“Thankfully, relationships aren’t like baseball, where it’s three strikes and you’re out. The universe keeps pitching us new opportunities to redo, repair, and reinvent ourselves with another person”– Stan Tatkin
Over the past 25 years I have worked with countless couples that come to my practice for help with their marriages. In my work with children and adolescents, couple work was a natural trajectory because of the necessity to work with parents when their children are my clients. Many parents often began to recognize that the marriage was the source of many of their children’s issues and made the decision to work on the marriage so they could be better parents.
In order to most effectively help the couples in my practice, I began my training with Stan Tatkin, whose work brings to light an effective way of working with couples. This approach, PACT (A Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy), takes into account many schools of knowledge; developmental neuroscience (the study of the human brain), attachment theory (how we bond), and arousal regulation which is our ability to engage, be alert, and manage our energy.
The goal of this approach to couples therapy is to help both partners understand how their brains actually work and break patterns of bad behavior. Goals of PACT therapy include; learning to recognize what makes each partner feel unsafe and insecure, managing their partners and their own reactions, and ultimately how to move toward a more loving and secure relationship by diffusing conflicts that arise.
Having adapted this approach with couples, I am able to help couples assess key issues in their relationship and provide reparative experiences that ultimately help couples to be more loving with one another. The therapeutic relationship is essential as a basis for the rewiring of original wounded relational blueprints within the couple.
If you have additional questions regarding PACT or couples therapy please click here to contact me.
What Does a PACT Session Look Like?
Your experience during a PACT session may differ somewhat from what you would experience in other forms of couple therapy. Key features of this approach include:
- Your therapist will focus on moment-to-moment shifts in your face, body, and voice, and ask you to pay close attention to these as a couple.
- Your therapist will create experiences similar to those troubling your relationship and help you work through them in real time during the session.
- PACT tends to require fewer sessions than do other forms of couple therapy.
- PACT sessions often exceed the 50-min hour and may last as long as 3–6 hours. Longer times allow for the in-depth work of PACT.
Your therapist may videotape sessions to provide immediate feedback to you.