Bayside psychotherapy, counselling & hypnotherapy FAQs

Psychotherapy, counselling and hypnotherapy are a mystery to most people. So it’s not surprising you have questions.

Have a browse through the following FAQs. If you don’t find the answers to your questions, please feel free to contact us online or by phone on (03) 9557 9113. We’d be happy to chat.

Isn’t therapy just talking? How can that help?

There’s a big difference between just therapy and just talking – even a deep and meaningful one with a wise and trusted person. Although the methods vary, most counselling is designed to uncover your unconscious ideas, conflicts, desires and knowledge. A professional therapist is trained to detect and interpret subtle indicators in the things you say, the jokes you make, the way you respond to questions. They also identify patterns in the way you think, communicate and behave.

Sharing your deepest thoughts with an objective mental health professional, in a safe, non-judgmental environment, is a very different process than talking to a friend or family member, where many other factors and risks may be at play.

Are you qualified?

Yes. Therapists at Bayside Psychotherapy generally have both a university degree and extensive experience working with a wide variety of conditions.

You can visit our therapist’s page to find out more about our Melbourne practitioners and some of the techniques and methods they use.

Each counsellor has access to a network of mental health specialists to make referrals where applicable. All also undergo regular supervision, which is a requirement for them to maintain their registration to practice.

What are the advantages of online therapy?

For some people, online counselling can be even more effective than face-to-face therapy. Here are 6 reasons why:

  1. You have a wider selection of therapists to consider to find the best fit for you if you’re not bound by geography.
  2. You can receive your psychotherapy, counselling or even hypnotherapy from the comfort of your own home without worrying about travel time, parking, or public transport headaches. This is a big consideration for parents, full-time workers or people experiencing certain anxiety disorders.
  3. Many people feel safer talking online than talking in person. Opening up and sharing yourself – which are essential for healing – can be easier at that slight digital remove.
  4. You don’t have to interrupt your therapy program while travelling.
  5. Online counselling can feel less confronting if your needs are linked to physical problems such as surgery, injury, disability, or body image issues, or if you have physical limitations.
  6. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is a good match for online therapy because it focuses on speech rather than body language. Bayside Psychotherapy has been providing various psychotherapy and counselling methods for many years and are practised in accommodating either in person or remote therapy.

But I’m not good with technology. Can I still do online therapy?

Yes. We send you easy-to-follow instructions, and it takes just a few seconds. Although you will need a computer or device that can run the required apps, no special technical skills or experience are required.

Does online therapy cost more? Do I have to pay for an app or anything?

No. Online therapy doesn’t cost any more. Because it’s a video chat, though, it does use a fair bit of data. If you don’t have an unlimited data plan, you should check with your internet service provider (ISP) first.

Are your online sessions secure?

Our therapists use Doxy, Zoom or Skype to conduct secure online therapy sessions. Skype and Zoom are encrypted, and Doxy is encrypted, end-to-end, with state-of-the-art security and encryption protocols.

Is there an option for face-to-face sessions as well?

We are preparing to resume face-to-face sessions at our new Highett premises, though our practitioners will each follow their own schedule. Some have found telehealth counselling so successful that they’re choosing to continue offering therapy entirely online for the time being. Others are conducting either online or face-to-face sessions, and availability for in-person appointments will vary depending on the therapist. Give us a call on (03) 9557 9113 to find out more.

Can you help with my problem?

We will do our best to design a program to help you following an initial assessment. We’ll evaluate your suitability for therapy during your initial session, and consult with you about your goals and expectations. If we don’t think we can help, either because we don’t provide the sort of therapy you’re interested in trying, or it doesn’t feel like the right match, we’ll do our best to help you find someone who may be better suited.

Do you work with NDIS funded clients?

Yes, but currently only Adam Szmerling works with adult clients who are either Self Managed or Plan Managed with the NDIS providing therapeutic services. A discussion needs to occur first and a service agreement co-signed prior to booking.

When will I start to feel better?

Some patients may start to feel better after just one or two sessions, while others may need quite a few more than that. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say for sure how long it will take you to see results without getting to know you better. It may take a few sessions to get a realistic idea of how long your treatment will take. That’s because treatment efficacy depends on so many variables, such as how ingrained the problematic patterns are, what goals you want to set, how willing you are to commit to working on your issues, which therapist you see and what therapy approach they use.

It’s understandable that you want to get better fast. But the reality is that pressure to change is more likely to add frustration rather than help your cause. Healing and growth happen at their own pace and it can be unproductive to try and speed up the process.

In our experience, patients who only receive short-term care can be more likely to experience a relapse in the future, especially if their symptoms are longstanding because they did not take the time to fully investigate the factors behind their problem. We’re committed to providing thorough, quality services. We’re with you for the whole journey, for however long it takes. All you have to do is keep turning up, we’ll be there for you.

How often should I meet with my therapist?

It depends on the therapist and their practice method. The average attendance is weekly, but some people may choose to attend more frequently than that. Others may choose fortnightly sessions.

Your therapist will discuss the question of frequency, and together you’ll choose a pattern that suits your unique circumstances. It’s a collaborative consideration, rather than prescriptive, and may also change over the course of treatment.

We believe lasting change and deep improvements in self-esteem (rather than fleeting ‘self-help’ band-aid solutions) are generally more likely with frequent, consistent sessions. In general, the more seriously you take the treatment, and the more priority you ascribe to it, the more you’ll benefit.

Will I be criticised, judged or forced to talk about things I don’t want to discuss?

Absolutely not! Our role as your online counsellor is not to judge you or force you to talk about anything you don’t want to discuss. You’re free to share whatever you like, and whatever the topic is you can be assured it will be discussed in a healthy and helpful way.

Of course, treatment isn’t meant to be an effortless or easy process. Complex anxiety, painful thoughts, sensitive feelings and relationship patterns will surface, and they can be hard to face. But these confrontations generally indicate progress, which is something to be celebrated. The more insight you have into your emotions, the more power you have to address them.

If painful feelings do surface, we endeavour to teach you a special mindfulness meditation technique to help you manage the emotions associated with them, which will encourage you to explore them. Besides, as the famous analyst, Carl Jung said, “You can’t defeat an enemy you don’t know exists”.

Is it confidential?

Definitely! Everything said during your counselling sessions is held in complete confidence. We will never share information about you unless we absolutely have to. (We’re legally required to report risks of suicide, homicide or incidents of child abuse.)

If a family member asks about your therapy, we will speak to you before talking to them. You can decide what or how much we can tell them. And if you’re not comfortable about it, we won’t tell them anything (unless there’s a risk of suicide, homicide or child abuse).

When do I pay?

We require full payment in advance of your appointment. If you book online, you’ll be prompted to pay at the same time. If you book over the phone, we’ll process your credit/debit card payment during the call.

However, our psychologist Natalie has a different policy and procedure regarding fees.

Can I get a Medicare rebate?

If your session is with Natalie, and you have a current mental health care plan, you’ll receive a Medicare rebate. We don’t bulk-bill though, so you’ll have to claim the rebate through Medicare yourself.

You won’t get a Medicare rebate for sessions with our other therapists. For this reason, the therapy practice methods available are not restricted by Medicare rules, and there’s no default mandatory reporting to your GP.

Can I get a private health fund rebate?

You’ll have to check with your private health fund. Some cover telehealth therapy, but it depends on your level of cover and the therapist you see.

What if I need to cancel my appointment? Do you charge for missed sessions?

Bookings are payable in advance and are non-refundable. So if you cancel your session, you’ll still pay for it. You can, however, reschedule a session so long as you give us at least 3 business days’ notice. Of course, we appreciate that exceptional circumstances may arise, but these can only be considered on a case by case basis through a direct discussion with your therapist by phone or during the next online therapy session. Terms and conditions also apply for online bookings.

Can my friend or partner participate?

That is completely up to you, but please discuss the possibility with your therapist first. So long as we have sufficient notice and, ideally, can discuss it with you first, it’s usually fine.

Unless you’re receiving psychotherapy. Psychotherapy generally works best when no one else is present. We prefer to focus on you as an individual, and that means being as free as possible from other’s expectations, desires or demands. Regardless of how helpful the other’s contribution might be, personal space and boundaries are critical in psychotherapy.

Despite your conscious intentions, having a partner or friend present could influence what you disclose or censor, and lead to subtle (or not so subtle) attempts to please or frustrate the other person (instead of engaging in real therapeutic work).

Where does medication fit in?

You’re in complete control of your treatment process. Some people choose to combine medication and therapy, and that’s okay, as long as it’s been carefully considered with your GP or psychiatrist. We don’t support or advise against medication. We feel it’s something you should discuss with your doctor or psychiatrist.

Can I see another therapist too?

Yes. Although it’s generally recommended that you see one therapist at a time, you’re definitely welcome to see another therapist or professional while receiving treatment from us. We may even recommend a team care plan that involves other specialists. It all depends on your situation.

I’m trying to book online, but can’t find the therapist I want. What should I do?

If you don’t see the therapist you want on our online booking page, please call 03 9557 9113 to make a booking. To book a session with Natalie, please contact us by phone.

What if I’m not in Melbourne?

Because we’re set up for online therapy, it doesn’t matter where you live. We work with patients all around Australia.

Where is your privacy policy?

You can read our privacy policy here.

This is an emergency. Can you help me right now?

No. We are not a crisis clinic, and therefore can’t help you in an emergency.

If you need emergency assistance, please contact Lifeline or Beyond Blue, both of which provide free, 24-hour emergency support.

Time to start therapy?

Email Us

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Call us

03 9557 9113

Reception phone hours

8:30am – 5:30am
Monday – Friday

(closed on public holidays)

Choose your own date and time for an online or in-clinic session

Therapist Hours

  • Monday 8:00am to 8:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Thursday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 8:00pm
  • Saturday 8:00am to 6:00pm
I want an…

Therapists who do online

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Carolina Selvarajoo
  • Humaira Ansari
  • Kelli Tranter
  • Lawrence Akers
  • Paul Mischel

Therapists who do in-clinic

  • Adam Szmerling
  • Carolina Selvarajoo
  • Lawrence Akers
  • Paul Mischel