Stan Tatkin’s neurobiological approach to couples work is utterly useful, fascinating, and personally gratifying to use in the office –and at home 😊. Here’s an article by Jeff Pincus that describes why attaching to someone is complex.
“Emotional development doesn’t happen in isolation. The entire field of psychotherapy rests upon the premise that one human being can help another to move beyond vestigial strategies developed in the context of the distant past and to live life in a way that is less encumbered by personal history. We consider this to be emotional or psychological growth. Part of the blessing of being human is that this process can be ongoing as we learn, grow, and continue to develop across our entire lifespan. ” In other words, our ability to attach to another is complex. And why we can or can’t has reasons.
As a PACT therapist, PACT trainer, and husband who continues to put PACT principles to the test in my own marriage, I have been awed by the acceleration of development and maturation that occurs within a committed partnership when both parties co-create a foundation of secure functioning. This is the bedrock that PACT helps couples stand upon, and that supports a resurgence of development where there has been regression, idleness, and apathy….
…When our safety and security are perceived to be at risk, our attention and behaviors are dominated by the tasks of mobilizing away from threat (fleeing), subduing danger (fighting), or shutting down (collapse). When processes organized around the drive for survival consume a relationship, couples stay in an immature state where there is no room for practicing….
….Secure functioning both requires and facilitates each partner to develop emotionally, take pro-relationship risks with each other, and be collaborative…
…During a session, (Pact therapists) may direct them to reach out even when their instinctual impulse is to withdraw, to maintain eye contact when the habitual tendency is to gaze avert, or to say something loving when the reflex is to attack or defend.
Through such practicing, each member of the dyad risks shedding old, primitive defenses to become a more resilient and robust adult. Each takes greater responsibility for the current state of the relationship, and for moving it forward toward deeper satisfaction. This is truedifferentiation. PACT therapy helps couples become their best adult selves in a relationship where growth and personal development are a natural outcome of love and commitment.” ~Jeff Pincus, PACT Therapist