Building and maintaining a lasting, satisfying relationship requires attention, cooperation and collaboration between the individuals involved. Every relationship goes through ups and downs, and over time couples can fall into unhealthy ways of communicating and develop patterns of behaviour that can be hard to break. Major life events can send you off track and sometimes you might need extra support to help you navigate your relationship through difficult times. This is where couples counselling can help.
Marriage and relationship counselling can be a great way to give you and your partner the opportunity to communicate clearly and help resolve underlying issues in your relationship.
- I just can’t trust my partner any more
- We seem to be arguing all the time
- I don’t feel heard or understood by my partner
- Things are tense between us and I don’t know why
- We don’t connect the way we used to
- I don’t think I’ll ever be in a successful relationship
If you can relate to any of these statements relationship counselling can help you to heal and have a thriving, happy relationship.
Helping Couples in Sydney CBD Give Their Relationship Another Chance with Marriage Counselling
My name is Lidia Smirnov and I am a specialised and expertly trained couples therapist located in Sydney CBD and North Parramatta. Relationship counselling is my specialty, using my training in the Gottman Couple Therapy Method, PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) as well as body-based somatic psychotherapy, I strive to support couples in achieving a deeper sense of understanding, awareness, empathy, and connectedness within their relationship that ultimately leads to increased friendship, intimacy and the rediscovering of one another.
While I use various techniques to help guide my clients through concerns and relationship blocks, my aim is to work with you, providing you with the tools and support you need to get to where you want to be.
Marriage and relationship counselling sessions are designed to provide a safe space to explore what might be keeping you stuck in unhelpful patterns of behaviour. You are the expert in your life and relationships, and it is my job to use my skills and expertise to work collaboratively with you, helping you challenge yourself and find new ways of approaching difficult situations.
- “Our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health”– Harvard Medical School
- Overcome blockages that are holding you back from having a successful relationship
- Have clear, open and honest communication with your partner to better understand each other
- Have more sexual vitality and intimacy in your relationship
- Rebuilding trust where it has been broken
- Resolve conflicts that are causing divisions and bring you closer together
- Bring you together with a common vision and purpose for life
The 80yrs+ research from Harvard Medical School is showing unequivocally that people in secure relationships have better cardiovascular health, stronger immune systems, lower mortality rates from cancer, and less depression and anxiety, and are able to face day-to-day challenges with more emotional resilience.
I know relationships are challenging, and yet I believe in and have witnessed huge improvement therapy can bring, not just for couples I work with, but I have also experienced the positive impact couples therapy can have in my own marriage. My goal when I work with couples, is to support your relationship by applying what I have learned from Drs John and Julie Gottman, two of the world’s most recognised couple therapists, teachers and researchers. They have spent decades researching how couples can achieve real happiness, and using their methodology you can thrive as a couple and as an individual.
step to seeking help
While you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced in your life, most people need extra support sometimes, and that’s where I can help. Therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realise they need a helping hand, and that is the first important step towards positive change. Counselling and a good therapist can provide a fresh perspective on a difficult problem and help you navigate your way back to a clearer path. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in a session back into your life, so that change is ongoing.
I am passionate about relationships. Being a couples therapist is a very privileged position, one that I do not take for granted. My commitment to you, whether you are visiting my practice in Sydney CBD or Parramatta, is that I will provide you with a safe, open, curious and loving space in order for you to explore what might be keeping you stuck in unhelpful patterns of behaviour. You are the expert in your life and relationships, and it is my job to use my skills and expertise to work collaboratively with you, helping you challenge yourself and find new ways of approaching difficult situations.
The Gottman Method derives from the decades of research at the Gottman Institute, which specialises in relationship and couples therapy. Through their research, Drs. John and Julie Gottman developed what is known as The Sound Relationship House Theory, which identifies nine elements of healthy relationships.
The goals of Gottman Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stuckness in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. The Gottman Method involves working with you, using the methodological framework to systematically assess and provide specific feedback on your relationship, then bring in therapeutic interventions. What interventions are right for your relationship will depend on your particular issues, however they broadly fall into the following nine categories:
Approach to Couples Therapy
Developed by researcher, clinician and teacher, Stan Tatkin. PACT relies on the application of research in neuroscience and attachment theory to improve interactions between couples.
The three core pillars of PACT are:
- Arousal regulation: The way a human mind and body respond to and manage moods and emotions, both their own and their partner’s.
- Attachment theory: Helps to explain how people come to form and nurture their attachment with significant people in their lives.
- Developmental neuroscience: How the brain changes over time in response to both environmental and biological inputs and the impact these changes have on relationship behaviour, from infancy to adulthood.
An approach to therapy that is grounded in the mind-body connection. Hakomi integrates principles of Eastern philosophy, emphasising concepts such as mindfulness, loving presence and empathy.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for self-understanding, and being present in your body and your relationship, by slowing down and quieting the mind, we can gain a clearer picture of the hidden core material that is often out of our awareness. By connecting and understanding these, we can free ourselves from the limited beliefs that we’ve operated from our whole lives, giving way to greater compassion, curiosity and respect for ourselves and our partner.
Book an Appointment at the Clinic in Sydney CBD
Lidia Smirnov Counselling has a clinic located conveniently in Sydney CBD, giving couples a neutral ground for their appointments. For couples living further out the city, there is also a clinic in Oatlands where I also see clients needing relationship and marriage counselling. Call 0403 921 223 to make an appointment or book a free 15-minute call to find out how counselling services might help you and your partner.
We spent years focusing on building a successful business and caring for our family, and little time on our relationship. By the time we met Lidia our relationship barely existed. Lidia helped us to refocus and provided us with the necessary tools to rebuild our relationship. With Lidia’s much valued guidance we now have a strong foundation which is continuing to strengthen. This has been the best investment we have ever made.Craig (PI) & Justine (PI)
We came to Lidia as a couple with multicultural background which presented some issues in itself, but as every relationship is unique in its own right, we are convinced that her expertise will benefit any relationship that goes through a hard time to the point that it may feel unbearable. We highly recommend Lidia to anyone, even if it appears that all avenues to save a relationship have been exhausted. Lidia’s counselling may provide just the turning point that you need at this point in time.Anatol (Game Developer) & YUKI (Early Childcare Worker)
I have been working with Lidia in individual counselling, and it has been an incredible and surprising journey for me. I started from a place of deep but undefinable unhappiness with myself, my relationships, and my life. Working with Lidia, I have come to understand my ingrained habits of thinking, feeling and reacting to the world – and have started a process of change which I didn’t think was possible before. Not only my own sense of well-being but also all of my relationships are improving as a result. Lidia’s unfailing warmth, kindness, patience and intelligence have made this journey possible for me. I would unhesitatingly recommend Lidia to anyone wanting to explore and improve their relationship with themselves, and others. She is a truly compassionate and wise guide on the journey.Annette (Lawyer)
I have been working on personal issues with Lidia for over a year. She has helped me navigate a significant transition in my life by applying mindfulness techniques to scenarios I have shared with her. More recently, she has been helping me and my wife with our relationship and that with our children.
She helps by providing a different context to the one that automatically presents itself. This has allowed me (and my wife) to actively choose our mental models, thereby giving us more control over how we interpret certain experiences. I feel calmer, more content and more willing not to let fear rule what I do. I have also noted significant improvements in my marriage and how I interact with my children.
I would not hesitate recommending Lidia to anyone who is struggling with any aspect of life.Cristian (Engineer) & Joadi (Teacher)
When my wife and I found Lidia we were quite sure that we wanted to save our marriage – we just weren’t quite sure how to go about it. We knew that we still loved each other and that what we had was worth fighting for. But we had grown distant, our careers were pulling in opposite directions and, worst of all, we had effectively stopped communicating. So we knew we had to get help – but we did not hold out a lot of hope that we would find it. But we did. We found Lidia Smirnov who, through her calm, empathic and thoughtful way got us to “see” each other once again. Got us talking & laughing again. Through our sessions with Lidia we were able to reconnect and, most importantly, to develop strategies to avoid returning to that place where we questioned our future together. Of course we still have pressures of work and children – but we now make time for “us” and as a result again have a very positive outlook on our future together. So I would certainly recommend other couples, facing these or similar issues, to also reach out and engage with Lidia.Michael (Barrister) & Sue (EA)
My husband and I didn’t know whether our relationship would survive before we met Lidia. My both knew that we loved each other but the constant fighting was starting to take a toll on our marriage. Having Lidia’s counselling was one of the best things I have done for myself, and we both feel so fortunate to have found Lidia.
Lidia is kind, non-judgmental, and easy to open up to. I have always felt calm and at ease during and after each sessions. We have seen so much growth within ourselves. She has helped me to initiate helpful growth, strength and peace of mind going forward. I highly recommend Lidia.Akiko (Artist)