Five Commands to Make Partners Feel Loved in the New Year

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Therapist Stan Tatkin, founder of the PACT Institute, recommends a counter-intuitive approach to communications for couples.

Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin and Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, founded the PACT Institute for couple therapy together.

Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin and Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, founded the PACT Institute for couple therapy together.

“The word command here is not meant to be the same as demand," explained Stan Tatkin. "On the contrary, commands are much easier on the other person's nervous system and brain than something like, ‘Why don't you ever kiss me?’ or ‘Can’t you stay longer?'"

The holidays can be an especially stressful time for relationships. Couple Therapist Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, has developed PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy®) – a unique approach to couple therapy that quickly and effectively helps partners establish secure-functioning relationships. The PACT methodology was developed as a result of 30 years of clinical research in neuroscience, attachment theory and the biology of human arousal. Among PACT’s many novel and sometimes counterintuitive understandings of relationship therapy is the recommendation that couples use commands when communicating with one another.

“The word command here is not meant to be the same as demand. On the contrary, commands are much easier on the other person's nervous system and brain than something like, ‘Why don't you ever kiss me?’ or ‘Can’t you stay longer?’ The latter two questions demand many more resources on the other person than a simple command,” Tatkin explained.

Tatkin suggested couples try the following five commands with one another:

1.    “Come, give me a kiss.”
2.    “Sit, so I can tell you how much I love you.”
3.    “Go. Do what you have to do, so you can come home soon and we can be together.”
4.    “Stop, so I can look at your beautiful face.”
5.    “Stay, so we can spend as much time together as possible before you have to leave.”

Tatkin, who co-founded the PACT Institute with his wife Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin, trains therapists and counselors around the world to help them help partners regular each other’s emotions; maintain secure bonds; and foster positive, enduring relationships.

Tatkin advises couples to consider integrating commands, which can include words such as, “come,” “go,” “stop,” “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” into their day-to-day correspondence with one another. Commands should always be used in a congenial manner, potentially with a touch of humor, to help a partner express his or her wants and needs. Commands can be woven into conversations to help couples influence, seduce, or persuade one another without the harshness or forcefulness of a demand or the uncertainty of positioning a need as an open-ended question.

“Of course, it would be nice if partners used commands with one another every day of the year,” said Dr. Tatkin. “But it is even more important that partners take care of each other during the stressful holiday season and put their relationships first before all other matters.”

Tatkin is offering a one-day introductory workshop in PACT methodology to a sold-out room of licensed and pre-licensed marriage and family therapists, as well as social workers, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10, at Birch Family Services in New York City. To learn about the PACT methodology and upcoming workshops in Spain, Denver, Los Angeles and more, visit thepactinstitute.com.

About the PACT Institute
PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) is a fusion of developmental neuroscience, attachment theory and arousal regulation. PACT, which was founded by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, provides a cutting edge, highly effective approach to couple therapy that is quickly gaining a reputation for treating even the most challenging relationships. PACT strives to positively influence the growth of secure-functioning relationships globally and to reinvigorate the couple therapy profession with a fun approach to therapy, which is enjoyable for therapists to learn and fun to practice.

Tatkin is affiliated with the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine’s Department of Family Medicine and has a private practice in Calabasas, CA. He and his wife Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin founded the PACT Institute together – through which they lead therapist training programs in major cities across the United States and around the world.

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Katie LeChase
Co-Communications, Inc.
+1 (212) 481-4540
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