One of the many gifts of working with couples from a PACT perspective (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy), is that couples learn to be better attuned to each other in the here-and-now, and to always put their relationship first. Secure functioning couples can argue about the very difficult problems they face without being a threat to each other; and without threatening the relationship. Here are some of the many aspects I address with my couples:
- Create a mutually beneficial couple agreement: What are the new rules of engagement you guys choose to abide by? Are you both willing and committed to anchor your relationships in principles of fairness, balance, justice and mutual respect? And if not, what prevents you guy to do so?
- Management of thirds: What are the “thirds” which create conflicts between the two of you, and jeopardize the safety of your relationship? Are the kids, the in-laws, the ex’s, work, co-workers, drugs and/or alcohol, technology, tv watching, etc.) contributing in making your relationship less secure?
- Teach you both to better hear and read the verbal and non-verbal signals you each send to each other: What are the things you both do individually, or as a team, which contribute in fueling the fire of conflicts? Is one of you constantly threatening the relationships, making snarky comments when you don’t like what your partner says, avoiding to talk about difficult subjects, or withholding important information from your partner?
- Ask for help in periods of stress: Are you guys willing and able to co-regulate each other in periods of stress and vulnerability? Or to the contrary, do you guys revert to your old patterns of self-regulation (isolation, withdrawal, numbing, etc) and external-regulation (keeping busy and looking outside of the relationship for what is missing inside)?
When working with your couple, I am committed to:
- Help you better understand how your emotions and psychological states of mind can drastically shift, sometimes within seconds, leading you guys from feeling content, and emotionally connected to each other, to feeling annoyed, angry, sad, judgmental or disconnected; and what to do in these difficult, painful and stressful situations to repair your relationship and connection.
- Empower you both to identify, and to change each other’s emotional and mental state when you are stressed-out, having an argument, or are “fighting”; so that these states don’t have to last hours, or days on end, and hijack your relationship.
- Teach you how to control and modulate the connection with your significant other, and everyone else you come in contact with, so that your relationship always remain safe base.
- Coach you preserve the connection and intimacy, the romance, sexuality, and all of the other great attributes that make your partnership so special to the two of you.
If you guys are willing to learn and implement the necessary skills to navigate the inevitable challenges that come with all relationships, I am committed to help you get there. When we have a secure functioning relationship, we thrive!
“In average, a couple will wait six years between the time they acknowledge that there are significant problems with the relationship, and the time they begin therapy. Imagine all of the misunderstandings crisis, conflicts and pain that will compound the initial problems during these six years. How much more difficult will it be for this “average couple” to heal the past, integrate new skills on how to relate to each other, honor differences and rekindle intimacy?” — John Gottman, Ph.D.