PACT – Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy

Relationships aren’t easy. Not only do you have to dedicate time and energy to your significant other, but you also have to balance it with the stressors of your life, the stressors of their life, and the knowledge that you are each bringing unique life experiences to the table. These stressors and unique experiences complicate the way you react to life and each other. When it all becomes too much, some couples seek couples therapy to help them weed through all of the complicated issues. The best therapies are those that consider the underlying psychological and biological issues that are at play within every human. That’s why the PACT method of couples therapy is so effective at helping couples thrive.

A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT), developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, is a fusion of attachment theory, developmental neuroscience, and arousal regulation. Due to its unique style and 3-pronged approach, PACT has a reputation for effectively treating the most challenging issues many couples face.

The three tenets of the PACT method are well researched and help to explain why many couples have problems in their relationships.


The study of the human brain. By understanding how the brain works, we can better understand how people react to love, security, attachment danger or stress. Learning about how the brain functions will let us see why we behave the way we do.

Attachment Theory:

This gold standard in child psychology has been recently extrapolated to help explain the way adults navigate through relationships. Attachment theory helps to explain the biological need to bond with others and how early experiences with caregivers create a blueprint that people utilize in adult relationships. If a person hasn’t felt well cared for as a child, they can have issues being in healthy relationships as adults.

The biology of human arousal:

This scientific area of study helps to understand and regulate the moment-to-moment ability to manage one’s energy, alertness, and readiness to engage. Having a sense of how you handle and react to moments of stress or excitement can help you become more successful in your relationship.

These areas of science work together to provide couples with the knowledge of why relationship problems happen and how they can work within themselves to fix them.

PACT therapy is unique for other reasons as well. A typical therapy session can last up to 6 hours, allowing participants to work on issues in a more in-depth manner. There is also close attention paid to shifts in face, body, and voice, to teach participants to better regulate their emotions. This hard work often pays off quickly; PACT often requires fewer sessions as compared to other forms of therapy to achieve results.

Providing couples with the knowledge that some of their relationship problems stem from biological and psychological conditions often brings them comfort and helps them navigate everyday stressors in a more productive manner. PACT helps couples work towards healthy, fruitful relationship that’s built on trust. And after all, isn’t that worth a little work?

Couples Counseling Boulder by Therapist Christy Weller, Psy.D. Also specializing in Psychotherapy and Psychological Assessment Services.