I’ve been working with NYC area individuals and couples for over 30 years. Couples I see are married, unmarried, newly or long-time partnered, straight or LGBT. I help partners deepen connection where there has been distance and despair and facilitate change even where relationships feel most stuck.
My basic framework for helping couples achieve their goals is PACT: A Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy ®. Developed by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, PACT draws on our vastly-increased understanding of how brains work in relationships, and of the functioning of the human attachment system. The latter is our hard-wired way of seeking safety and security in relationships, a drive experienced most intensely between parent and child and later between partners in a couple.
In a PACT session you will come to understand how the imprint of your early attachment experiences is affecting you and your partner’s experiences—mostly unconscious—of one another. You will learn how to use body-based skills to read yourself and your partner expertly, and how to apply this information to resolve even your greatest disagreements within the bounds of secure connection. You’ll become skilled at resolving those long-standing conflicts in ways that feel fair and safe to both of you. When you’ve learned how to relate securely, you can deal with ambivalence and talk about issues you feared were untouchable.
It’s not unusual for couples to arrive feeling that the relationship on which they’ve pinned their hopes and future has become a minefield of hurt and disappointment. Many are stuck in repeating arguments—money, kids, in-laws, sex, division of labor, and the like—from which there seems to be no exit. Some have experienced betrayals. Often true intimacy feels beyond reach. It’s been a joy to watch these couples discover new possibilities working within the PACT model. In PACT sessions you and your partner will gain the understanding and tools to feel deeply and securely connected to one another, perhaps for the first time.
Because body-based and attachment-related information take time to unfold, PACT sessions are generally longer than the standard therapeutic hour: an hour and a half to two hours is typical. An introductory session will likely be longer. Most couples find that the PACT approach is worth the extra investment, producing a depth of change not possible with talk therapy alone, often in less time.