Tatkin Talks PACT Process for Couples

Introduction to the PACT Experience from Stan Tatkin on Vimeo.

This is an excellent primer on what PACT therapists do and how it can transform a couple's relationship.


The 'Decisive' Marriage just ran an excellent post about research suggesting that couples who practice making decisions together - when to move in, when to get married, how to choose a place-setting - seem to have better skills that last them throughout their marriages.

While the finding may seem obvious, the reality is that many couples avoid real decision-making. Many couples living together, for instance, did not sit down and talk about cohabitation. Often one partner had begun spending more time at the other’s home, or a lease expired, forcing the couple to formalize a living arrangement.

Read the whole piece here.


SIL is 'Clueless' About My Infertility?

This week's Murphy's Love column addressed a pretty interesting question - what to do when someone close to you acts cluelessly regarding a private, personal struggle you are having. The writer calls her sister-in-law "clueless" about her own infertility struggle, but that label seems unfair. The writer has not shared this information with SIL, so her behavior is happening without the benefit of that extra information. We all have done this - holding someone accountable for behavior despite a lack of deep understanding. Yes, the SIL's happiness about her own pregnancy is a tough pill to swallow while our writer experiences infertility - but we can't hold her accountable for acting insensitively if we don't give her the information required to make the choice to be insensitive in the first place. Read my response and the whole article here.


Who Sees the Therapist?

My most recent Murphy's Love column for the Georgetowner newspaper opened the discussion on the age old question (at least it's age-old to me, a couples counselor) of "if she's the problem, why do I have to go to couples therapy?"

It's true, there is usually a "drag-er" and a "drag-ee" when a couple first comes to my office. The drag-er often researches the therapist, makes the appointment, and sometimes tries to do the talking in the session. The drag-ee may be angry, or just frustrated that s/he is being made to feel like the "identified patient." But rest assured, by the end of the first session, things become a bit more balanced. And it's not because I work to show the couple how both of them are "the problem." Quite the contrary. My work is to protect the relationship space between them, so they can start operating like a team again. We don't do that by placing blame about who got us where and when. Rather, we work to rebuild the trust between the two people.

From a new foundation of trust and support, it's easier to notice weak spots and work together to repair them. Being shamed into getting help is never going to work. As I write in this column, "no one ever got better when her spouse responded to her loneliness by saying, 'Go get yourself some help, I’m buying.'" Real help, real change, real growth only happens when both people make it safe to talk about the areas that need some extra attention. You can read my column here.


Talk Too Much, or Too Little?

My June advice columns for the Georgetowner newspaper gave me the chance to talk about when we might be talking too much or talking too little about ourselves. The "too much" example came from a coworker struggling with her cube-mate's ongoing dialogue about her impending divorce. The reader had heard about as much as she could on the topic, and was worried about coming across as cruel when she asked for less info (you can read my response here). The other addresses a reader's concerns that her storied past will haunt her new relationship, where she is afraid of revealing too much (check out my opinion here).