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ERP 107: How To Prioritize Relationship With Stan Tatkin [Transcript]

ERP 107: How To Prioritize Relationship, With Stan Tatkin

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Welcome to The Empowered Relationship Podcast, helping you turn relationship challenges into opportunities and setting you up for relationship success. Your host, Dr. Jessica Higgins, is a licensed psychologist and relationship coach who shares valuable tips, tools and resources for you to dramatically improve your relationship.

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Hi, thank you for joining today’s podcast episode. Today’s episode is How To Prioritize Relationship, With Stan Tatkin. I’m very excited to share this interview with you today, and to remind us all the intention of the Empowered Relationship Podcast ultimately is to help uplift, strengthen and support relationship, to help inspire, to know it’s possible, to fuel the expansion of intimacy, love, romance, as well as how to feel more prepared, more skillful, and well-equipped to handle the upset that sometimes occurs, where we might feel challenged, where we  might feel triggered, we might feel activated in some way and to feel that we have support around how to do that skillfully, mindfully and thoughtfully.

If you want to participate in the conversation that happens on this podcast (The Empowered Relationship Podcast), the first opportunity is to go to the show notes, which can be found on my website DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Podcast, and you can find today’s episode, 107 – How To Prioritize Relationship, With Stan Tatkin. Or you can just touch the Empowered Relationship logo on your smart device and I believe the show notes will pop up for you there.

You will find a quiz (or a poll, essentially) and an opportunity to contribute to the upcoming topics. If you have a specific wondering about some of the topics I have laid out – I have ten for you – you can pick and choose. You don’t have to respond to everyone, but you can also vote which ones feel more relevant and important to you.

Another opportunity, if you click on Contact on my website, you can submit a question to me directly via e-mail. You can also schedule to perhaps be on the show, receive live laser coaching, knowing that the episode will be aired, that it will support the larger conversation, knowing that we all are in this together, learning from one another.

Okay, let’s get started for today’s episode.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Dr. Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, is a couple therapist known for his pioneering work in helping partners form happy, secure, and long-lasting relationships. His method – called PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy) – draws on principles of neuroscience and teaches partners to become what he terms “secure-functioning.”

Together with his wife, Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin, PhD, Dr. Tatkin founded the PACT Institute to train psychotherapists and other professionals how to incorporate his method into their practices with couples. Therapists from all over the world are being trained in this breakthrough approach.

Dr. Tatkin has a private practice in Calabasas, CA, and is an assistant professor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling WIRED FOR LOVE and WIRED FOR DATING.

Dr. Stan Tatkin, thank you for being on the show. It’s such a great privilege to have you on!

Dr. Stan Tatkin: I am glad to be here with you, thank you.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Thank you! I didn’t mention this, we’ve just talked for a brief moment to get to know each other a little bit, and actually once I graduated out of the PhD program, I had several colleagues that were like “Have you read Wired For Love yet?” and I’m like, “No, I haven’t!” But I’ve got so many people giving me the plug around your work and what you’re doing, and mostly just about what you said, secure functioning. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Secure functioning basically is an idea of being in a relationship that is fully collaborative, fully mutual, and based on justice, fairness and sensitivity. What we’ve got here is we’re mixing attachment theory at this level with social justice theory. We’re talking about the primary (or primal) reasons for a couple to pair bond, and one of those is to assuring each other’s survival. That means that they’re in the foxhole together – they have each other’s backs, they protect each other in public and private, they are the go-to people, they tell each other everything, they’re fully transparent.

This is much like what cop car partners would have to do — actually end up doing, because they have a common interest, a common need for interdependency, and that’s to survive. It’s them against the outside world.

We know in all walks of life, all over the country people form these secure-functioning relationships based on having to help each other survive this life, and that’s what secure functioning is – it is a fully mutual fair and just system.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: That sounds beautiful. And I also know that that’s not always a given…

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Well, it’s never a given. Either nature forces it, because you have bombs raining down on you; you don’t have time to think whether you’re with your soulmate or not… You have to run for cover, you have to protect each other. This idea of survival is very much a part of the mammalian world in terms of protecting each other from predators and from the environment. It is a naturally occurring process, but the environment has to reinforce it, or there has to be some environmental threat in order for people to really understand that life in the world is not a safe endeavor, and that we actually need to be tethered to at least one other person to deal with life’s vicissitudes.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Interesting. So I’m listening to you and I’m almost like, okay, so if there’s not the — I know that many of us do have external environmental threats, but if a couple is not feeling actively threatened in their environment and don’t lean on each other or have to turn to each other and they might not get  tested, therefore maybe not build that trust and that felt experience with their partners – is that possible?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Well, there’s so many factors here – how we were raised, the culture we’re in and what we saw in our families of origin and what we saw with our parents… Is the culture we grew up in one that put relationships first, or is it one that put the self or self interests first? This is not a good or bad thing, it’s not a right or wrong, or healthy/pathologic issue, it has to do with family cultures and where the emphasis is.

If you come from a family where a relationship was not the all-important principle, then you are deemed insecure; in other words, the relationships in the family are such that the child has to adapt and find a way to feel safe and secure. When a child has to do that, that usually leads to certain kinds of behaviors, right? So that’s one.

The other has to do with our culture and the cultural messages that are all around us. Most of them are pretty screwy in terms of biology, like you’ve gotta love yourself before you can love another person – that makes no sense developmentally… But we live a lot by these ideas, and we have romanticism, we have pragmatism, we have all sorts of reasons that people will pair bond and marry, but we’re pretty much rudderless at this point in terms of having a real strong purpose for being together in the long run, in the long term – why do it? What’s the point? What’s the purpose of this? What do partners serve – the relationship, each other, something else? And what do they do for each other you couldn’t pay somebody to do? These are questions we want people to think about as they’re getting into a relationship or are already in a relationship – what’s the point of view? If partners come up with things like “Well, we’re in love”, that’s sweet, but love is transient; feelings and thoughts are transient, and so is our willingness to cooperate, so what then do you have?

Well, it comes down to agreements, it comes down to principles, things that we believe in that will hold us to these ideas even when we don’t feel like it, and we call them shared principles of governance, because we see the couple as the smallest unit of a society operating by rules of social justice, and what they do or don’t do spreads out to the community and to their children… So how are they gonna govern as two separate people with two separate minds, who are gonna feel differently throughout time? What’s gonna hold them together? It’s going to be their beliefs that “We should do this. This is what we do, this is what we don’t do, based on shared principles that work out good for me and you.” Without that, then it’s the wild west, because we’re gonna end up doing what we want to do, and that will be across purposes in terms of supporting or protecting the safety and security system.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Absolutely. I don’t know about you, Stan, and what you’re teaching… I know you train professionals and you also work with couples and you teach at UCLA… In my experience with couples, they don’t typically have these conversations in the beginning or on the front end, and most of the times it’s pain that motivates them [unintelligible 00:11:32.20] then brings them in to get support; then they get directed to perhaps “What are your shared values? What are your shared agreements? What are the principles here that are at play?” and expectations, and all of these things that most of the time they’ve never really took an honest look at together and individually. Is that your experience too, or what do you see typical with couples?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Well, most couples that come in are coming in because they’re in distress. My sample, of course, is tilted towards people already having trouble, but what I see is several things. One is people don’t have these conversations; they don’t look ahead, they don’t think about the weather that is coming, the storms that are coming, they don’t prepare for the future in this way, and they operate under certain assumptions, and most of them are tacit, not talked about… That “We’re monogamous, right?” or that “We’re gonna love each other forever”, or that “We’re gonna have the same interests the next year and the year after.”

They don’t have those conversations, I think possibly because we do live in a society that is fairly sheltered, that we have the luxury to think about things and to recreate ourselves and to wander about at different stages “Why am I married? Why should I get married?” And then people do a lot of goofy things, like I said, according to their family of origin, their culture.

It should be said that people who are from insecure cultures, whether the distancing side or the clinging side, always end up doing something that’s good for themselves but is not good for the other. With insecures, people who are afraid – either of engulfment or having their self taken from them or their stuff taken from them – are very wary and very afraid of being interfered with, interrupted and so on.

These people have a very difficult time in relationship and they tend to operate as a one-person psychological system, which means that they’re not thinking in a complex way on how to deal in a two-person system, which is like a three-legged race, a potato race – if one of you falls, you both go down.

So people are operating under these ideas that the self comes first, and that never works in a relationship of this kind, because it ends up being too unfair and too unjust and too insensitive too much of the time. The same thing with people on the clinging side, who are afraid of abandonment or withdrawal, and afraid of their own ambivalence, they end up doing screwy things also that serve the self but not the relationship, so they’re gonna run into trouble, for sure.

Then there are people who don’t understand how the brain works, and that we’re animals and that our brain is tilted towards war, and that it’s very easy to be threatening, and that the love relationship that we think of as a primary attachment relationship is almost wholly based on memory, which means that people are going to feel like they’re proxies for everyone who [unintelligible 00:14:51.06] and unless they understand how that works, they’re gonna step into each other’s injuries and they’re gonna start to become threatening to each other. That’s a problem of not understanding how the brain works, understand the primacy of their relationship. We’re dyadic creatures from the very beginning, and you might think we’re born alone, but we’re never born alone, we can’t be born alone; we’re born with another person. So we start out dyadically, and we end up being herd animals that form dyads within the herds, so we’re dyadic-oriented. That means that when you and I become a primary relationship, we have to handle thirds; we have to handle third people, things, tasks, endeavors that will steal resources from our system, and we have to protect that system jealously from intrusion. That means everybody comes into this system by our invitation, and we never do anything that pushes the other into being a third wheel or thrown under the bus or demoted.

People who don’t understand this will make the same mistake over and over again, and that causes big trouble. When I engage with a third inappropriately, that sidelines you and makes you feel unimportant. That is going to be a long-term problem if it’s not fixed. So there are all sorts of things that will get people.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes. Stan, I feel like you do such a brilliant job describing the biology and the neurobiology around what’s going on with this detachment… Would you be willing to talk — I know you wrote a whole book, Wired For Love, and it really goes into this and I highly recommend people who haven’t read it to get it… But would you be able to talk about the mechanisms at play? Because I think your metaphor is so accessible for people to understand what’s at play.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Well, in a nutshell, we have a fast brain and a slow brain – this is Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast And Slow. We have a fast brain, and that is basically what in one of my books we call the primitives. These are subcortical areas of the brain that work by recognition; they’re very fast, they don’t use a lot of oxygen or glucose to run, and they’re fully automatic and memory-based.

Then we higher cortical areas that are very expensive to run, called the neocortex – higher structures that are expensive and also very slow. The reason they’re slow is that they’re error-correcting – they correct the information, the data that comes up from the body, from sensory inputs, and also from this lower part of the brain that’s sweeping the environment using memory as a way to match danger and safety. So if we are at least a bit stressed and we are under distress for too long, we start to go into a hypothalamic system called fight or flight, and that compromises the way the brain operates. We start to be governed then by these primitives that really have a single investment, and that is the survival of the organism, and that’s how our species has survived. So forgive us if we start to misinterpret our partners’ raising of one eyebrow or the lip corner turning up on one side of the face only, or a tilt to the head or a dismissive hand – these are the kinds of things that we call small [unintelligible 00:18:48.07] that happen day in and day out with our partners, that we are responding to. And if we’re not aware of this and if we’re not really good at distress relief as a couple, we’re liable to build up a biological threat system that begins to increase as time goes on, and that’s another problem. So understanding that we’re basically memory, that we’re automatic creatures, we’re doing everything every day automatically without thought, just reflexive, and that most of the time we actually could never explain why we do what we do – or even what we’re doing – and in the absence of knowing (because real-time is too fast), we have a whole area of the brain that’s dedicated to making things up, and that’s the human condition… We’re constantly filling in blanks, taking shortcuts with the brain using memory – all memory, not just memory of between you and I – and we’re making all these errors without knowing we’re making them interpersonally. To add to that, if we are not very good at repairing mistakes/injuries, that’s going to be another problem.

I think a lot of this has to do with education, understanding how we actually work, what is really true about human beings, what we can and cannot do, and what our limitations are. For instance, communication is terrible. I don’t think people realize how often they’re being misunderstood, and the misunderstanding that’s happening all the time. People think memory is accurate – it’s not; it never has been, never will be.

There is no memory that is accurate. Actually, it’s all filled in with confabulation and embellishment, and then every time you remember it, you’re laying down a new track of memory, and it’s all embellishment, basically. Our perceptions are constantly changing according to our state of mind. I come home, I’m upset, and I look at the house and I’m angry with you because the house looks messy, and you look angry with me… Of course, all of that is distorted because my state is changing what I see, hear, smell and even taste. This is the fallibility of our mind, and unfortunately, as humans, we tend to have a lot of hubris around what we think, how perfect our communication and our memory and our perception is – this really gets us into a lot of trouble.

We’re born with something called a negativity bias, and that means that all things being equal, our brain will go negative, which is why solitary confinement is a cruel and unusual punishment. We’re interactive animals; we have to interact and we have to have enough signal in order to interrupt the mind’s tendency to fill in blanks. This also explains why shy people are always accused of being unfriendly or arrogant… Because in the absence of anything coming to me (that’s called signal), I will fill in the blank; that’s what the mind/brain always does, we fill in what’s not there. So this is another way that people can get into trouble – people who under-respond, who don’t show a lot of expression in the face will be projected upon and assumed to be negative.

It’s fascinating stuff, but again, we don’t have this education out there in terms of how relationships work, how the human mind works, and the human condition, which is basically — it’s amazing we get along at all.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Right, truly. Yes, and I love that you give an example… I was gonna ask you to give something that could give somebody — a situation or an example to imagine this at play, and just even the coming home and the house is a mess, and the looks that are exchanged and what is all being interpreted and assumed… That’s helpful, really helpful.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Well, if you know what’s happening, then you also know the solution. By the way, that problem of inside/outside, home/not home, that perception problem is taken care of by having a ritual that when your partner comes home you greet them at the door, and the first thing that you guys do is embrace. And you hold the embrace, and I don’t let go of you until I feel you fully relax; you don’t let go of me until you feel me fully relaxed. Then we go about our business and everything now looks completely different. That has to do with how our nervous systems operate. When we’re not fully attuned to each other, we’re going to start to clash, just like bells ringing at different frequencies. This takes care of that, by the way, but it must be that I’m in charge of you being relaxed, you’re in charge of me being relaxed, rather than us doing it ourselves. This comes before children and pets and so on. That changes the entire landscape.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Now, I guess I had a question about that, because I know that a lot of people (without giving a lot of examples) will — you know, you talk about the avoidance attachment style that tends to seek self-soothing, self-comforting, and if they had a tremendous yucky day and they’re not actually in a place where they’re ready perhaps to sharing an embrace because they’re feeling yikey themselves and they feel like they just want to decompress and have a moment and then they’ll be more available for that type of connection – it sounds very different and I’m just curious, how do you support someone’s style, because you’re saying it’s not necessarily bad or wrong, but if they grew up in a family environment that is somewhat about insecure attachment where relationship wasn’t first and they’ve really developed a habit of learning how to bring themselves to a calmer place internally before they’re ready for connection… What do you advise in the way of a ritual or how to navigate that?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: That’s a great question… I just wanna say to you and your audience that so much of this is about understanding the problem. Once you understand the problem, once you understand the neurobiology of the human being and the differences in these attachment styles, the solution then becomes easy. But if you don’t understand the problem, then there is no way to come up with a solution.

With the avoidant – the avoidant child tends to over-rely on something we call auto-regulation, which is completely normal; everyone starts that way. Auto-regulation is basically self-stimulation, self-soothing without the need for a person. This is normative, we do this all the time, but avoidant children tend to over-rely on it because of their lack of interaction with consistent interaction face-to-face, eye-to-eye, skin-to-skin with an adult, so they’re often playing by themselves. What that does – it’s not a habit, it’s an orientation of self-care that begins to continue throughout the lifespan. What it does is that instead of going to you for emotional regulation, I go to myself. That is the reliable source, and again, it’s an automatic, reflexive thing that I do.

As an avoidant, I tend to look like I’m addicted to alone time, like I need to get away when I’m in fight or flight; I need to flee, I need to go away and think I can’t down-regulate or up-regulate with you. So I either go to myself and be alone to work, or drugs, or alcohol or whatever it is, but I don’t go to you. This can be very threatening to somebody on the outer side of the attachment spectrum of insecurity, of clinging, where I fear withdrawal, people withdrawing away from me, avoiding me, not wanting me, not being loved, and then of course, being abandoned is a big thing. So here I am with you, someone who’s an avoidant – when we get into distress, your tendency is to go away, to withdraw; that to me is threatening. And my pursuing you is threatening to you, because you’re withdrawing because you don’t like an object advancing on you, coming at you; you don’t know what to do and your only defense is to flee.

So you have this unfortunate situation where we’re threatening each other unintentionally by reacting in the manner in which we have known to care for ourselves. For me as that person who is (we call them waves) anxious/ambivalent, I need you to calm down; it’s called external regulation. I need you to calm down, but you being an avoidant (we call them islands), you  need to take care of yourself when you’re in distress. So we’re now at opposite ends here, where we’re actually a danger to each other.

If we understand the problem here, the solution then becomes much more simple to come up with, and that is “How do I, as the wave, get to feel calmed down without feeling abandoned, and you, the island, gets to be able to calm down without feeling intruded upon and pressured to do anything?” That simply would be for me to sidle up next to you, side by side, engage in some parallel play; I bring a book, I sit quietly next to you, making no demand on you. I get to be with you, you get to not be alone without feeling that there’s a pressure for you to do something, and then we recover together. This is the solution to that. It’s hard to do, but it’s the only way that actually works.

Understanding how the island or the avoidant behaves and what they’re afraid of can also lead to how you work with them and how you’re going to be able to deal with them, especially under moments of distress, which is the big thing. That doesn’t mean giving them their own space, because their own space is not necessarily great for them. We have to understand, because of that negativity bias, our mind is not Disneyland, and when we’re in distress, it certainly isn’t. So my being alone for extended periods of time isn’t good for me either. That has to be interfered with skillfully, without getting me to feel that I have to perform, there’s a demand being put on me, I’m being used and I’m not being respected in terms of my being able to calm down. That’s what I need.

In the other instance, where somebody feels insecure on the clinging side, they need to feel that they’re not being rejected, abandoned, that they don’t do well by themselves in that shift from interaction to being alone. That has to be respected, that has to be dealt with. They both need tending to, and if people understand that, they can get along with each other famously.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: I think that’s a beautiful example and I’m really grateful that there’s such a description, and obviously the awareness and knowledge about what’s going on in the attachment system, but also the importance of prioritizing the connection. So there’s a real honor for both aspects and a real directing towards a more positive bond, and also helping the system regulate through connection, which I think is ultimately the goal… But I love that there’s not — you know, really, I don’t feel any shame or blame, that one way is better or right, and I think that that’s where a lot of couples struggle when you’re talking about memory or perception…

If one’s pulling away, the interpretation of that is very — right? It’s seen very negatively, and the other — you’re pursuing [unintelligible 00:32:10.08] so the interpretation, the perception of it, and that’s where it usually gets blown out and there’s not even opportunity to look at it win/win. I thought you were gonna say something…?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: You know, in our work we study people – as do you – and we use a video frame analysis; we use digital framing to go frame-by-frame and study people, their faces, their bodies… We try to become experts in micro-expressions and micro-movements, things that are happening very quickly, because we’re reading people’s arousal state moment-by-moment. [unintelligible 00:32:50.08] watching their pupils, their heart rate, their skin color, their tightness in the face, in the body and in their movements… So you start to really understand that people are not doing any of this stuff purposely, hardly anybody is. No angels, no devils here. People are just being automatic, they’re just being reflexive and they’re responding to what the body remembers, especially during times of stress. When we’re not in stress, we can have these differences quite easily. We’re only really approximating each other’s minds, we never really actually accurately getting each other’s minds at any time… But approximating is fine. But when we start to feel in distress, the approximation issue becomes a problem, because we want perfect understanding, and this is when we start to make even more mistakes. As stress goes up, we start to misappraise the other person’s intentions according (again) to our memory. This is basically a flaw in the human mind; it isn’t if you consider the fact that nature doesn’t care about long-term relationships, it cares about procreation, survival of the species and so on.

If you understand that people are not doing any of this on purpose, they’re doing it automatically, without thought. They can’t possibly track it, because it’s too fast, and in the absence of not knowing, we make shit up, that’s what we do. I think understanding this maybe takes the pressure off of people, especially those who are vilifying or are being vilified, to look at it through a more realistic lens that this is the human condition… This is not just you and your partner, this is everybody. Everybody has this problem. Everybody is going to go down this road if they don’t understand certain things. It’s not unique… It’s nature.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes. So you’re identifying a lot of aspects to the complexity of what’s going on. Is there anything you would like to underscore as far as what you want couples to know about intimacy and long-term relationship?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: You know, when I ask people “What’s the point of this relationship? What do you do for each other you couldn’t pay somebody else to do?”, what I’m looking for is a mature, complex reasoning around the purpose of the relationship, which is (and should be) rooted in mutual survival. We are in the foxhole together. We do things for each other because we can. We accept each other as full burdens because people are basically a pain in the ass; everybody is a pain. There is nobody who’s not a burden. So the quid pro quo in being with each other is we’re gonna do these things, we’re gonna be full burdens on each other because we can, and because nobody else cares… And therefore our union becomes something quite extraordinary, and something to be protected.

At the basis, the foundation of that union is a commitment to keeping the relationship absolutely safe and secure at all times. We’re stewards of this ecosystem, and if one of us dirties it, we both suffer. So understanding the principles here that you are bound together by a loyalty, a duty, a devotion to a system that provides sustenance for the two of you, that provides a protection for the two of you, that you have principles that you rely on that you both believe in that protect you from each other – this sets the stage for a very strong system that can endure all kinds of unfortunate events and all sorts of pressures, and it makes for a very powerful system whereby each partner gets to thrive… And they’re thriving because the couple is committed to taking resource-demanding issues off the table, such as “Will this relationship exist tomorrow?” That’s off the table, because I look in your eyes and I say to you “I will never leave you. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere, and nor are you. We’re doing this thing.” By doing that, we take off the table a tremendous anxiety that we know exists for young children and adults, and that is “I’m not tethered to anybody.” We take that off the table and that frees up a lot of resource. We protect each other, we put all our money on each other, and now we’re able to do things that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do: slay dragons, deal with unfortunate, difficult situations, deal with difficult people… We’re able to move through the world in a protected way that allows us to thrive and to develop and to be much more creative and better people.

That’s what the message is here – if you’re gonna be in a relationship, you have to think about “What’s the foundation of that? It’s safety and security. We never do anything to shake that up, because that blows back on us.” That’s what sets sails for a long-term relationship that’s more and more complex, more and more fruitful, and we start to develop a love that comes from a day-to-day feeling of devotion and trust. “I trust you with my life, and I show you that every day, why you can trust me with your life. I demonstrate to you why that is every day, and this is how we roll.”

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Nice.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: …and now we have a different kind of love.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes, yes. I know we’re getting towards the end of our time, and I wanna give you an opportunity to talk about how people can — I mean, I’m also curious… Do you video tape for people that are coming in for therapy, or is this for your research?

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Both. Every couple gets videotaped, but ostensibly, the reason for that is during the session there are times I need to play back certain things, because people don’t see themselves, they don’t hear themselves.

They may not notice that they’re doing something that is being misunderstood, or they’re misunderstanding, or that they’re stepping on the other person’s lines, or they’re using a face that looks threatening… So this is a very valuable tool so long as it’s played back immediately, because we have to make use of their short-term memory, otherwise it’s [unintelligible 00:39:43.17] We want them to collaborate around it.

But every so often, if they allow me to get them to sign a release, then I’ll use that data for research and for teaching.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Gotcha. Okay, I love it. Well, let people, if you will, know how they can follow you… I know you have a couple trainings coming up, and retreats… I would love to have you share that.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Sure. Well, if people want to find out about our couples retreats that my wife and I do, we do that all over the world as well. You can go to ThePactInstitute.com, and we have retreats coming up in Tuscany this coming October, and then all over the country this year, including West Coast and East Coast, you can see that.

If you’re interested in training as a therapist, we also teach all over the world. We have training groups in the West Coast, in the East Coast, in Canada, as well as Australia, Turkey, and Spain. You can look online for those trainings. They’re pretty exhaustive, because we’re worrying about the brain and the body, and also multiple psychological theories… So you can check there, ThePactInstitute.com.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Wonderful, and I will have all of these links on the show notes. I was looking at your Facebook page before this interview, Stan, and you guys have a lot of fun stuff out there – a TED talk… There’s lots of free resources.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Thank you, yes. Yeah, definitely look at my TED talk. Thank you for that. And you’re doing some wonderful things too, because we talked about — I think we both have an interest in prevention, and I think that’s your interest as well, how to prevent these problems, instead of waiting 20-30 years and coming in and “I wish I would have known this 30 years ago.” Now we’re hoping people come in pre-marital, and even young people to come in to learn about how to be in a relationship.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Absolutely. The education and what you’re providing is so important for people to be cognizant of — it really does take the shame and the stigma and the vilifying… It really does take the load off of that and it gets people — I don’t know, I feel myself way more softened getting curious, rather than…

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Period. [laughs]

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Period, yes.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Be curious, not furious.

Dr. Jessica Higgins: Yes, yes.

Dr. Stan Tatkin: Thank you, Jessica. You’re a pleasure.

I hope you have enjoyed this episode with Dr. Stan Tatkin. Again, you can find all the links mentioned on the show notes. Again, the show notes can be found on my website, DrJessicaHiggins.com, click on Podcast; you can find the most recent episodes there at the top. Again, this is 107, How To Prioritize Relationship, With Stan Tatkin. You can find his free offerings, his upcoming workshop, his two websites and all the goodies there.

Also, again, I wanna encourage you to hop on over and take the poll; basically, let me know which topics are of most interest to you, and then if you feel inclined and wanna chime in around what specific questions or wonderings you have about a topic, I will weave that into upcoming shows. Again, I have a ton of topics listed, and it should take just a couple of minutes for you to offer feedback. It does help me tailor this to your specific desire and needs and what’s most important to you. It means the world to me.

Again, if you have any other questions or would like to explore the option of working with me directly or perhaps engaging in some of the curriculum I have, please reach out to me via e-mail – that’s jessica@drjessicahiggins.com.

Until next time, I hope you take great care.

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