Psychobiologic Approach to Therapy (PACT)
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT PACT
Would you like to….
See through the fog of infatuation?
Screen your partner to assess if you are a good match for one another?
Understand the biological underpinnings of your relationship connection?
Recognize your own and your partner’s relationship styles?
Play well and fight well together
Form mutually satisfying and lasting commitments.
Or for those couples who feel very confused about where their relationship is going ….
be clear whether you both would be better off to go your separate ways?
WHAT IS PACT?
PACT stands for a Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy®.
I love working in this model because it quickly helps couples get a handle on what are their issues, and how to work with them. Couples will often feel better—and have some hope – after the first session.
1) HURT to HEALING to HOPE
You may be like many couple I see who feel stuck in continuous destructive patterns, like wagon wheels mired in the mud, or hamsters scampering around and around the same circular wheel. [Choose your metaphor.]
You’ve lost that “lovin’ feeling”. You both suffer. Your relationship suffers. Your kids suffer [if you have them.] You may be upset, discouraged, angry, and … especially exhausted.
PACT moves you quickly from hurt to healing and hope by integrating 3 areas of how we as human beings function:
PACT developer and founder, Stan Tatkin PsyD, wove together three areas of exciting, cutting-edge research.
a) The first is neuroscience, the study of the human brain. Understanding how the brain works provides a physiological basis for understanding how we act and react within relationships. Basically, some areas of our brain are wired to reduce threat and danger and seek security, while others are geared to establish mutuality and loving connection.
b) The second is attachment theory, which explains the biological need to connect and to bond with others. Experiences in early relationships, starting when we’re infants, create a blueprint that shapes the sense of safety and security we bring to adult relationships. Insecurities that have been carried through life can wreak havoc for a couple if these issues are not resolved.
c) The third area is the biology of human arousal—meaning the moment-to-moment ability to manage one’s energy, alertness, and readiness to engage with another person. It isn’t necessary to understand all the science of PACT to realize its benefits.
2) WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF PACT ?
The major goal is to help you become a “secure functioning” couple, that is, a full partnership. It’s a two-person paradigm, often a new way of thinking, feeling and relating, for many couples: it’s “we”, not “I” and “you”.
“Secure-functioning relationships take real fears off the table …That helps us sleep at night and gives us energy to do other things.” says PACT founder Dr. Stan Tatkin.
And he adds, “Secure-functioning couples do not threaten the relationship, or each other, ever.” PACT’s three building blocks for a secure-functioning relationship are: justice, fairness, and sensitivity to each other. “Basically, it’s two people looking out for each other as if their lives depended on it…which, actually, they do!
3) WHAT DOES A PACT SESSION LOOK LIKE?
Your experience during a PACT session may differ somewhat from what you might expect, or have experienced, in other forms of couple therapy. Key features of this approach include the following:
A focus on moment-to-moment shifts in your face, body, and voice. I will ask each of you to pay close attention to these aspects in your partner.
Together we create experiences similar to those troubling your relationship and help you to work through them in real time during the session.
PACT sessions average 2 hours (90 minutes to 3 hours). Longer times allow us to follow your narrative in each session and to work in-depth.
Thus, while session times are longer, PACT tends to require fewer sessions than do other forms of couple therapy.
I will ask your permission to videotape sessions to provide immediate feedback to you.
4) EDUCATE YOURSELVES
There are many books on the market for couples. I recommend those that have exercises, often at the end of each chapter, that engage you with one another. My favorite ones to recommend, and of course by Stan Tatkin, PsyD. : We Do (2018) and Wired for Love (2009) (Also in an audio version, Brain on Fire). I also recommend books by John Gottman, Ph.D., who has many complimentary theories, albeit a very different approach in practice. Go to the Resources Page on this website for titles, and a click that will get you directly to Amazon.