Lost Your Spark? How to Reignite Your Love

caelen cann for couples Nov 18, 2020

By Caelen S. Cann, MA, LPC, LAC, ADS

PACT Level 3 Candidate, PACT Ambassador


A couple new to me, Kristin and Dan, are sitting in my office. This is their first session, and from what they have presented thus far, their relationship isn’t on fire. “Why are you two seeking couple counseling now?” is a typical question I ask. There’s a long pause, and finally Kristin looks over at Dan and with a shrug states, “Well, it’s just boring. We used to be madly in love and now, after 15 years, it just feels like the fire is gone.” Dan nods in agreement.

There are many reasons for this. And while partners may blame each other for their lack of excitement, other forces are at play that are not so personal. For example, part of what couples may not realize is that some of the “boring” feelings come from the automated part of the brain.

As we go through our day, our brains are constantly on the go — taking in information, getting us from...

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Protecting Your Relationship from Racism

By Annie Chen, LMFT

PACT Level 2 Therapist


As society shines a light on the injustice and racism that persists within its ranks in the last few months, it's time to take a look at what you can do about racism within the context of committed partnership.

Does societal racism negatively affect your relationship? It very well might, especially if one or both of you identify as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color (BIPOC). In this article, I use racism as a catch-all term for any number of denigrating and/or defeating insults toward BIPOC, including but not limited to racial slurs, scapegoatingsystemic discriminationcultural appropriation, colorismmicroaggressionsimplicit bias, and structural inequality

Not knowing when you could be subjected to a negative or fatal experience because of your race creates chronic stress and hypervigilance. It's the mind and body's way of being prepared for something bad. Living under racist conditions...

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Collaboration in the Co-Parenting Partnership

By Aurisha Smolarski, MA, LMFT 

PACT Level 2 Therapist
www.aurishasmolarski.com


 No one said parenting was easy, let alone co-parenting with an ex.

Learning how to co-parent is complicated. It’s a partnership full of emotional undertones and adjustments. Being divorced or separated and having to juggle the co-parenting realities adds layers of coordination and factors to consider.  

Personal and romantic priorities shift, as do the feelings and perceptions about your parenting partner. One thing remains unchanged: a responsibility to ensure that each of your children feels safe and can thrive within the changes and new situations they encounter. 

Experiencing divorce and living in two homes are difficult enough for a child, but it’s the way in which the parents handle their divorce and work together on behalf of the child that creates long-term impact.

A break in the family structure can be incredibly destabilizing for a child. The transition...

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Cultivating Your Couple Bubble

By Margaret Martin, LCSW

PACT Level 3 Candidate, PACT Ambassador

margaretmartinlcsw.com


In a healthy romantic relationship partners create safety and security with each other. Partners have each other’s backs and the folks around them see that they have each other’s backs. In PACT we refer to this as the couple bubble. We support couples in building a secure functioning relationship and in developing a couple bubble that supports secure functioning.

A couple’s mutual agreements, shared vision of relationship, and the way they navigate life together form the foundation of the couple bubble. Although the couple bubble evolves over time, in a healthy relationship the development begins early. Even in a budding romance partners create the genesis for their bubble when they quickly repair a hurt and take each other´s distress seriously.

The roles and expectations partners have for each other change as they move from a dating relationship to a more committed...

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Creating Relational Safety Under Survival Conditions, Part I

By Debra Campbell, MS, LMFT

PACT Level 3 Candidate, PACT Ambassador


Everything is the same, yet nothing is the same. The question of what constitutes acceptable exposure risk to COVID-19 is being debated around the globe. With new medical findings and recommendations emerging daily, how are couples to discern and agree on what constitutes acceptable risk for their families? 

Much like our current circumstances, couples often grapple with reconciling differing opinions, which can feel very unsafe. Enter PACT couples counseling – a style of couples therapy designed to create relational safety, even under the most stressful conditions. Safety issues often originate from a lack of shared principles and people’s inability to successfully put those principles into operation.

In PACT, we believe relationships must be just, fair, kind, mutual, and sensitive for partners to feel safe. While we all want to feel safe in our relationships, we often struggle to provide the very...

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Staying Connected Despite Your COVID-Cancelled Wedding

by Susan Stork, LCPC, NCC

PACT Level 2 Therapist, PACT Ambassador

www.spacebetweencounselingservices.com/


Many once soon-to-be-married couples have had their wedding plans altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You booked your venue, hotel, caterer, and entertainment – and likely spent countless hours and copious amounts of money in the process. Now you’re faced with making a decision with only unfavorable options: do you cancel or postpone the wedding, or do you potentially risk the health of your beloved guests?

Perhaps you’re one of countless couples who have had to reschedule or cancel your dream ceremony and reception. Travel for out-of-town guests and honeymoon have turned into a distant fantasy. Even the closing of some courthouses has made it seem impossible to legally tie the knot.

It’s only natural for couples stuck in limbo to feel disappointed or cheated that the celebration of your union has been indefinitely pushed back on an uncertain timeline....

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Beyond the Valentine Chocolates and Roses: Creating a Long-Lasting Relationship

Clinton Power

PACT Level 2 Therapist, PACT Ambassador
clintonpower.com.au


Some people want chocolates and roses for Valentine's Day, but it's not the small (or big) romantic gestures on special occasions that lead to relationship success. To go from an initial date to a long-term relationship you need to look for qualities in a potential mate that make you feel safe and open with that other person. What you may not know is that these traits can lead you in the direction of developing a secure-functioning relationship.

What is a secure-functioning relationship?

A term coined by PACT co-founder Dr. Stan Tatkin, a secure-functioning relationship is an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. You and your partner are taking on the world together. You protect each other from the threats of the external, the outside world, and from the internal, each other. A secure functioning relationship acknowledges and celebrates...

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Relationship Resolutions: A New Spark for the New Year

By Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC

PACT Level 2 Therapist
https://www.baltimorecounselor.com


Every new year brings new and renewed resolutions and commitments to our work, school, family, and self. We are excited by the thought of what this year can bring. Frequently, we wonder about what new possibilities and opportunities will arise in 2020. As we reflect on our lives, we reflect on our relationships, too.

Some people begin the new year with a new attitude of hope: “Today’s a new day. I am not letting the past hold us back. This year we don’t need to keep repeating all of the old patterns. This year we don’t need to keep waiting for something to change; something can change.”  The new year begins to reignite long-held hopes and dreams. When people talk about new resolutions and new beginnings, they start believing that this is the year when things can and will be different.

Other people have wishes to meet the “one” this year or a desire...

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The PACT Institute: Growing with You in 2020 and Beyond

Dear PACT Community,

Happy 2020! Here at the PACT Institute we wanted to take this opportunity – as we enter a new decade – to share with you the vision we hold for the Institute in 2020 and beyond.

Our goal is to create a global and sustainable organization. In the last year, Stan, Tracey, the faculty, and our administrative team have worked hard to lay the foundation so that goal becomes a reality.

One of our biggest challenges at the Institute is meeting the increasing demand for training. As a businessperson – I admit – this is a problem I love having! We are meeting that challenge in a number of ways: a new website, new course offerings, and new ways to engage with the Institute.

At the heart of the Institute’s expansion efforts was updating to a new, more user-friendly website. The new site will be our gateway to even more training and educational opportunities in the future. Both the professional clinician and non-professional who is seeking...

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Communication 101: Listen and Understand, Part 2

By Kara Hoppe, MA, LMFT

PACT Level 2 Therapist

karahoppe.com


Couples have a seemingly universal ask when they first reach out for therapy: each couple, no matter their specific struggle, is on the hunt for solid communication tools. This makes sense. Communication is a crucial part of how we connect with each other. We are wired for connection.

In my September blog post, I offered some deceptively simple tips on how partners can better communicate with each other by speaking clearly, kindly, and directly. I’m now back with part 2: effective tools to help us all tighten up our listening skills. 

We long to be heard, seen, and understood by the people closest to our hearts, but finding connection through communication can get a bit tricky.  Becoming a Jedi-level listener takes practice and intention. We need to learn to be present with our own discomfort.

Contrary to popular belief, being a good listener is a learned skill, not our natural tendency. We tend...

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