Did you know that every session with me helps support Surf Aid? Learn More Are you studying Gestalt Psychotherapy? Find out more about how I can support your training Find Out More We can all use help in our parenting from time to time. My Parent Mentoring services empower parents to raise healthy children, building stronger, connected families. Check It Out Thrive Clinic My practice is located in the Thrive Clinic, Mullumbimby. Thrive specialises in relationship support Find Out More Are you in a healthy relationship and wanting to keep it that way? My Couples Coaching service will build on your existing relationship resources and take you from happy to thriving! Find Out More Looking for professional training or supervision to support your teams? Contact me now to discuss quality, tailored options for your organisation.
  • Relationships

    Relationship therapy and coaching for individuals, couples and parents
  • Supervision

    Individual and group clinical supervision for therapists, organisations and students
  • Training

    Endorsed and reputable workshops for professionals, organisations and community

Welcome. I’m glad your here…

My life has been full of experiences compelling me to see that at the heart of healthy relationships is collaboration and co-creation.

Relationships are fundamental to our survival, growth, and wellness. They are a facet of everything we do. A myriad of manifestations permeating our families, work and friendships. Relationships are beautiful, complex, restorative and sometimes destructive… Essentially, from birth to death we are connected, and indeed, dependant, on others.

Professional, Reliable, Established…

My work as a relationship therapist, supervisor and trainer elicits transformation, expansion, and movement through evidence based therapy practices. I’m entirely committed to ensuring a safe environment that is caring and reparative.

Supporting your relationships requires a specialised skill set and some unique knowledge.

What I bring to your therapy session includes:

  • 16 years and 10,000+ case hours of relationship therapy
  • Masters of Gestalt Psychotherapy and other specialised training
  • Clinical Member & Supervisor with PACFA, GANZ and ACRC
  • Highly reputed, recognised and respected services across Australia.

My hope is to support you to build healthier, authentic, co-designed relationships, that simultaneously promote personal awareness.

Creating stronger relationships within ourselves, between each other and across life spans…Let’s journey together.

Events & Workshops

There are no upcoming events.

What clients say

M.P testimonial

“Sean displayed Incredible empathy and availability to what/whoever was offered. during his training,  Very articulate and able to pass on knowledge in an easy to understand and digestible manner. Outstanding!” M.P

J.W testimonial

“The theoretical framework and therapy map, integrated with the live learning demo’s made the synthesis of Gestalt therapy, EFT and neurobiology wonderfully simple to assimilate and use.  Amazing weekend!” J.W

S.R. Testimonial

“Sean, I really can’t thank you enough for the space you hold for me. I feel safe, I feel vulnerable, I feel challenged, I feel hopeful and most of all, I feel ready. You are a very special human being and I’m grateful for being guided towards you”. S.R

M.S. Testimonial

“I can highly recommend Sean, from my very first session I have felt met, held and supported. Every step of the way Sean has been with me with his kind presence and warm contact. He has challenged me at the right times and his compassionate curiosity have guided me deeper into a profound understanding of myself. I’m always amazed at his ability to work at my pace and where I’m at and I always walk out of my sessions feeling empowered, with a greater sense of capacity to operate in the world. Many thanks Sean” M.S.

B.K. Testimonial

“Working with Sean has changed my life & my relationship. Sean is a highly skilled & intuitive therapist. His sensitivity creates a safe space, offering the opportunity for deep healing & transformation” B.K.

T.D. Testimonial

“I can’t recommend Sean enough, he’s compassionate & patient. If you’re committed to turning up & doing the work, then Sean’s your man” T.D.

KLD. Testimonial

“My sessions with Sean have offered me a sense of being deeply met in a safe environment. My capacity to experiment with new behaviours and choices has broadened, as has my ability to discover and action tools of support unique to me and my needs” KLD.

S.M 2 testimonial

“Sean is an exceptional supervisor and his generosity, experience and experiential approach has supported me greatly to complete my counselling training and step into becoming a beginner therapist. Feels like a couldn’t have done it without you – so grateful.” S.M

G.H Testimonial

“Outstanding. Sean’s training included excellent info and management of delivery.  The live demonstrations were a generous way of teaching and exemplifying skills and application of theory” G.H

J.K testimonial

“Sean has shared so much wisdom, respect and kindness as my Supervisor.  Words cant express my gratitude for what he has brought to my practice and development as a therapist.” J.K

T.W. Testimonial

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sean Tonnet for the wonderful counselling he has given me over the past 2 years. I initially came to see Sean with my partner for couples counselling, then I returned to him when I was single for general life counselling, then I returned to him again when my mother passed away for grief counselling. In all these different contexts, Sean provided me with the most incredible support. His gentle presence, deep care, powerful empathy, grounded wisdom and practical strategies have helped me over and over again. I can’t recommend him highly enough as a counsellor! I feel lIke I could turn to him in any situation and I would get the exact support I need.”  T.W.

A Relational Journey

I understand that it can be really hard to know if you are choosing the right therapist for your needs.

That’s why building some knowledge about a therapeutic process can be really important.  As a starting place, I have included some information that I hope support our work together.   Please feel free to reach out and get in contact if you need any more information.

  • How does therapy work?

    There is significant evidence and research that Psychotherapy is effective in supporting people in their relationships and personal lives.  Psychotherapy works to understand conscious aspects of your present lived experience as well as bringing the unconscious aspects into consciousness. A key element of the practice of most contemporary psychotherapy’s is the interpersonal relationship between the therapist and the client. The therapist/client interaction provides the relational encounter through which the client becomes aware of their repeated patterns and ways of relating and develops the ability to identify their needs and mobilise to meet those needs in contemporary life.  Together, therapist and client may refer to personal story, experiences in family of origin, relationship history, imagination, illness as well as sexuality, spirituality, ethnicity and culture.

  • Picking the Right Therapist

    Trust is a critical element in any decision making and for this reason, it can be a tricky area picking a therapist. Let’s face it, it’s not cheap and there are a lot of us out there and many different approaches: Psychology, psychotherapy, counselling. For these reasons, most people rely on word of mouth and begin therapy with me because they have heard of my practice through family, friends or another health practitioner. Sometimes though, people are looking around or want to know more about me before making contact. Here are some questions I encourage people to ask:

    Q.How much of therapy have you had (or are you getting)?
    A. Continuously. I think it’s critical to know that your therapist has worked through or continuing to work through some of their own issues. Many therapist’s don’t.
    Q.Am I a member of a peak body like PACFA?
    A. Yes, I am. This helps orientate my therapy around qualifications, a code of conduct and practice guidelines
    Q. Are you experienced or specialising in the area I hope to get support?
    A. Yes. As you will see navigating around this website I have specialised my therapy practice around working with people in their significant life relationships.
    Q. How will I really know if you’re the right therapist?
    A. This is difficult. Sometimes people feel an intuitive connection or get a sense of me and my style when we get to talk and meet. Regardless, I encourage lots of opportunity from the first session to reflect on whether we are a good fit or not and to do something about it.

  • The Way I Work

    My core training is in Gestalt psychotherapy, so primarily I rely on this modality to influence the direction of my therapy practice. Fundamentally, that means that my work is about personal and relationship growth through awareness, where the quality of our therapeutic relationship is essential in facilitating change. It’s from the safety of our connection that you can build more understanding of how you are in your significant relationships and the world generally.  Recognising, refining and practicing opportunities for you to think, feel or act in a new, positive way.

    Intrinsically we are all striving towards balance and personal growth and facilitating this within my practice includes utilising a blend of traditional psychotherapy and creative experiential approaches working with art, somatic, sand tray therapy and more.  I overlay this methodology with specialised training in mindfulness, Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, Art of Relationship Training, Trauma-informed practices, Group Leadership and working with children/adolescents.

    An important aspect of the way I work is that I see the therapy process as a verb. It’s not a space for ‘dump and run’, but rather an action where both the therapist and the client co-design the healing relationship. Although my therapy practice holds at its core a gentle, protective and empathic approach, it will also be, at times, a collaboration that is arousing and challenging.

  • What Happens in the First Session?

    Many people wonder what happens in the first session of therapy. Especially if they are coming to therapy for the first time. In essence, the first session is all about getting to know each other and laying the ground for any ongoing sessions. I encourage people to ‘check me out’ and make sure that they let me know if they are feeling I’m not a good fit.  I will either adjust my style or refer them to another therapist whom I know may be more suited.

    The first session often includes me:

    • starting to understand the core issues for you attending therapy
    • building a safe container and trust for us to work
    • gathering information around your relationship history or other relevant
    • personal information
    • Setting goals and contracts for our work together

    Additionally, and depending on why you have come to me, the first session can include some education and training around aspects of your relationships or parenting that can help scaffold the work that we will do, the language we may use and provide an overall map for our session together.  In couples therapy, this can often be a big out breath as couples start to see something different other than blame, contempt and defensiveness.

    Finally, the first session sets us up for subsequent sessions. It’s often a place where you will find the confidence to work with me, gaining a sense of my style and a beginning place in trusting my process. Of course, it’s a space where we will also contract around the cost and rhythm of subsequent sessions.

  • When is it Best to Seek Therapy?

    For most people therapy can be important and helpful at some point in their lives. Often the signs or feelings are obvious and you will be confident in making a decision to get support. Although sometimes it can be a little harder to know and we could only become aware we aren’t our usual selves when our life is falling apart. For me, good indicators that I may need to get therapy is when I start to realise that there is a particular behaviour or thinking pattern that I am repeating that either doesn’t make me feel good about myself, impacts my health, my general energy level or functioning and importantly the connection with others that I desire. Sometimes, I’m aware of a set of life circumstances like grief and loss, changes to employment and of course, relationship difficulties that are impacting me strongly. In my significant relationships, I may start to notice a consistent and negative distance, neediness or conflict dynamic.

    One of the misconceptions stopping people seeking therapy is that they feel like they have to acutely unwell or for their significant relationship on the brink of collapse before they seek support.  For instance, some people can think that it is ‘weak’ to talk about emotions or you have to be ‘crazy’ to go to therapy. None of this is true and in fact, making a decision to get support when you are less distressed, even if at that time of the appointment you’re really unsure about the benefit, can be significant in reducing the duration and increasing the positive outcomes. For example, in couples therapy, there is solid research around the overall success of therapy when couples are seeking support before they are entrenched in high levels of couple distress

    Regardless, if you’re not sure about whether to seek therapy or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss the appropriateness of attending a session.

  • How Long Does Therapy Take?

    Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this tricky question. Some of my clients will see benefits straight away, and others have been working with me for many months and sometimes years. It will usually depend on the issues that people are attending therapy for and a combination of their life circumstances, types of relationship support and existing personal awareness.

    It can take a little time to build the ingredients for effective therapy. Things like relationship trust and emotional safety can be something unfamiliar to some people. Generally, though, I often suggest that somewhere around 6 – 8 sessions is when most people will start to see some benefit from therapy. However, it is not uncommon for this to also a beginning place and session can continue from here.

    I tend to suggest that a good rhythm for sessions is usually fortnightly. Although weekly appointments are also effective and important if things are critical. Hopefully as therapy advances and there are some changes and improvements for you, sessions can move to more maintenance of check-up appointments.

  • Fees, Rebates & Payment

    Fees: My fees vary from $130 for individual sessions through to $180 for couples sessions.   There are other fees for specialised services like Couple Coaching and Group Supervision and negotiated fees for training and workshops.  More details on my fees and clinical information can be found within each Service page on this website.

    Please Note: My fees are still substantially less than the recommended fee of $240 for Psychologists and Social Workers

    Rebates:  I am able to support you with Private Health rebates if you are a member of Medibank, Bupa, AHRG and ahm.  I do not offer medicare rebates through a Mental Health Plan.

    Please Note:  Gape fees for Mental health plans and medicare rebates can be higher than $130.  Mental health plans are are not accessible for couples therapy. 

    Payment:  Payment is accepted by card, cash or bank transfer.  Card payment incurs a 1.5% transaction fee.  Invoices will always be issued for specialised services or upon request.

    Cancellation/Missed Appointments. You will always receive a text reminder two days prior to your session.  Please give at least 24 hours notice of cancellation or a cancellation fee will apply by discretion.  More information can be found within each Service page on the website.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Care Begins with recognising our differences… I value diversity and inclusion and I am committed to supporting relationships, families, communities and individuals regardless of colour, gender, religion or sexual orientation. As the Clinic Director for Thrive Clinic, my commitment has included proudly becoming a member of the ‘Welcome Here Project’ with ACON. This membership helps guide me, and the practitioners collaborating with Thrive, to celebrate the diversity of our clients and to continue to improve our professional practices in offering an inclusive and supportive space for all.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Care Begins with recognising our differences… I value diversity and inclusion and I am committed to supporting relationships, families, communities and individuals regardless of colour, gender, religion or sexual orientation. As the Clinic Director for Thrive Clinic, my commitment has included proudly becoming a member of the ‘Welcome Here Project’ with ACON. This membership helps guide me, and the practitioners collaborating with Thrive, to celebrate the diversity of our clients and to continue to improve our professional practices in offering an inclusive and supportive space for all.

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