PACT Couples Therapy

PACT Couples Therapy

Are you looking to strengthen your relationship, deepen your connection with your partner, and create a more secure and loving bond? If so, you might want to consider trying PACT Couples Therapy. This innovative approach combines cutting-edge neuroscience, attachment theory, and developmental psychology to help couples build healthier and more harmonious relationships.

One of the key benefits of PACT therapy is its practicality. You and your partner won’t just talk about your issues; you’ll actively practice new skills and behaviors that can transform the way you relate to each other. PACT therapists will guide you through exercises and experiences that help you understand your attachment styles, emotional responses, and communication patterns. By gaining insight into how your brains and bodies interact within the context of your relationship, you’ll be better equipped to navigate challenges, resolve conflicts, and foster a deep sense of security and intimacy.

PACT therapy isn’t about blaming or analyzing the past; it’s about creating a safe and nurturing space for you and your partner to grow together. So, if you’re ready to take a proactive step toward a more fulfilling relationship, PACT Couples Therapy might be just what you need.

Find a therapist.

PACT Couples Therapy

What is PACT Couples Therapy?

PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy) is a couples therapy approach developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin. It’s rooted in neuroscience, attachment theory, and developmental psychology, offering a unique perspective on how couples can create secure and harmonious relationships.

PACT therapists focus on helping couples understand their attachment styles, emotional responses, and patterns of relating. By exploring the ways their brains and bodies interact within the context of their relationship, couples can learn to communicate more effectively, deepen their emotional connection, and create a secure and loving bond.

PACT therapy is highly practical and experiential, encouraging couples to actively practice new skills and behaviors to improve their partnership.

PACT Couples Therapy

What to Expect in PACT Couples Therapy Sessions

PACT Couples Therapy sessions typically follow a structured yet highly personalized format. During these sessions, you and your partner will engage in various exercises and discussions, guided by a trained PACT therapist. Here’s what you can expect:


In the initial sessions, the therapist will conduct assessments to understand your attachment styles, communication patterns, and individual needs within the relationship. This helps the therapist tailor the therapy to your specific dynamics.

Experiential Learning

PACT therapy is experiential, meaning you’ll actively engage with your partner in real-time exercises designed to illuminate how you interact emotionally, physically, and verbally. These exercises can include role-plays, body awareness activities, and mirroring exercises.

Developing Secure Attachments

The therapist will focus on helping you and your partner develop secure attachments. You’ll learn to recognize and respond to each other’s emotional cues and needs, fostering a sense of emotional safety and connection.

Communication Skills

You’ll work on improving communication skills, including active listening, empathetic responding, and effective expression of feelings and needs.

PACT Couples Therapy

Conflict Resolution

PACT therapy equips you with tools to navigate conflicts and disagreements in a more constructive way. You’ll learn to manage emotional reactivity and find solutions that benefit both partners.

Neurobiology and Attachment

Your therapist may also discuss the neurobiological aspects of attachment and relationships, helping you understand the science behind your emotional reactions.

How Long is PACT Couples Therapy?

The duration of PACT therapy varies depending on the unique needs of each couple. While some couples may benefit from a relatively short-term approach, others with more complex issues might engage in therapy for a longer duration. It’s essential to discuss the expected duration with your therapist during the initial sessions.

PACT Couples Therapy Compared to Other Couples Therapy

PACT Couples Therapy Compared to Other Couples Therapy

PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) Couples Therapy is a unique approach to couples therapy that differs in several ways from other common types of couples therapy.

Each of these approaches has its own strengths and may be better suited to different couples or specific issues within relationships. The choice between them should depend on the couple’s unique dynamics and therapeutic goals. Some therapists may also integrate elements from multiple approaches to create a tailored therapy experience.

Here’s a comparison and contrast with a few well-known approaches:

PACT vs. Traditional Talk Therapy (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic, etc.):

  • Experiential vs. Analytical: PACT is highly experiential, focusing on in-session interactions to uncover and address attachment dynamics. Traditional talk therapies often rely on analysis of thoughts and past experiences.
  • Attachment-Oriented vs. Symptom-Focused: PACT emphasizes understanding and improving attachment bonds, whereas traditional therapies may focus more on symptom reduction or conflict resolution.
  • Neurobiology vs. Cognitive Processes: PACT integrates knowledge of neurobiology to explain emotional reactions, while traditional therapies emphasize cognitive processes.

PACT vs. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

  • Attachment-Based Approaches: Both PACT and EFT are attachment-based therapies, but PACT places a stronger emphasis on the neurobiological aspects of attachment.
  • Experiential Learning: PACT relies heavily on experiential exercises, while EFT includes these but also incorporates more structured conversations.
  • Communication Styles: PACT may focus more on body language and non-verbal cues, whereas EFT puts a significant emphasis on verbal communication.

PACT vs. Gottman Method Couples Therapy

  • Attachment vs. Relationship Patterns: PACT delves into attachment dynamics, while the Gottman Method focuses on relationship patterns and behaviors.
  • Communication: PACT may have a stronger focus on non-verbal communication, while the Gottman Method often involves structured conversations and communication skills training.

PACT vs. Imago Relationship Therapy

  • Attachment vs. Childhood Wounds: PACT often looks at current attachment styles, while Imago delves into unresolved childhood wounds.
  • Experiential vs. Dialogue-Based: PACT’s experiential exercises differ from Imago’s structured dialogue process.

PACT vs. Solution-Focused Brief Couples Therapy (SFBT)

  • Focus: SFBT aims to find solutions to specific problems by exploring exceptions and identifying what’s working. PACT focuses on attachment and underlying dynamics.
  • Interventions: SFBT uses questions to explore solutions, whereas PACT employs experiential exercises to uncover attachment patterns.
  • Orientation: SFBT is future-oriented, while PACT looks at the present and attachment dynamics.

PACT vs. Narrative Couples Therapy:

  • Focus: Narrative therapy explores how couples construct their narratives and stories about their relationship. PACT emphasizes attachment and the neurobiological aspects of bonding.
  • Interventions: Narrative therapy involves reframing and reshaping stories, while PACT uses experiential exercises to reveal attachment dynamics.
  • Narrative vs. Attachment: Narrative therapy focuses on storytelling, while PACT is more focused on the biology of attachment.

PACT Couples Therapy Compared to Other Couples Therapy

Combination of PACT with Individual Therapy

In some cases, one or both partners in a couple may benefit from individual therapy to address personal issues that are affecting the relationship. PACT therapists may collaborate with individual therapists to ensure that both individual and relationship needs are met.

In using PACT with individuals, therapists adapt its principles and techniques to address the unique needs and goals of each person. While the approach may differ from couple therapy, the underlying focus on attachment, emotional regulation, and personal growth remains central to helping individuals achieve more satisfying and fulfilling lives.

How PACT is Adapted for Individuals:

  • Focused on Intrapersonal Dynamics: When using PACT with individuals, therapists concentrate on intrapersonal dynamics—how the individual’s attachment and emotional regulation patterns manifest within themselves. This involves exploring their attachment history, internal working models, and emotional responses.
  • Emotion Regulation: Therapists help individuals identify and regulate their emotions, especially in relation to their attachment style. This includes recognizing emotional triggers and learning healthier ways to respond.
  • Attachment Exploration: PACT for individuals involves investigating how their attachment style influences their relationships with others and themselves. Understanding attachment patterns can shed light on recurrent challenges in personal and professional connections.

When PACT May Be Used with Individuals:

  • Relationship Preparation: Individuals seeking to improve their future relationships or navigate the dating world might benefit from PACT. Understanding one’s attachment style and developing better emotional regulation can lead to healthier partner choices and more fulfilling relationships.
  • Post-Relationship Healing: After a breakup or divorce, individuals may struggle with emotional wounds and patterns that contributed to the relationship’s challenges. PACT can help them heal and prepare for future connections.
  • Personal Growth: PACT can be used for personal development, helping individuals gain self-awareness, enhance emotional regulation, and improve their sense of self. This can lead to greater overall well-being.

PACT Couples Therapy Compared to Other Couples Therapy

PACT Couples Therapy in Combination with Other Therapy Types

Many couples find that PACT provides a comprehensive and effective approach to addressing their relationship issues. PACT therapists are trained to work with a wide range of issues, from communication problems and conflict resolution to attachment dynamics and intimacy issues. In such cases, PACT is used as the primary therapeutic modality.

However, PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) can be used in combination with other therapies, depending on the specific needs of the couple and the expertise of the therapist. Ultimately, the goal of integration is to provide couples with a comprehensive therapeutic experience that addresses attachment dynamics, emotional regulation, somatic awareness, and, if relevant, spiritual or transpersonal aspects of their relationship. This approach acknowledges the complexity of human relationships and aims to support couples in their journey toward greater connection and understanding.

Here are a few scenarios:

Integrating PACT with Mindfulness

  • PACT focuses on enhancing partners’ awareness of their attachment dynamics and emotional responses. Mindfulness practices can complement PACT by helping couples become more present and attuned to their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations.
  • Couples may learn mindfulness techniques to manage stress, improve emotional regulation, and stay grounded during difficult conversations.

The combination of PACT’s relational insights and mindfulness skills can foster a deeper understanding of each partner’s reactions and promote more mindful interactions within the relationship.

Integrating PACT with Hakomi

  • Hakomi therapy is body-centered and experiential, focusing on the mind-body connection. Combining PACT with Hakomi can help couples explore their attachment dynamics on both a cognitive and somatic level.
  • Couples might engage in experiential exercises that involve body awareness, helping them notice bodily sensations and emotional responses during interactions.

PACT’s emphasis on attachment and Hakomi’s somatic awareness can provide a richer understanding of how the body and emotions contribute to relational patterns.

Integrating PACT with Transpersonal Therapy

  • Transpersonal therapy explores spiritual and transcendent aspects of human experience. Combining PACT with transpersonal therapy can help couples explore shared values, beliefs, and spiritual dimensions of their relationship.
  • Couples may engage in discussions about their spiritual or existential perspectives and how these impact their connection.
  • PACT’s focus on attachment and emotional safety can complement the exploration of deeper, transcendent aspects of the relationship.

PACT Couples Therapy Compared to Other Couples Therapy

Integrating PACT with Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy focuses on exploring and reframing personal narratives and stories. Combining PACT with narrative therapy can help couples and individuals examine the narratives they have constructed about their relationships. Therapists may guide clients in identifying and challenging negative or limiting relationship narratives and help them co-create more positive and empowering narratives. PACT’s attention to attachment dynamics and narrative therapy’s expertise in deconstructing and reconstructing stories can offer clients a more holistic view of their relationships. This integration can empower individuals and couples to rewrite their relational narratives for greater connection and satisfaction.

Integrating PACT with Schema Therapy

Schema therapy delves into deep-seated emotional patterns and core beliefs. Combining PACT with schema therapy can assist couples and individuals in identifying how their schemas impact their relationships. Therapists may work with clients to recognize maladaptive schemas that contribute to relational challenges and develop strategies to modify these patterns. PACT’s focus on attachment and schema therapy’s expertise in addressing core beliefs can provide a comprehensive approach to understanding and transforming relational dynamics. This integration can help couples and individuals break free from repetitive and unhelpful patterns.

Integrating PACT with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) targets negative thought patterns and behaviors. Combining PACT with CBT can help individuals and couples identify cognitive distortions that influence their perceptions of each other and their relationships. Therapists might guide clients in recognizing and reframing irrational beliefs and thoughts that contribute to conflict and dissatisfaction in relationships. PACT’s focus on attachment and CBT’s emphasis on cognitive restructuring can offer a balanced approach that addresses both emotional and cognitive aspects of relationship dynamics. This integration can empower clients to develop more constructive ways of thinking and interacting within their relationships.

Integrating PACT with Formative Therapy

Formative therapy explores the client’s formative experiences and their impact on their current life. Combining PACT with formative therapy can assist couples and individuals in understanding how early life experiences have shaped their attachment styles and relational patterns. Therapists may guide clients in exploring and processing formative experiences, allowing them to connect past events with present relationship dynamics. PACT’s focus on attachment and formative therapy’s attention to early experiences can provide a deeper understanding of the roots of relational challenges. This integration can support clients in healing past wounds and fostering healthier attachments in the present.

PACT Couples Therapy Compared to Other Couples Therapy

Next Steps:

Therapists who wish to become proficient in the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT) typically undergo specialized training to gain the necessary knowledge and skills.

Are you ready to find a therapist who utilizes PACT Couples Therapy? Search our therapist directory today to find the one who is right for you. Or call us for more information.

Contact Our Team

Saw someone on our team that you think would be a good fit for you? Use the form here to send them your questions!
Use this dropdown to select the counselor or therapist that you wish to send a message to using this form.