Dr Stan Tatkin – The Psychobiological approach to couple therapy [PACT]

Dr Stan Tatkin – The Psychobiological approach to couple therapy [PACT]


– therapy is an intense Dyad relationship
– question for many clients is: will I break it? The relationship.
– the therapist does not have an axe to grind in the relationship & will join you in the task of thinking about the mind
– the therapeutic relationship is about providing a sense of understanding & acknowledging suffering

– he uses the psychobiological approach within a structured family system
– how good & skillful are people in e relationship at the emotional & social level? Picking up cues – such as threat, create excitement, dampen down distress – & knowing what to do in real time
– what is being said, but what people in couples are feeling within themselves, watching facial expressions – being truly present & aware
– PACT can be used in any Dyad – attachment/personality; brain development; arousal regulation (how good the two people are at co-regulating – how as a team the couple is able to regulate itself
– communication is normally very poor between people
– people habituate most things / including “automating” the partner (becoming over-familiar), rather than being present in real-time with your partner
– our attachment history bubbles up once we are familiar with a partner / depend on someone
– it draws on our memory system of all our experiences

So what can couples do?
– being face to face, eye to eye (gazing/ not staring) to interact/talk, pay attention & be in the present moment – so we can move beyond “the automatic” & our internal images (assumptions about what our partner needs, will say/do)
– also leads to oxytocin release (similar between mother/baby bonding experience) from the hypothalamus
– it re-introduces the concept of “novelty” – & are no longer familiar/”boring”
– attention is an emotional need for all of us

Source: Shrink on the Couch Podcast | 19 August 2015

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