Integration of PACT Couples Therapy with Psychedelic Assisted Therapy: Facilitating Secure-Functioning Relationship

for therapists May 08, 2023

By Olga M. Vera, PhD

PACT Level 3 Therapist

As PACT therapists, we play a significant role in supporting our couples toward secure-functioning relationships. We can also play an essential role in contributing to the growth of psychology, psychedelics, and work with couples. This paper is my observations and insights as a PACT therapist from my work with couples who decided to use MDMA to strengthen their relationship. Many of my clients wanted to see if MDMA could help them identify the barriers that were not allowing them to create a secure-functioning relationship. 

MDMA has been described as the love drug, the heart opener, or the truth pill by various people in the psychedelic community. People who have taken MDMA recreationally reported a sense of openness and connection toward others. Some have described that it gives them the willingness to discuss the topics that scare them, helping them drop defenses and fear. 

Many of my couples experimenting with...

Continue Reading...

Proper Comanagement of Thirds

for couples Apr 14, 2023

Excerpted from In Each Other's Care: A Guide to the Most Common Relationship Conflicts and How to Work Through Them by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, LMFT (Sounds True, 2023)

As mentioned in chapter 2, any and all thirds that threaten the safety and security of the couple system should be comanaged by partners in a timely fashion so as not to disturb the peace. Thirds can be alcohol, drugs, people, tasks, work, porn, parents, children, friends, exes, pets, or electronics. If one primary partner experiences jealousy, that is certainly a sign of mismanagement by the other. The proper use of a third is to work with it—on it, for it, or against it—together and not separately. We’ll revisit this topic in chapter 9.

Work the Problem, Not Each Other

Learn to focus together on the task at hand whether it is a problem, a decision, a desire, a conundrum, or a plan. The issue between you is a third that must be managed together if you are to be an alliance and a team....

Continue Reading...

Shared Purpose, Shared Vision, and Shared Principles of Governance

for therapists Apr 10, 2023

Excerpted from In Each Other's Care: A Guide to the Most Common Relationship Conflicts and How to Work Through Them by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, LMFT (Sounds True, 2023)

My friends, most love relationships do not last exceptionally long. There are a good many reasons for this. Let’s start at the very top with a lack of shared purpose, vision, and principles of governance. The following material refers only to human unions among freethinking, independent adults in a conditions-based volunteered venture. It does not apply to dictatorships, master-slave arrangements, or parent-child relationships.

Shared Purpose

Shared purpose is your foundational “together” statement; the oath you create together and live by each day. Without a shared purpose between united humans, there is nothing to hold people together over time, particularly hard times. Review these examples with your partner. As you read this book, work together to create a shared purpose for your...

Continue Reading...

Meet the First PACT Certified Therapists

for therapists Mar 07, 2023

This month, we’re celebrating the first group to have earned the distinct title of PACT Certified Therapist by completing the highest level of PACT training. 

You may see them teaching classes, offering consultation, or sharing PACT research projects.

We asked them what the Certification process was like for them, what advice they have for clinicians new to working with couples, and (just for fun!) if they could have one superpower, what it would be. Learn a little more about each of them.

 


Eda Arduman, MA,
Clinical Psychologist

Istanbul, Turkey

"Going through the PACT Certification program was healing and supportive and sharpened my skills as a therapist and teacher."

Advice for new couples therapists? “Consider becoming a couples therapist as a lifelong journey that will impact your personal as well as professional life…. To truly help couples heal, move away from cookie-cutter approaches and step into the energy of the couple dynamic. The safest way...

Continue Reading...

Separating Relationship Myths From Reality

couples Mar 03, 2023

In popular culture, on social media, and even in couples therapists’ offices, myths about what constitutes a “good” relationship abound:

“If you’re with the right person, your relationship should be effortless.”

“Couples in good relationships don’t argue.”

We asked PACT Certified therapists about the most common misconceptions they see in their practice, how those misconceptions can derail couples from relationship satisfaction, and what’s really true when it comes to fulfilling, secure-functioning relationships. 

“Couples have erroneous ideals around what being a couple is. They are willing to work on their children, houses, work, bodies but strangely, the idea of working on a relationship is foreign,” says Eda Arduman, clinical psychologist in Istanbul, Turkey.

Ellen Boeder, MA and licensed professional counselor (LPC), in Boulder, Colorado agrees. “[Couples think] that if you're with the right...

Continue Reading...

How to Talk About Sex from a PACT Perspective

for couples pomeranz sex Nov 16, 2022

By Kelifern Pomeranz, PsyD, CST

PACT Level 3 Therapist


Yolanda and Miguel struggle to talk about sex. Yolanda worries that Miguel is no longer attracted to her and feels insecure, rejected, and confused. Miguel has always had a low libido and more recently has been having difficulty maintaining erections. He is embarrassed, sad, and full of shame about his lack of desire and sexual performance and often withdraws as a result. Miguel’s withdrawal only increases Yolanda’s suspicion and anxiety that he no longer wishes to be with her. 

Tao and Arthur struggle to talk about sex. While deeply in love they have always had different sexual wants and desires. Upon mutual agreement, they seek sexual partners outside of their relationship to satisfy the majority of their sexual needs. As time goes on, they worry about how this sexual incompatibility (not having sex with each other) will impact their future together.

Maddox and Penelope struggle to talk about sex. He is...

Continue Reading...

Keep Knee to Knee While Mutual Eye-Gazing

for therapists joy dryer Nov 09, 2022

By Joy A Dryer, PhD

PACT Level 3 Therapist


“I’m still not comfortable,” says Sam, jiggling his foot.

Sam and Sandra came to couples therapy because they can’t communicate. I start them in each session with a typical Psychobiologic Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) [1] mutual eye-gazing exercise [2]. They have just settled into their rolling chairs. I ask that they sit comfortably with their knees touching.

I tell couples to breathe deeply, focus attention on the other's face, and notice every detail. Try not to talk or touch. Sam lasts about 15 seconds and then says, “I don’t like this staring thing.”

I sit on my rolling chair between them, a few feet away. My standard poodle, Hobbes, sits statue-still next to my chair. He looks up into my eyes. I look into his.

Sandra catches our exchange. She returns her gaze to Sam’s. Her eyes well up with tears.

Sam’s eyebrows rise with a question, then collapse into a knitted frown. ...

Continue Reading...

When a Couple Desires More Intimacy

By Karen Berry, PhD

PACT Certified Therapist


As a senior PACT clinician and sex therapist, I routinely use the PACT paradigm to work directly with couples wanting more from their sex lives. I utilize the solid container of a secure-functioning relationship where both are committed to the work of co-regulation and responsibility to help their person, yet I’ve found I need to add some additional components to get robust outcomes. I want to share the essentials that I keep in mind, that ground my case construction, so I can steer solidly in my chair.

The first component is that I prefer to talk with people about their sensuality rather than “sex.”   Sexuality is just too narrow and, more importantly, it brings to mind sexual performance. Clients frequently express concerns about whether their sex organs are functioning correctly, whether or not they are orgasming or orgasming hard enough, if they are having enough sex or the right kind of sex, and if they...

Continue Reading...

Loss Avoidance Complicates Principled Romantic Relationships

stan tatkin Sep 14, 2022

By Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT

Originally published in Science of Psychotherapy, July 2022


Introduction

As a couple therapist, I struggle with partners every day who seem primarily to follow their feelings and emotions when attempting to govern each other. These couples exist without a shared, co-created relationship architecture, ethos, purpose, or vision that would otherwise guide them. No other union would form in this manner, for people generally unionize around a common purpose and vision that binds them, focuses them, and overrides their differences.

Often people form alliances because they must for survival of all kinds — physical, economic, spiritual, psychological, and cultural. Professional entities, such as a sports team, an actor troupe, a musical group, or a business partnership form collaborations in order to gain something. Still others will create limited alliances for trade and commerce. Some workers are forced by circumstance, as in a dangerous job, to have...

Continue Reading...

How Mentor Couples Look at Commitment

By Claire Isaacson, MA LMHC PLLC
PACT Level 2 Therapist

I have been a therapist for over 30 years, and I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard my individual clients wonder if it’s even possible for a romantic relationship to last. 

They look around and see relationships on the brink, under strain, marked by tension and dashed dreams. And if they come from a family where there was divorce or infidelity, they feel even more doubtful. It can be hard to think of a couple they look up to, learn from, or feel calmed or inspired by. They don’t see couples that give them hope. Maybe you don’t either. 

We all need to see, in real life, mentor couples, couples who give us hope. One of the many things I love about PACT is that it provides a structure to grow ourselves into mentor couples. And that’s good for all of us.

I have been married for a bit longer than I have been a therapist, and my husband is also a therapist. We have a solid, happy...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.