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 to do this is by being neurobiologically informed.”

Ellen Boeder, MA, LPC

Boulder, Colorado

"PACT deeply resonates for me as a practitioner and as a wife and mother. Getting certified was the culmination of many years of training with Stan. I felt like I was finally developing an embodied understanding of PACT."

Advice for new couples therapists? “Couples therapy is a dynamic, engaging, and fascinating challenge, and can also feel stressful, activating, and frustrating. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to have specific training in working with couples in order to truly help couples and also make the work more sustainable and enjoyable. So find exceptional practitioners to train with and to support you – and, of course, the PACT Institute is a great place for both.”

If I could have one superpower…? “Just one?! I would love to be able to beam myself and my family to places all over the world, whenever we want – like the African jungle, the Caribbean, or the Alaskan tundra. There are so many places in nature and in the world I'd love to travel to and experience with them!

Debra Campbell, LMFT

Dallas, Texas

Advice for new couples therapists? "Getting certified was a growth experience! This is a complicated method that addresses the complexity of the couple, so it takes time to master. I would recommend being patient with yourself and reading in the areas that you don’t feel strong in, such as attachment theory, neuroscience, etc. Consider taking each level twice because you catch new things and the method is evolving. Build your PACT community by making friends in training, creating a case consultation group, and attending Stan’s case consultations. Being a teaching assistant at the trainings also helps solidify and consolidate material."

If I could have one superpower…? “Mind reading, for obvious reasons. It would be interesting to see exactly how others think and experience life from an entirely different perspective.


Joy A. Dryer, PhD in Clinical Psychology

New York, New York

“PACT Certification has been a lot of fun. You do need to be committed since the process takes time, effort, and financial resources. I wanted to complete Certification to become a PACT expert and to write, teach, and spread the word about PACT’s effectiveness.”

Advice for new couples therapists? “Become part of a PACT community. Attend labs. Take notes on your own couples and review their videos.”

If I could have one superpower…? “I'd choose to supply every human with an altruism gene. Thus how we live in community will be founded on the well-being of all. Oh. And, accepting one’s mortality will help each of us live deeper, broader, ‘better’ lives.


Melissa Ferrari, Diploma of Counseling & Communication, Advanced Diploma in Transactional Analysis (Psychotherapy)

Sydney, Australia

“PACT has made a profound difference in how I practice with couples. It has given me the skill and confidence to work with the most difficult couples. The PACT Certification process created for me the opportunity to look very closely at how I worked with couples…. Just keep showing up for supervision and training while understanding the skill required to work with couples can take some time to develop. Being a couple therapist can be very challenging at times so make sure you build your community of support.”

If I could have one superpower…? “I'd want to help people choose a partner with the understanding that this person you choose to spend life with will sometimes disappoint you, hurt you, and let you down, as we are all so perfectly imperfect!


Morgan Hart, MSW, LCSW

Berkeley, California

Why PACT Certification? “To establish a cohort with other serious PACT clinicians who share an interest in becoming leaders in the field. To be part of a supportive community that encourages each of us to continue to explore how to use our personal experience, strengths, and knowledge to develop our unique approach to implementing the PACT model. To be part of an enthusiastic and dynamic group that encourages creativity and supports the development and sharing of unique ideas.

Advice for new couples therapists? “Make sure you get good training in a model that resonates with you. I am partial to the PACT approach because it provides a deep and solid framework for couple therapy, and once you understand and become skilled in the model, there is ample opportunity for creativity and to make it your own. Seek regular consultation with a seasoned couple therapist and/or PACT instructors, as well as with peers.”

If I could have one superpower…? I would love to fly, to travel without limitations, explore the world, and to be able to spend time with friends and family whenever I choose.”


Allison Howe, LMHC, MA, EdM, Counseling Psychology

Saratoga Springs, New York

“Working with couples means we work with a system. While all of your knowledge, skills, and experience are required in the role, this is a unique modality and requires specialized training… The PACT Certification experience was a six-month process which represents a fraction of the actual time spent learning and training in PACT… It’s so helpful to have support as you start out and being part of a learning community like PACT can help. So many therapists refrain from seeing couples, but the work can be both compelling and rewarding if you are well trained.”

If I could have one superpower…? “I always dreamed of being like Samantha on the 1960s TV sitcom, ‘Bewitched.’ In a blink of an eye, she could leave one location and then arrive at another.”


Lee Kraemer, BA, CTP

Toronto, Canada

“I loved Stan's eclectic approach to adult relationships, and quickly adopted it as my go-to practice with couples. PACT even inspired me to switch my practice from individuals to couples and reinvigorated my passion for this work. Go for PACT – you never get stuck in searching for a cycle or dynamic or trying to discover what stage you are at in the therapy.”

If I could have one superpower…? “I'd make the world a better place by instilling in everyone a strong moral compass, compassion for others, sensitivity, and a generosity of spirit.”


Margaret Martin, LCSW

Austin, Texas

“[PACT Certification] recognizes my efforts and dedication.... I felt very connected to other members of the certification cohort. Many of us trained together over the years. I love the strong community we created together and that we see each other as a source of mutual support and consultation.”

Advice for new couples therapists? “It's a long list, but all doable. Get trained in PACT; seek out/create a peer community of therapists learning the same model; find someone who is several steps ahead of you in the model and get support and consultation; read about object relations, attachment, defenses, and interpersonal neurobiology; start recording your sessions and spend a few minutes each week watching part of a session. Do your own therapy and be aware of your own countertransference. Remember that you don't have to know all the jargon about any of the above to understand it and use it. Practice. Make many mistakes.”

If I could have one superpower…? “Just one? To always know the right thing to say or do, regardless of the situation.”


Beth O’Brien, PhD in Counseling Psychology

Fort Collins, Colorado

“PACT Certification provides an up-close and experiential training with Stan and Hans. Meeting with fellow PACT therapists was wonderful, and we became a supportive team through the process."

Advice for new couples therapists? “Be sure that working with couples is rewarding and fun for you. Consult with a Level 3 or Certified PACT therapist on an ongoing basis for added support. Join a PACT consultation group to further your education and training and build your network.”

If I could have one superpower…? “Teleportation: the ability to transport instantly to other places. My family adores traveling and having outdoor adventures. I wish I could arrive at my favorite travel sites right away, perhaps on a daily basis.”

Julie Rappaport, MA, LPC

Boulder, Colorado

"I wanted to become PACT Certified to be able to teach the material to others – as a way not only to give back but also to deepen my own knowledge of the PACT model."

Advice for new couples therapists? “Build upon your knowledge year after year and deepen your understanding of couple dynamics as well as your own clinical skills. Also, seek out case supervision.”

If I could have one superpower…? “I'd like to be able to breathe underwater and fly. I would love to be able to be at the bottom of the ocean with all the different marine life, and I have had dreams of flying and it was magical, and I think it comes close to being in the Spirit realm and feeling unencumbered.”


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