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All About PACT Therapy and How It Can Benefit Your Relationship


A couple participates in PACT Therapy with a therapist.

The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT Therapy) is designed to help you and your partner not only survive difficult times, but thrive together.

Adult relationships can be complicated. You are unique individuals with your own backgrounds, stressors, and communication styles. Plus, you have your own mental health to manage.

That is why it is normal not always to get it right. As two individuals, you have to learn how to work together to maintain a healthy relationship. How can you achieve that? The best place to do this is in the safe space of couples therapy.

Do you want to get to the core of the issues? PACT therapy is for you.

PACT therapy stands for the psychobiological approach to couples therapy. It can achieve the secure functioning relationship you and your partner desire.

So what makes couples therapy with PACT so effective? Read on for all you need to know about PACT therapy and its benefits.

What is PACT Therapy?

Ever wondered why you are so angry at your partner and you do not know why? Do you want to improve interaction and understand each other better?

The psychobiological approach to couples therapy is an integrative approach. It focuses on understanding each other’s biology and history.

Why is this important? Often, you unconsciously respond to emotions stored up inside. When they bubble over, they can deregulate you.

PACT therapy allows you and your partner to work together to regulate as a team. Whatever problem arises, old or new, you will be able to manage for lasting success.

Dr. Stan Tatkin developed this theory. He is a clinician and researcher who has written many bestselling books such as Wired for Dating and Wired for Love. He established the PACT institute in 2010 to train others to become PACT therapists.

The PACT Couples’ Therapy Focus

PACT therapy is a neurobiological model defined by three main topics. These are Attachment Theory, Developmental Neuroscience, and Arousal Regulation. All are based on cutting-edge research and combine to make a successful therapeutic approach. PACT has a reputation for effectively treating the most challenging relationship problems.

Attachment theory is developmental in approach. It explains how childhood experiences with caregivers impact adult relationships. If a child’s first bonds are not secure with caregivers, fears about safety and security can loom large in adult relationships.

We all have different attachment styles. Whatever your background, the PACT therapist will help you both work toward being securely attached. And with the perspective of childhood attachments, together, you can understand each other.

Development Neuroscience studies the human brain and nervous system. People have often developed automatic responses to things, such as attachment threat, love, and stress. Maybe even a specific tone of voice. The biology of human arousal (not just sexual arousal, but emotional arousal too) largely shapes how people manage distress and seek connection.

For example, you may respond to a cue with intense anger. In contrast, your partner may react to the same signal with indifference or fear. Each of your emotions also impacts the other.

Arousal Regulation teaches you the moment-to-moment ability to manage emotions and responses. Instead of losing control with an emotional response, you learn to manage confidently. This leads to better conflict management and communication.

PACT couples therapy does not focus on individual issues such as mental health difficulties or trauma. But it does look at how it influences the couple together and can help you find solutions this way.

What to Expect in a PACT Therapy Session

This approach to couples therapy focuses on the moment to moment shifts in your face, body, and voice. Changes to your partner’s face, body, and voice can be so microscopic you do not notice. The therapist will guide both of you to pay close attention to these together as a team.

Your therapist will look at relationship problems you and your partner may be having. Common issues include infidelity and betrayal, lying, money issues, pornography, and many more.

The therapist will go through similar situations in session, so you can work through them together with guidance. Sometimes with permission, they record sessions so you can observe and reflect immediately.

They apply the principles of PACT therapy with the problems to resolve them.

PACT sessions last a lot longer than the average 50-minute therapy to go in-depth quickly.

Address the Root Cause

It is about showing, not telling.

If you do not address the root cause of problems in relationships, then the same issues keep coming back.

PACT sessions strip away blind spots and surface-level issues. These may be preventing you from recognizing and resolving problems, such as thirds in your relationship. Once you understand them, you can break the cycle of talking without resolution.

Leave Threat Behind

The human brain protects you with a primal instinct to engage the nervous system at any sign of threat. But its determination of threat in relationships is unique to you, as there is no blueprint.

As a result, the brain causes problems in relationships. Couples can misinterpret each other based on their threat perception and react automatically. Often this leads to disengagement at a time when efficient communication is needed.

Have you ever felt an intense rage in response to jealousy? Jealousy is an example of a threat that produces a physiological response.

When you recognize and understand threat responses, you can consciously manage them. Arousal regulation improves your readiness to engage in conflict in a productive way.

Fewer Sessions

As sessions last for three to six hours, you get to the nitty-gritty quickly. Extended sessions are deep and meaningful.

The hard work of PACT sessions pays off fast. As a result, you often require fewer sessions to see results, in comparison to other therapies.

Find Love Again

Whatever your background, or issues as a couple, a loving resolution can be found. PACT therapy allows you to rewire your emotional and biological responses to do this.

Once you remove threats and feel secure, you can rekindle your love. You will learn how together, you can regulate positive states of arousal centered on love.

You will learn to manage and read face, body, and voice expression. So, during the conflict, you’ll create a loving and safe atmosphere instead of a threatening one.

PACT Therapy – Maintain A Secure Functioning Relationship

Secure functioning relationships are achieved when you and your partner become a team. But to get here, you need to understand each other’s behavior.

This physiobiological approach to couples therapy creates relationships based on truth and love. A fulfilling relationship enables you to feel fulfilled in other areas of your life!

Are you interested in PACT therapy? Reach out today for a free consultation to learn more.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Dr. Kate Balestrieri is a Licensed Psychologist (CA, FL, IL + NY), Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, and PACT III trained Couples Therapist. She is the Founder of Modern Intimacy. Follow her on TikTok and IG @drkatebalestrieri and the Modern Intimacy team on IG @themodernintimacy.



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