What is PACT? Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy, PACT, was designed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, a neuropsychologist and attachment therapist. His best-selling books Wired for Love, Wired for Dating, and Your Brain on Love talk about how we relate to one another on a deeper level, motivated by love rather than distress. We each develop a style of attachment from a very young age, and this style impacts how we related to ourselves, the world around us, and most importantly, our partners. There is no style that is necessarily good or bad, yet conflict can arise when we are trying to meet our own needs and each others needs in a way that is "pro-self" rather than "pro-relationship." Please view Stan's video introduction to PACT therapy to learn more.
What happens in a PACT Session?
In a PACT therapy session, my role is to support both members of the couple by paying very close attention to how they are responding to one another. Often when we are in distress we can give off cues to our needs of needing comfort, space, and understanding, but if our partner is also in distress they can miss these opportunities for support. I aid in helping both partners see what is happening for one another so that they can choose to support one another and reinforce the loving couple-bubble so they can then focus on the external stressors that partners often fight about - work, sex, money, kids, time, and mess.
How is PACT Therapy different that other couple's therapy?
The PACT model is unique in that it allows us to drop deep into the areas of the brain where early mis-attunements, trauma, and thought distortions about the self and others are stored. By accessing these areas as they are showing up in your relationship today we can allow the pattern to shift, to do something different, and move toward secure-functioning. In doing this, the feelings of threat and distress can decrease, working to resolve patterns that existed long before your partner came into your life.
Session lengths can vary from couple to couple, and is something we can decide on together. Due to the nature of this work, and the areas of the brain being accessed in this style, time seems to move much more rapidly than what it may feel like in the moment. Clients often report that a 50 minute session flies by as they drop beneath the story line of their arguments and get to connect more meaningfully with one another.
Sessions are for 50 minute to 2 hours.The added length of time allows us to drop deeper beneath the surface to engage and resolve deeply entrenched patterns. Due to the efficiency of working in this way, the number of sessions is often decreased because the underlying issues are being resolved quite rapidly.