Steve Vinay Gunther & Sutara Ling
I am by nature an optimist and a risk taker. I like to believe things will go well, and that people are basically well intentioned.
Sometimes this is true, and sometimes I competely miss the underbelly, whether of myself or other people.
I have discovered the value of examining my own Unvirtues, though it sometimes takes me a little time. Sutara is much faster on the draw in this respect.
My interest and study of psychotherapy spans 40 years. I have been in private practice for 26 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.
Lifeworks International Program
I regularly teach in the US, Mexico, 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 the author of a book for men called Understanding 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 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.
I tend towards internal reflection, and my preference is always to dig beneath the surface. I have come to deeply identify with the value of authenticity, and its accompanying twin, responsibility, because I find both so empowering.
My own childhood contained many shadows, and one of the benefits as an adult is that I have a familiarity with the darker side of people's nature. I am able to see both kindness and good intentions, as well as the tendency towards self interest that is so much a part of our human tendencies.
I first gained an understanding of the value of owning this side through my studies with Dr Chris Campbell, who was able to recognise with compassion and humour the less visible aspects of self. HIs capacity to do so in a way which was relational created a non-shaming space where it became more possible to acknowledge parts of personality and behaviour that were in the shadows.
I have since come to recognise how valuable this is in relationship - both in my personal life, as well as my work as a therapist. And of course, what is of greatest value is being able to start with myself - to see my own Unvirtues, to embrace them, and see clearly how they operate in relationship to others.
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 Play Therapy.
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 an interest and am experienced in working with clients with DID related issues.
I particularly enjoy working with children and adolescents, finding ways to support them in their growth and development.
Why we do it
We created the Unvirtues project out of our mutal interest, both personal and professional.
We found that by acknowledging and owning our Unvirtues, a great deal of the defensiveness went out of our relationship. We could even sometimes laugh at our own foibles.
We found that focusing on good intentions is not enough. Being willing to recognise our own self interest meant that the other person felt more able to forgive.
So paradoxically, the more we own our unloving side, the more it becomes possible for love to flourish.
We found too much focus on the Unvirtues can be depressing. So we don't advocate it all the time.
We also found its important that when we listen to the other persons self revelation that we be respectful, and not act critically.
The result is a certain type of lightness, at the same time as bringing more depth to the relationship.
We encourage you to try it for yourself! All the better if you can get your partner interested. It seems that when you stop resisting your shadow in relationship, the shame that you may fear actually recedes.
We found that acknowledging our Unvirtues creates more space for the kind of virtues we do want to cultivate. We are more able to achive the best in us, by recognising the worst in us.