Did you know that a 79-year-long study through Harvard showed that, more than anything else, close relationships are what keep people happy throughout their lives (Mineo, 2017)? As it turns out, healthy, close relationships are the cornerstone of a fulfilling life. However, with so many things competing for a person’s attention nowadays, it's not surprising that couples might have a hard time structuring their relationship in a way that works for them. This is where PACT Couple Therapy comes in.
The Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy, or PACT, is a therapy framework that helps couples build a close relationship based on fairness, justice, sensitivity, and collaboration. PACT is based on the idea that relationships are a biologically-based survival need (Tatkin, 2012). This approach to relationships helps couples to understand and use the way that their brains and nervous systems are wired toward creating a deeper, more secure bond.
PACT Couple Therapy can help your relationship in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the most important:
Dr. Stan Tatkin developed PACT after years of working with groups, individuals, and couples in focus areas of personality disorders, addiction, and trauma. He began to explore applying relationship science to couple therapy through curiosity about his own experience. Informed by attachment theory, developmental neuroscience, and arousal regulation, Stan realized that the key to forming successful relationships was to help couples understand that they are “in each other’s care” (2023). This led him to develop the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT).
The central goal of PACT is to guide couples toward secure functioning. What is that? It’s a relational posture and a practice that is based on these key principles:
Secure functioning shifts couples from thinking only for themselves to prioritizing the relationship. Why? Because both partners benefit from a healthy relationship!
Secure functioning is a relational dynamic that promotes safety and care for both partners and by both partners.
PACT is informed by three research-based domains:
No other couple therapy (to date) has as heavy of a focus on nervous system regulation or brain functioning as PACT does. This emphasis guides the therapy to promote lasting change on an emotional, structural, and neurobiological level. Couples who learn how to shift in these ways – their relationship is forever changed for the better.
PACT Couple Therapy is a unique approach to couples therapy that guides couples toward functioning securely in their relationship.
This approach emphasizes the importance of creating a sense of safety and healthy dependability in relationships and uses a range of interventions to help couples improve their communication, increase their connection, and enhance their intimacy. PACT Couple Therapy can be particularly effective for couples in high-conflict relationships, helping them establish mutual respect, enhance communication, and increase empathy, making it a powerful tool for couples who are committed to creating a stronger, more secure relationship.
Mineo, L. (2017). Good genes are nice, but joy is better. The Harvard Gazette, 11.
Tatkin, S. (2012). Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner's Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a. New Harbinger Publications.
Tatkin, S. (2023). In Each Other’s Care: A Guide to the Most Common Relationship Conflicts and How to Work Through Them. Sounds True.