Psychobiological Approach To Couples Therapy

Psychobiological Approach To Couples Therapy

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PACT is a fusion of attachment theory, developmental neuroscience, and arousal regulation developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin. PACT has the reputation for treating some of the most challenging couples.

An Approach for the Most Challenging Couples

 Neuroscience is used to understand and educate the couple about how the brain works in relationship. This physiological understanding reduces personalizing or blaming behavior that may be very automatic. These behaviors have to do with ways in which our brain protect us from perceived harm.They also determine how extend ourselves for bonding and connection .

 Attachment Theory helps to look at other forms of automatic functioning that Stan calls our blueprint for what it means to be in primary attachment relationships. We develop those blueprints in early childhood and adolescence. They are informed by whatever tools our parents were working with from their life experience and childhoods.

Understanding different attachment types such as avoidant attachment “island” or anxious attachment “wave” are not intended to box people in with fixed labels, but to offer a spectrum of reactions and relating in a present-day relationship which may have more to do with our history than what is happening now. Decoding this information can assist each person to be better at knowing what helps reduce tension and attend to effective care in conflict areas.

The biology of arousal helps to read each other and support optimal communication. For example, if one person can see that the other is highly aroused and agitated as observed by a change in tone and volume in her/his voice, it will be important to not try and communicate or resolve until down regulated and calmer.


Similarly, if one person can see that the other is under aroused, shut down and sleepy, it will be important to wait for their energy to come up before expecting effective communication to occur.  Stan’s body of work can get very intellectual and has a lot of complex concepts involved that can at first seem intimidating or impossible to understand. The purpose of the PACT therapist is to translate and transmit these concepts into experiential and simplified experiences in the therapy room so that the couple feels a level of mastery inside their relationship.

I learned how to stand up for myself and take care of my own needs versus being passive was typical. I do a better job in my relationships being honest. I also listen to my spouse better and have learned more about how to be supportive in a healthier way. I feel literally saner, calmer, more present. I love my husband more and I am a nicer person to him and I gained a deeper understanding of being present.