Bringing out your child’s spark
My first career was as an early childhood educator. I worked for community preschools, and then long day care centres. I enjoyed the interaction with the children, and the focus of considering and responding to their developmental needs.
I then went on to study somatic and relational therapy with Dr Chris Campbell. During this time I became interested in the somatic approach of Stanely Keleman, and also learned under Dr Julie Henderson.
I went on to further my psychotherapy knowledge and skills by completing a Graduate Diploma of Gestalt therapy. I then studied in the USA with Dr Violet Oaklander who has been at the forefront of child-centred psychotherapy for over 40 years. Currently, I am enrolled in a Masters of Family Studies.
In my work with adults, my interests are in the application of existential ideas, especially those around authenticity, and responsibility. I see that most problems arise as a result of a lack of self knowledge.
I am oriented towards resilience, and see that the ownership of judgement can have a useful place in relationship and psychotherapy.
My focus is on the empowerment that can come from allowing vulnerability, at the same time as holding clear boundaries. The experiences of hurt and pain tend to be restrictive and limiting. I am interested in finding the mobility that can come out of difficult life experiences.
I have enjoyed working with children and adolescents in therapy, finding ways to support them in their growth and development.
My focus now is more educational than therapeutic. I want to empower families, parents, to be able to be their best, and raise empowered and responsible children. I am oriented towards attachment parenting, and I also know the importance of balance in all areas of life, including parenting approaches.
My own experience as a parent is an important foundation for my teaching work. My own parents were quite lost, and had few skills. So having my two girls opened my eyes to a new world, and I embraced parenting with all my heart. I was determined to do things differently, and so I read everything I could on child development. I was a sole parent for 10 years, before meeting my husband, Vinay.
Together we raised a step family consisting of his three children and my two. It was an adventure, trying at times, rewarding at other times.
We starting teaching Gestalt therapy together in Korea, and more recently are co-teaching the Relational Parenting model which we developed together. Our experience as grandparents now adds depth to our understanding of what works and what doesn't. Its also very fun!
Steve Vinay Gunther
I am by nature an optimist and an adventurer. I like to believe things will go well, and that peo
ple are basically well intentioned.
As I have learned more about myself, this stance has been tempered with an appreciation of what my wife and I call The Unvirtues. This refers to our underbelly, the shadow, the disowned parts of self that can undermine the best of intentions. I am interested in this therapeutically, as it brings a more holistic approach to relationship, and I am intersted in it personally, as it bring me more depth.
My interest and study of psychotherapy spans 40 years. I have been in private practice for 30 years, working with individuals, couples and families. My training includes the following:
I have also trained in NLP, somatic psychotherapy and relational therapy.
My background also includes theatre and clowning, street theatre, community activism, meditation philosophy and practice. I have run several businesses, including a vegetarian cafe, a sign writing business, and a food coop.
I founded the Northern Rivers Gestalt Institute – a four year post graduate program that achieved registration with the education department. I was director of the program for 17 years, and responsible for all aspects of school including curriculum development, supervision, training and assessment.
I have developed a unique process called Career Decision Coaching™, which integrates a number of approaches in one focused session, and helps people find their ideal career path.
Gestalt Therapy International Program
I regularly teach in the US, Mexico, Colombia, China and Japan. One of my specialisations is in the area of psychotherapy and spirituality. I am director of Spiritual Psychology at Ryokan College. I am currently the director of a 4 year professional Gestalt training program in Shanghai.
I am the author of a bestsellking book for men called The Woman In Your Life – A Man's Guide to a Happy Relationship.
I enjoy my work, and find a great deal of satisfaction from helping people move through their challenges, towards self discovery and empowerment. I find teaching and training particularly rewarding, and I integrate theory and experiential approaches in my educational approach.
I have 5 grown children (including 2 step children) and 4 grandchildren. I am fascinated by systems theory and cybernetics, and am currently a doctoral student, working on a thesis about the interpersonal dimensions of power.