notes as we go. These notes not evaluative, just descriptive. All records are confidential with the provisos below, and it is always open for clients to view their own file.
We are committed both personally and professionally to confidentiality:we respect your right to privacy. This is balanced by the rights of others and society in general. There are limits to confidentiality and certain situations where information must be disclosed by law. This includes:
- If abuse or neglect of children or elders is suspected or present
- If you are in real danger of significantly harming yourself, other people or property.
- If we are ordered to do so by the courts or by legal requirements
- If you are participating in therapy due to a court order
- Clients under 18 cannot be assured of unconditional confidentiality from their parents
These situations are extremely rare, and breaking confidentiality will only occur after due consultation with senior colleagues and after informing you. In very exceptional cases it may not be possible to inform the client. These limits to confidentiality are based on the principle of doing the least harm.
We are in supervision, so your case may be discussed with a supervising professional. This person is also limited by professional confidentiality.
If you are doing couples therapy with us, it is on the basis that information shared will not provided by us in any legal dispute.
Couples sessions require 1.5 hours. We count this as a full 90 minutes.
The therapy contract involves an exchange. You pay us in money, we provide you with our time, and contribute our expertise and best efforts within that time frame.
Together, we work on the issue.
There are other forms of contact that may occur in between sesions. This may for example include text or email.
We do not use texting as a medium of therapeutic exchange.
Phone contact, other than making arrangements, we consider as professional time. If there is an emergency or a very important situation we are fine for you to call, and as soon as I am available, we will call you back. This may not be immediately if we are in transit or booked with clients.
In pressing circumstances, we are willing to talk with you on the phone to see what it is that you need, and if necessary, we may be able to arrange a session at short notice.
Fees and Payment
We do not extend credit. Sessions must be paid for on completion. Cash, cheque, credit card, direct debit or paypal is accepted (please note for paypal, you must elect to pay the paypal transfer charge).
Fees are applicable on a sliding scale, and are self assessed. Please view the payment options and scale here for Australia, and here for clients outside Australia.
Attendance and cancellation
24 hours notice for cancellation is required or the session must be paid for in full, excepting in cases of emergency. If your sessions are being covered by a third party, this payment will have to be paid by you.
Cancellation must be by either email or phone.
If you are late for a session, we will still end at the arranged time.
If we are late for a session, we will extend your session by that much time. If this is problematic for you, then we will owe you that portion of time.
If we miss a session, or have to cancel it with less than 24 hours notice to you, then we will owe you a session - at no charge to you.
In the event of an emergency for which you feel immediate attention is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to make ourselves available. If we are not immediately available, please leave a message indicating the matter is urgent. If you need assistance before we can get in contact with you, please contact emergency services or your family doctor.
You can reach us in the following ways
Phone in Australia: 02 8064 7431.
Phone in the USA: +1 323 381 9810
Please fill in the intake form here to register as a client.