A new approach to couples therapy
Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy "PACT" Is based on years of research into attachment styles, recent discoveries in neuroscience and how we manage emotions. It is a therapy for couples at any stage of their relationship to facilitate insight into their own and their partner's behaviour.
PACT offers highly effective tools to overcome problems in relationships. It is dynamic, active and often faster working than traditional forms of couples work.
PACT was developed out of exciting, cutting-edge research in three areas.
The first is neuroscience, the study of the human brain. Understanding how the brain works provides a physiological basis for understanding how people act and react within relationships. In a nutshell, 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.
The second is attachment theory, which explains the biological need to bond with others. Experiences in early relationships create a blueprint that informs the sense of safety and security you bring to adult relationships. Insecurities that have been carried through life can wreak havoc for a couple if these issues are not resolved.
The third area is the biology of human arousal—meaning the moment-to-moment ability to manage one’s energy, alertness, and readiness to engage. It isn’t necessary to understand the scientific basis of PACT to realize its benefits. Your therapist will use the PACT principles to guide you in overcoming challenges you face as a couple. Authored by Stan Taktin PsyD
Your session with a PACT therapist might be a little different from other forms of couples counselling
A PACT therapist will be actively guiding you towards a secure relationship, showing you what you are doing to upset each other and seeing far beyond the issues you thought were the cause of your problems. Exercises and role plays might be incorporated so you can learn in real time what to do to fix things. Even if you do decide to split up the things you learn within the PACT sessions about how you are when in a relationship will keep serving you as you move forward.
A little more on PACT therapy, (if you like the technical stuff).
Attachment is the survival mechanism hard-wired into human babies (and other primates) that makes us seek the care and comfort of primary caregivers (usually mum and dad). As proposed by John Bowlby in 1988 and researched since by Mary Ainsworth and Mary Main, the strength and quality of early relational bonds can effect our ability to have secure and lasting relationships in adulthood. Attachment has little do with our temperament and personality but everything to do with how we relate when we are a "WE". It does not mean our parent's did not love us or we do not love our partner.
If we have internalised an 'insecure' attachment model this could be the reason we never feel connected to our partner and problems with communication keep repeating.
Attachment styles can change over the life span. We can learn to become more securely attached, it's called ‘earned security,’ and the ideal place to do this is in the context of a loving committed relationship. PACT directly assesses attachment style and can highlight where a couple may get into trouble. Your therapist will also pay attention to how each partner experiences and regulates their emotional levels, what psychologists call 'arousal levels'.
Nervous System Arousal Regulation is not as sexy as it sounds. It describes how we manage our emotions and internal states. Arousal levels are produced in reaction to another (including your partner, kids or colleagues) or as a result of our own inner workings (e.g caffeine overload, stress or high anxiety). Whether we are controlling our arousal levels constructively, letting rip, or suppressing until we explode, how we manage arousal (feeling) can make a huge difference in our relationship. Couples are often not aware that they are mis-matched in their arousal levels (and yes, this does carry through into the bedroom) and this alone can be a great source of conflict and not feeling connected. This doesn't mean the couple is mis-matched as partners, but it can interfere with good communication and closeness.
When you learn about you and your partner's attachment and arousal regulation style it's like having an 'owner's manual' for each other. You are better able to understand and care for each other and chances are you might see a big improvement in your relationship.
You want to see a therapist who is specifically trained and experienced in couples therapy, and you want this couples therapy to be effective.
Start learning about your partner and get on track to the relationship you want.