Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT)
I was drawn to training in the PACT model because it built on my prior training in the attachment-focused EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) approach to couples therapy and expanded it by adding neuroscience and arousal regulation theory.
PACT was developed by Stan Tatkin, Ph.D., and is based on the idea that “secure functioning” is the foundation for all successful relationships.
Secure functioning is characterized by:
- Security (we protect each other)
- Sensitivity (we are aware of each other)
- Justice and fairness (we quickly repair any hurts that occur)
- Collaboration (we’re in this together)
- True mutuality (what is good for me is good for you).
PACT sessions aim to move couples in the direction of secure functioning. It is a very experiential approach in which the couple speaks primarily to each other rather than to the therapist. Members of the couple are taught to read each other’s body language, understand each other’s attachment style, and manage the arousal level of each other’s nervous system. This approach helps to end the struggle to change each other and promotes profound acceptance and safety within this primary relationship, even if that remains elusive in your relationships with other people.