TU121: Redefining the Purpose of Relationships During Quarantine with Stan Tatkin

by | May 8, 2020 | Brain Science, COVID-19, Episodes, Guest Interviews, Personal Growth, Relationships

Show Notes

With the tsunami of unclear and contradictory yet potentially life-threatening information coming at us right now in quaratine – it's no wonder there is so much conflict within groups that are/were quarantining together. Reasonable people can interpret the suggestions very differently, in this episode we go into how to navigate how to manage right now.

Why Stan Tatkin?

Stan Tatkin was one of as the first guests on the Therapist Uncensored Podcast and is so awesome, we are bringing him back for a second interview. (Listen to the first episode here.)He is one of the best translators of the science to application in the real world, so we really want to connect our audience with him. He's has a wealth of resources for ya!

See full bio below.

Bringing security to your partnerships during COVID-19 – today’s episode

During this Coronavirus pandemic, the existential threat is more apparent and strain within a couple starts to become more apparent.

Partners are faced with understanding the goals of their relationship and whether or not they are moving in the right direction. Reasons to be together beyond loving each other and having children together.

Many have been faced with breakups, running away, move in, or getting married during this existential time.

Having an understanding that there is always an existential threat every day but we are being faced with it more closely during this time.

Automation – getting off auto-pilot.

Before and during the pandemic our partnered relationships have been on auto-pilot where “you know your partner,” react out of memory/trauma, or take your relationship for granted.

PACT – Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy 

Homosapiens by nature are aggressive, war-like, comparing, and opportunistic and are being flighty because of the pandemic.

How do pair-bound all of the time and not when things are going wrong/when we need more safety?

By nature, we are pack animals and are built to be interdependent and have a shared purpose with a partner. (Ex: survive and thrive)

With your partner, create an agreement, a culture, and a shared vision and purpose for being together.

Love is not enough

Emotions can fluctuate. A state of purpose and a goal is what can remain consistent in a partnership.

Insecure model – “It’s my way or the highway,” where the individual is “pro-self” not “pro-relationship.”

With attachment, we take the injustices and take them to our future relationships.

Every couple has a duty to design their own ethos and culture, to layout ground rules of “what we do and don't do.”

Examples: “We protect each other. Our relationship always comes first. We support each other to perform well but not at the cost of the relationship. We are always working towards bringing peace and harmony to the relationship.”

Partners who do not agree on core values and will continue to disassociate.

Mature long-running relationships that will last a lifetime where partners vow to operate from principles of fairness, justice, sensitivity, cooperation, creating win-win outcomes where they move together towards the same goal.

Be collaborative about an issue or creating a new goal together to be on the same page on thoughts and feelings. Sue and Stan provide conversation examples of how that can be accomplished.

Commitment (the C-word)

Committing to making the partnership as successful as possible.

People who are threatened will create threats.

Single security about understanding what each individual feels, self-correct and approach from a friendly way to resolve the conflict. Only one needs to remember to self-correct to move towards resolution and the other will follow.

Co-regulation – having each partner be active towards regulating each other to shift towards taking care of each other.

Pay to play

In adulthood, there is conditional love, which makes us more accountable for each other.

The couple and the principles are the guiding light on where to go.

During this pandemic time, is a good time to think about your life purpose with your primary partner and your loved ones.

Knowing that our time is limited and being present with your loved ones. Guiding principles of secure functioning to thinking about your life meaning and purpose to overcome these threats.



Additional resources for this episode:


Stan Tatkin’s Bio:

Clinician, author, PACT developer, and co-founder of the PACT Institute, Dr. Stan Tatkin teaches at UCLA, maintains a private practice in Southern California, and leads PACT programs in the US and internationally. He is the author Wired for Dating, Wired for Love, Your Brain on Love, and co-author of Love and War in Intimate Relationships. Dr. Stan Tatkin is on the board of directors of Lifespan Learning Institute and serves as an advisory board member of Relationships First, a nonprofit organization founded by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.


Our course on Attachment and NeuroscienceIt's Not Me It's My Amygdala, is now available to everyone! Four (!) hours of curated content on modern attachment and healing. It is designed for anyone wanting to deepen security in themselves or those close to you (CE's available for clinicians). You've been interested enough to listen and dig into the shownotes, so you are are people and we are yours. Get 10% of the course with code: OURCLAN. 🙂



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