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    Couples Counseling

    I am a PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) trained therapist. Developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, PACT is a fusion of attachment theory, developmental neuroscience, and arousal regulation. PACT has a reputation for effectively treating the most challenging couples.

    Neuroscience, the study of the human brain provides a physiological basis for understanding how people act and react within relationships. Briefly, some areas of your brain are wired to reduce threat and danger and seek security, while others are geared to establish mutuality and loving connection.

    Attachment Theory is the explanation for the biological need to bond with others. Experiences in early relationships create a template that informs the sense of safety and security a person will bring to adult relationships. Insecurities that have been carried through life can wreak havoc for a couple if these issues are not resolved.

    Biology of Human Arousal is the moment-to-moment ability to manage one’s energy, alertness, and readiness to engage. It is vitally important to increase understanding about this in relationship as perception is subjective. The parts of our brain that help us be careful about what we say and correct our errors is under-resourced in an intense argument. It’s like having spell-check suddenly turn off while writing an essay. You don’t get any warnings anymore that you are making a mistake and so you continue on unaware that what you are saying may not be true. Dr. Stan Tatkin puts it this way “our brains aren’t working at full capacity” during an argument. “There’s a network of structures that have to talk to each other in order to correct errors, and there has to be enough time and energy for these error-correcting parts of the brain to do their job. When people are upset with each other, they’re moving too fast and they’re under-resourced, meaning that there’s literally not enough blood—oxygen and glucose—going to those areas of the brain.

    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 hours. Longer times allow for the in-depth work of PACT.Your therapist may videotape sessions to provide immediate feedback to you.