Consultations with Sutara Ling - informed consent
My commitment is to your personal growth and empowerment.
The base of my approach is Gestalt therapy. Amongst other things that means that my focus in on increasing your awareness, expanding your range of choices, and assisting you to become more fully who you are. I intend to do this in a way which respects both of our wisdom and experience. That means I include myself in the process, and expect that I will also be challenged and grow from our meeting. I am open to being challenged by you if you think something doesn't fit.
What I don’t do is attempt to ‘fix’ you, rely on giving advice or solutions, or support you to remain in a victim role. The work is collaborative and you will benefit to the degree you are an active participant.
I do not generally come in with an agenda or overly control the flow of the therapy. I am interested in what is important to you. I am interested in your experience in the present. I am interested in your feelings, but do not want to open things up to a degree which you cannot integrate; I believe that going slowly is important.
Although the sessions may be very emotionally and psychologically intimate it is important for you to realise that the counselling relationship is strictly professional in nature.
In order to ascertain if this type of therapy and my own style suits you, I ask for an initial commitment of 5 sessions after the first consultation. After that we can review how things are going.
Generally weekly sessions are best, but frequency can be adjusted according to your availability and budget. Some people like a more intense rhythm of twice weekly therapy, and there are also options such as intensives of daily therapy for a week.
During times I am teaching in other countries, my availability is limited to sessions via Skype, facetime, or telephone. I am also available via Google Hangouts and Facebook video.
If the connection quality is poor, I find that some mediums are better than others. Facetime is good quality, but with a poor connection, Skype works better.
If the connection is poor, then a phone call may also be an option. This is at my expense.
If after attempting through a few of the above means, if none of these mediums is working at a sufficient level of quality, then we can agree to reschedule the session.
Gestalt therapy does not work in a pre programmed way. The subject of the session may arise out of a topic you bring, or something that I suggest. It may also be something that arises in the course of the process. If there is something very specific that is important for you to be addressed in the session, please make this eplicit.
As with individual therapy, it is rare for one session to be sufficient. Couples need to be prepared for more than 'fixing up' the other person. There is an excellent preparation sheet which you can view here here.
If you and your partner decide to have some individual sessions as part of 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. Do not tell me anything you wish kept secret from your partner.
I do not use diagnosis in my therapy. If a third party such as an insurance company is paying for part of your bill, I may be required to give a diagnosis to that third party in order to be paid. Diagnoses are technical processes that describe the nature of your problems in reference to a set of created categories called DSMV5, and there is generally a requirement to identify whether the issues are short-term or long-term. If I do h to use a diagnosis, I will discuss it with you.
You can terminate therapy at any time you so choose. I require that we have a final session in which this is discussed, and closure is attended to. I consider it important for both of us that our working together is completed properly, rather than you simply stop coming.
I may propose termination if I think that I cannot help you further. I will always discuss this with you.
I am trained in Gestalt therapy and hold a Gradue Diploma of Gestalt Therapy. I am an accredited Early Childhood Educator (Diploma of Childrens Services CBC). I also hold a Diploma of Interactive Psychotherapy, Certificate of Child Psychotherapy, and am a membership of CAPA (Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW) .
A joint venture
If for some reason you are not getting what you want in the therapeutic process please let me know so I can address your concerns. Therapy does not deliver guaranteed outcomes. The result arises out of the relationship itself, and involves the joint efforts of therapist and client. There are times when familiar experiences of being stuck can arise in the therapeutic relationship. There is always an opportunity to work this through, providing a different experience in the end. However, this requires a commitment to the process of naming and addressing such stuck points. This can then be of value in other relationships. I outline these matters as it is important to understand some of the work involved with engagement in therapy, and the fact that you are not paying for specified outcomes being delivered to you, but for my time and dedication to an evolving process of learning.
Working with children
If I work with your child, it is they who are the client, not you or the other parent. So my primary responsiblity is to their best interests as I understand them.
I consider it often important and at times essential to involve you, but doing so will be at my discretion. I may at times ask you to participate in sessions.
I will not be a witness or testify in court on behalf of anyone other that your child.
Parents, regardless of custody, have a legal right to access their child's records. I ask you to respect your child's confidentiality and not exercise this right.
Generally the information that children or adolescents share with me I will keep confidential. If however I consider that there are issues seriously related to their safety I would share this information with their parents. I will not share any information about your child with a school unless I have permission from both the child and parents.
I am committed to the professional code of ethics of the associations I belong to. The CAPA code of ethics can be looked up online at:
I hold myself accountable to this code, and if I unwittingly contravene it in some way that you are aware of, please tell me.
I write notes as I go. These notes not evaluative, just descriptive. All records are confidential with the provisos below, and are always open for clients to view their own file.
I am committed both personally and professionally to confidentiality: I 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 I am ordered to do so by the courts or by legal requirements
- If you are seeking reimbursement from an insurance company, they may require reports
- 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.
I am 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 me, it is on the basis that information shared will not provided by me in any legal dispute.
A therapeutic hour is counted as 60 minutes, so you get the full amount of time.
The first session goes for 1.5 hours.
Subsequently, the average length of a session is one hour.
Longer sessions can be arranged; these are charged at the hourly rate. Some people prefer 1.5 or 2 hour sessions.
Couples sessions require 1.5 hours.
Fees and Payment
I 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.
If my professional time is required for other services that you request such as report writing, telephone conversations that last more than 15 minutes, or attendance at meetings, I charge my time on a prorated basis.
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.
If you are late for a session, we will still end at the arranged time.
If I am late for a session, I will extend your session by that much time. If this is problematic for you, then I will owe you that portion of time.
If I miss a session, or have to cancel it with less than 24 hours notice to you, then I will owe you a session - at no charge to you.
In the event of an emergency for which you feel immediate attention is necessary, I will make reasonable efforts to make myself available. If I am not immediately available, please leave a message indicating the matter is urgent. If you need assistance before I can get in contact with you, please contact emergency services e.g. in Australia Lifeline (13 11 14), or your family doctor.
You can reach me in the following ways
Phone in Australia: 02 8064 7431.
Phone in the USA: 914 236-6959
Please fill in the intake form here to register as a client.