Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

Couples therapy or Marriage Counseling is for couples who are in a relationship, married or not. Couple therapy is different from individual therapy in a number of ways. While individual therapy clearly focuses on the individual and the constellation of family of origin relationships around him/her, PACT® couple therapy focuses on the couple as the sole Unit, and how they primarily interact with each other.  A couple must learn to be in each-others care before being able to take care of others such as children and family as well as social and professional obligations. With the PACT® model, individual work is conducted during the actual couple session as necessary. 

Dr. Aiello is a Level 2 PACT® trained therapist

PACT® is “A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT), developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin. PACT® is a fusion of attachment theory, developmental neuroscience, and arousal regulation and has a solid reputation for effectively treating even the most challenging couples.”

The PACT® model focuses on three principles to treatment all integrating the following in a non-linear, psychoeducational and interactive fashion that is enlightening, non-judgmental and highly effective. It can also be a lot of fun!

What is the PACT® Approach to Couple Therapy?

The Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy® is a cohesive approach derived from research in three areas: developmental neuroscience, attachment theory, and arousal regulation. … Experiences in early relationships create a blueprint that informs the sense of safety and security adult partners bring to relationships.

The Three Domains in PACT® are:

#1 Pact Domain: Developmental Neuroscience

From birth to adulthood, we form patterns of behavior in our primary caregiver environment. PACT® is primarily interested in the parts of the brain responsible for emotional and social function. PACT® therapists understand that it is really the primitive, implicit, and nonverbal parts of the brain––and not the more formal, cognitive, speaking parts––that run the show in adult primary attachment relationships.

#2 Pact Domain: Attachment Theory

Also known as affect regulation, arousal regulation refers to the autonomic nervous system that helps us regulate our moods and emotional natures. In the PACT® model, there are two nervous systems in the treatment room the therapist tracks through micro-movements and expressions in the body and face, and uses the data to glean insights into therapeutic strategies that will be most beneficial to secure functioning. A PACT® therapist knows how to use their body, face, voice, eyes, and energy to affect arousal states in each partner individually and as a whole. Couples will learn how to soothe themselves and each other using active therapeutic interventions meant to bring the couple to a more secure functioning stance.

#1 Pact Domain: Arousal regulation

Couples will understand their attachment organization from their childhood family of origin and how it became a template for their present attachment style with their partner. The three main attachment types are Secure (Anchors), Avoidant (Islands), or Angry Resistant (Waves). Couples will be formally assessed, and interventions will be incorporated into the treatment to help couples no matter what conflicts presented in the treatment room.

The initial session is typically 2-3 hours long with subsequent sessions normally 1.5 to 2 hours. In those intensive, educational, and interactive sessions, couples will begin to understand their affective deficits and with practice, utilize new interventions and tools for better communication and intimacy. Even the most dysregulated couples will learn how to take care of each other.

Dr. Angela Aiello Psychotherapist - Therapy That Heals
Dr. Angela Aiello, LMFT
License #45128

If you’re struggling with challenges such as depression, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, grief, addictions, stresses from COVID-19, substance abuse, spiritual issues, or personality disorders, perhaps you will allow me to help as your psychotherapist. I work with individuals, adolescents, couples, and families of all faiths and sexual orientations. 

Dr Aiello is a Member -CAMFT-APA


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Visit my Office in Topanga Canyon, CA or enjoy Teletherapy from the comfort of your home, office, or anywhere.

(310) 913-2879
On-line Therapy for everyone

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Dr. Aiello Uses Zoom Video Conferencing for Teletherapy