#179 – A Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy with Dr. Stan Tatkin

photo of Dr. Stan Tatkin


Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT, founder/developer of A Psychobiological Approach To Couples Therapy™ integrates neuroscience, infant attachment, arousal regulation, and therapeutic enactment applied to adult primary attachment relationships. He maintains a practice in Calabasas, California, and runs a bi-weekly clinical study group for medical and mental health professionals (www.ahealthymind.org/csg) and training programs in Seattle and San Francisco.

Dr. Tatkin received his early training in developmental object relations (Masterson Institute), Gestalt, psychodrama, and family systems theory. His private practice specialized for some time in the treatment of adolescents and adults with personality disorders. Over the last decade, his interests branched out toward psycho-neurobiological theories of human relationship, integrating principles of early mother-infant attachment with adult romantic relationships. He speaks to professional audiences on subjects of couples therapy and preventative psychotherapy through early intervention with infants, children and their parents. He has published several articles on the psychobiology of couples’ therapy and is currently training therapists on his unique approach to couples work using attachment theory, neuroscience, and principles of arousal and affect regulation.

Dr. Tatkin was a primary inpatient group therapist at the John Bradshaw Center where, among other things, he taught Mindfulness to patients and staff. He was trained in Vipassana meditation by Shinzen Young, Ph.D., and was an experienced facilitator in Vipassana. He was also trained by David Reynolds, Ph.D., in two Japanese forms of psychotherapy, Morita and Naikan.

Dr. Tatkin was clinical director of Charter Hospital’s intensive outpatient drug and alcohol program, and is a former president of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Ventura County chapter.

In addition to his private practice, he teaches and supervises first through third-year family medicine residents at Kaiser Permanente, Woodland Hills, through which he is an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. He is also adjunct faculty for Antioch University, Santa Barbara Graduate Institute, and California Lutheran University.

Dr. Tatkin is a veteran member of Allan N. Schore’s study group. He has trained in the Adult Attachment Interview through Mary Main and Erik Hesse’s program out of University of California, Berkeley. He is the co-author of Love and War in Intimate Relationships with Marion Solomon for W. W. Norton, 2011.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.



  1. Beverly Berg
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Stan Tatkin is a leader in the field. His work as a clinician and teacher are unprecedented. Every mental health professional should experience him at least once in their professional career.

  2. Posted October 27, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Excellent interview — wonderful to hear how the ideas of Allan Schore are being embraced and put to important use in the lives of people needing help. I will buy Stan’s book when it comes out!

  3. Rick V.
    Posted November 1, 2008 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The current direction of psychology and science in general is interdisciplinary, in the lab I am working in we combine our efforts on a daily basis with statisticians, bio chemist, and physicist, to name just a few. Thank god for this relatively recent change in attitude, that change being that most scientist are willing to agree that other scientist from divergent and even opposing points of view bring value to the table. Part of the inspiration for this change in attitude is because their is no way that even within the confines of a sub-specialty that any individual could keep up with the literature so now we are much more dependent upon those we work with to help us carry the load intellectually and embody in flesh a source of reference for each other. This was a great interview, which I have listened to twice. I would love to hear you interview Paul Ekman and John Gottman at some point in the future. I am a huge fan of Gottman because took the seemingly insurmountable problem measuring the level of quality of intimate relationships and developed a method to quantify the interaction between two people. I am in awe of his work and am impressed with Dr. Tatkin’s unique approach to couples therapy. I believe it is the quality and longevity of intimate couple relationships that ultimately determine the health of the culture at large. Therefore in my opinion there is no more important work than that of the well trained and expert couples therapist.

  4. Jim W
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    This is an excellent interview in which Dr. Tatkin integrates psychobiology and attachment theory. I have listened to it twice and have begun reading on the topic as a result. This information is adding more depth to my work with individuals and couples. The interview begins slowly and it’s not until 15-20 minutes in that the really good stuff really starts to emerge. It’s well worth hanging in there.

  5. Louis LeBlanc
    Posted December 2, 2011 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Great interview with Stan Tatkin… Thanks

  6. Louise
    Posted December 4, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    This is what Hendrix did many years ago …. Imago relationship Theory ….

  7. Tim
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    um a a eh eh eh …why all the filler. it makes you very difficult to maintain attention

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