Dr. Ellyn Bader

Developmental Model

Developmental Model

“I’m a professional. I’m an expert.
But I dread when that fighting couple comes in.”

It’s what 7 out of 10 couples therapists feel

Do you feel this way, too?
If so, read this page right now!

You know the feeling of apprehension, helplessness, inadequacy when you sit in front of a couple that’s replaying the War of the Roses. Actually, you’re thinking it would be OK if they never came back. 

We’ve all been there.

Now imagine this new clinical picture of yourself.

  • The Situation: a new couple referred by a valued colleague.
  • The Challenge: with intense blame and pain they relentlessly complain how each has criticized, ignored, yelled, and been emotionally abusive.
  • Your New Response: You’re calm instead of overwhelmed. You don’t feel the panic of wondering what to do. You choose the timing of your interventions instead of frantically trying anything to “stop the bleeding” in front of you.
  • They dug themselves into a deep hole. You keep them from digging a grave.

You have learned how to take highly distressed couples and help them become curious and not furious. You’ve learned why most of their complaints are really not personal and help them acquire the same perspective.

You help them see the pain underlying their self-protective attacks and withdrawals. They listen because you know what you are talking about.

Instead of feeling inadequate, you like earning your pay. You feel confident, self-assured, eager for more opportunities to help them.

All This and More is Possible

“For the first time I feel grounded and I have a sense of what I’m doing when I’m with a couple. I have a lot more to learn, so I’m relieved that Ellyn is teaching the course again next year. I’m in awe of her ability to teach and to get her methods across, absolutely in awe. I’m just so thrilled and so thankful.” Katherine Spencer, Sea Cliff, NY

But you can’t get it from workshops, books or occasional consultation with experienced colleagues. And you sure didn’t get the skills from the meager coursework offered in most graduate schools.

I know how embarrassing it is to present yourself as a marriage therapist if your training and skill level is shaky. And it’s intimidating to wait in your office for the arrival of the next troubled couple when you lack confidence.

Now you can fill in the gaps of your couples training. And do it in ways which I believe you will find enjoyable, convenient and comprehensive. I know this is a tall order. But here’s why I believe I can make such a promise.

I have integrated recent findings in neuroscience, attachment theory and differentiation into our Developmental Model of Couples Therapy and created an unprecedented training program that is:

  • Comprehensive
  • Systematic
  • Responsive to your specific questions for the entire program
  • Convenient to enjoy in your office or at home.
  • A comfortable fit with what you already do!

It’s training without travel. It’s called…

“The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy:
Integrating Attachment, Differentiation, and Neuroscience”

“I especially like hearing how to apply the information in session and clarifying misunderstandings about developmental theory. It’s also great reading other therapists’ blog entries and asking for assistance about real couples. Although I usually listen live, I also enjoy downloading to my itouch & listening again when I want to.” Peter Nagel, LMFT, Asheboro, NC

There is a hodgepodge of information out there on attachment theory, differentiation theory, and neuroscience. Nobody has integrated it into a developmental model with practical applications. Until now.

This one year training program is the culmination of all my experience, especially shaped and organized to improve your experience!

You will learn what to do, how to do it and why to do it.

  • Help couples become collaborative instead of combative.
  • Help couples understand the underlying cause oftheir distress.
  • Apply practical techniques to get healing results.

Over the next 12 months we will cover all these topics…

  • The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. Integrate attachment theory, differentiation theory and neuroscience to develop and apply effective treatment plans.
  • Getting Your Couples Work Off to a Powerful Start. Create a cooperative mind-set BEFORE your first meeting. Learn six essential elements of early interviews to avoid common therapy traps.
  • Assessment From an Attachment Theory Perspective. Teach your couples how the echoes of early attachments influence their current intimacy style. You are PLANTING the SEEDS OF EMPATHY.
  • Use Two Couples Assessment Tools to Diagnose the Couples Developmental Stage. Watch your couples RELAX as you give them a non-pathological perspective on predictable relationship development. Learn the important difference between developmental change vs. behavioral change.
  • Understanding Differentiation: The Myths and Realities. Apply Differentiation Theory to INTERRUPT belief systems that inhibit relationship growth.
  • Access the Emotional Brain. Incorporate neuroscience findings and learn critical tools for affect regulation. Teach RAPID REPAIR strategies to stop the fighting right in your office.
  • Structuring Treatment with the Hostile-Angry Couple. Provide appropriate and timely structure to PREVENT destructive venting. You can avoid the common complaint, “All our last therapist did was let us fight in the office.”
  • The Conflict Avoidant Couple. Help these couples develop the ability to manage emotional intensity for growth instead of avoidance.
  • The Passive Aggressive Partner. Yes, it is possible to be effective with the passive aggressive personality when you know how. You will learn the origin of passive aggressive dynamics and APPLY individualized strategies for the passive aggressive person and the spouse.
  • Lies, Betrayal, Affairs and Infidelity. Avoid disaster and unnecessary divorces by knowing how to confront each partner with their individual challenges.
  • The Narcissistic Partner. They will make outrageous demands of you and their partner. MANAGE their DOMINATING BEHAVIOR in sessions and uncover the vulnerability underneath their aggressive style.
  • Beyond Active Listening. Foster personal and relationship growth with EMPATHY and UNDERSTANDING using the Initiator-Inquirer Process.
  • Intrapsychic Impasses. Uncover individual conflicts and impasses that impede relationship growth. You become more effective with less effort utilizing simple guidelines from Gestalt therapy.
“If any of you have worked with couples, or would like to – in my experience this is the training needed. It has completely transformed how I work with couples and more importantly, has given me the confidence and the necessary tools so that I now am excited about seeing couples and helping them create the partnership they long to have. This training is extremely effective. It is so affordable and you receive the expertise of a true master in the field.” Sue Diamond, MA., RCC, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Goal Discrepancy. Skillfully handle partners with clashing goals. An example is the painful dilemma when one wants out and the other doesn’t. Good things can happen even in this scenario when you know how to handle it.
  • Question/Answer and Case Consultation
  • And a whole lot more

Each lesson is strategically designed so you keep building your skills and confidence.

Every fifteen days you will get a detailed lesson combining theory with practical applications. This gives you time to ABSORB and PRACTICE the lesson before moving on to the next one. By staying in touch every month, I will be your personal guide as you acquire new skills and confidence. I don’t want you to feel lost or confused.

Here’s how we stay connected. Every month we can talk on the phone. You are bound to have questions as you learn and apply new theory and interventions. These calls will focus on clinical cases and will ENHANCE your perspective on challenging situations. You can ask your questions either on these monthly conference calls or email me before the calls through my secure website.

Because the calls are recorded, you can listen to them AT YOUR CONVENIENCE. Think of it as a friendly house call.

After the challenging cases we study together, your work with other couples will be well-targeted and focused. Sessions with individual clients will improve as you become familiar with thinking about relational problems from a developmental perspective.

My Easy No-Hassle Guarantee

You have three months to try this training program and see how great it is. I want you to be satisfied that you have:

  • Increased your understanding of the origin of your couple’s pain and distress
  • Increased your ability to intervene skillfully
  • Increased your confidence in handling couples that would have been intimidating.

If the program does not meet your expectations to improve your skill level or support your desire to be a better couples therapist, you can get a courteous refund. Just call my office at 650-327-5915 or toll free at 877-327-5915 within the first three months and tell my staff that you’d like to withdraw from the course and get a refund of EVERYTHING you have paid. No ifs ands or buts.

I used the neuroscience information immediately with one couple and it helped develop more empathy and compassion in the room than is their custom. It really turned things around. Thank you.” Roberta Seifert, Ph.D., San Rafael, CA and in training

Why can I make such a guarantee? The information in this training has been tested, refined and tested again in the arena where it counts most: the offices of therapists throughout the United States and on four other continents.

What if I need to drop out after three months?

Just contact my office at 650-327-5915 or toll free at 877-327-5915 and you will no longer be billed your membership fee. And you’ll get continued access to the site, conference call, audio recordings, lessons, and blog until 30 days from your most recent payment.

The feedback is universally enthusiastic from offices just like yours. These positive evaluations – not a false sense of bravado – allow me to make such an unprecedented offer.

Who am I to Make Such an Offer?

My name is Ellyn Bader. I’m a psychologist and I have specialized in couples therapy for over 25 years. My husband, Dr. Peter Pearson, and I founded The Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California in 1984.

We created The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, a model that teaches therapists how to diagnose, intervene and significantly change troubled relationships.

The Developmental Model was first introduced in 1988 in our book, “In Quest of the Mythical Mate,” which is still used in graduate schools across the country and is now in its 15th printing. The book was awarded the Clark Vincent Award by the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists for its outstanding contribution to the field of marital therapy.

Our most recent book “Tell Me No Lies: How to Face the Truth and Build a Loving Marriage” guides couples to be honest with compassion.

I have been fortunate enough to appear on The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, and be interviewed by over 50 national and local media.

“I love the depth of material and the pace. Also having supplemental speakers has really helped me grow my view. Ellyn is a wonderful teacher and I find the transcripts very helpful. They give me a chance to hear Ellyn’s therapeutic voice and words in action. All in all, the program has great synergy.” Paul Gillane, LMFT, Orange, CA

Pete and I have trained thousands of therapists throughout the United States as well as Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and I am a frequently invited speaker at major professional conferences. I am passionate about STOPPING PREMATURE AND UNNECESSARY DIVORCES.

The best way to do that is to train and support more excellent couples therapists.

“If you want to excel in your work, I’d like to work with you.”

This comprehensive program includes 24 lessons including a few from other experts in couples therapy.

Here’s a review of what you will get:

Click here to register now
  • Written Lessons: Every fifteen days you will receive a written lesson, usually between 20 and 30 pages long. The lessons BUILD on each other and present new material on specific topics in couples therapy. Some include handouts to print and give to your couples to REINFORCE what they are learning and ACCELERATE the help you are giving them.
  • Conference Calls: We’ll have a conference call once a month for 12 months. These clinical calls give you an opportunity to discuss cases or to listen in on how the concepts are applied to challenging cases. You simply CANNOT GET this important ongoing feedback from a workshop or book. THE CALL IS LIVE so you can ask your important questions.
    Perhaps the most important part of the interaction with me is increasing your ability to think conceptually about your cases.
  • Audio: Each conference call is recorded so you can listen later online or on your ipod, as many times as you want AT YOUR CONVENIENCE.
  • Internet: Want to avoid long distance telephone charges? Listen on your computer. You can even send in a question from your computer if you wish.
  • Blog: You’ll have access to a “Members’ Only” blog where you can interact with your colleagues and report on how you are applying the material. Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Each lesson will have its own blog.

    Imagine that you are reading a lesson and find you have a question. You can just check the blog and your question may already have been asked and answered!

  • Bonus: There will be guest appearances from other specialists in the field of couples therapy whose work compliments what I am teaching (including some from Peter Pearson).
  • Peer Consultation Groups: You can take advantage of optional collaboration with other group members on the application of the new principles you are learning. Some past participants have found this to be a valuable way to REINFORCE what they are learning.
  • Members’ Directory: List yourself and use the directory to find other therapists to refer to around the world. Your NETWORK of professionals and possible future friends JUST EXPANDED.
  • Savings: Enjoy a 15% discount on all Couples Institute products.

You will grow personally as well as professionally

Learn PERSONAL SKILLS as well as PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION. Would you like to develop comfortable confrontation skills? How about constructively using your counter-transference? You can say almost anything to couples if you have the right voice tone and facial expression. This will be a side benefit of your training.

“It’s amazing how many times in this class I’ve taken something away and then gone back to work and used it that very week with something very specific that’s come up. Not always with as much finesse as I would like, but far better than I could before.” Susan Childers, Seattle, WA

What does it cost?

You might expect this kind of training to be exorbitantly expensive. But it’s just $97 each month for twelve months. That’s for your monthly conference call, unlimited access to the members’ website where you can download, listen, read and review lessons. Plus there’s the blog where you can interact with me and your colleagues. Considering my hourly consultation rate of $250 – without all the bonuses – this is an AMAZING VALUE.

If you decide to join me, just click on the link to submit your $97. That will reserve your space and cover your first month’s fee. Then you’ll be billed again every 30 days for 11 more months.

And my EASY NO-HASSLE GUARANTEE makes it easy for you to sign up now. If the course does not meet your expectations we will refund your money any time within your first three months.

How do I sign up for the course?

“I find that this course is easy to integrate into my practice. It is spread over a number of months, so I have time to think and plan for different clients. The encouragement from Ellyn to integrate, and reading others’ experiences with their experiments is motivating. But the truly best thing is that it makes sense and I want to use it.” Keena Hudson, Sydney, Australia

Click here to register for the course. Obviously space is limited to allow for necessary personal attention. Doors will lock before the enrollment interferes with my ability to offer optimal personal attention.

Some other questions you may have about this program…

1. Will this approach be compatible with how I work?

YES. The integration of attachment theory, differentiation theory and neuroscience has proven to be compatible with audiences I have trained throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. This training receives consistent, enthusiastic feedback that it enhances rather than collides with various other approaches. You will not need to learn a whole new approach.

2. I don’t have a lot of experience with couples; will this training be too advanced?

I don’t think so. When I give presentations at different state and national conferences, the audiences typically include novices through seasoned therapists. What they all appreciate is the understandable ways these orientations are integrated and can be immediately applied to their own practice.

3. I have quite a bit of experience with couples. Will this just be a repeat of what I already know?

Unless you have done extensive training with me already, I doubt it. The consistent feedback I get, even from therapists who have been in long-term practice, is how valuable these concepts are.

4. I’m not very savvy technically. How difficult is the computer part of the program?

Most therapists – myself included – feel some anxiety about using technology. I’ve worked hard to be sure that our materials are VERY USER-FRIENDLY. And our office staff is patient with beginners. When I led a group like this before, participants found their technical growth very satisfying. So don’t let it scare you; jump right in.

5. Can I have any of my individual questions addressed?

I encourage you to ask questions during the calls, on the blogs and especially on our special Q and A calls.

6. What makes this different from taking an online CE course?

With online courses there is no interaction with the instructor. You can’t ask questions about a specific case. You can’t get elaborations on especially relevant interventions. There is no way to ask, “Now what?”

Participants from the last course also observed that the support from peers on the blog was a huge unexpected benefit.

7. What makes this different from going to a workshop at a conference?

“I appreciate the ease in reviewing the material presented. I absolutely like the handouts, especially the hands-on exercises for couples.” Sam Leong, Ph.D. San Francisco, CA

At a workshop you may or may not get your specific questions answered. You can’t keep asking deeper and deeper questions of the presenter as they have too much material to cover. You cannot call the instructor after the workshop and say, “Wow, what you taught was really great, now how can I apply the interventions to my particular case?”

A workshop is not designed to be comprehensive. It is just a snapshot of one aspect of couples therapy and then you’re on your own.

8. Why does this training last so long?

You need time to implement, experiment, and learn how to Apply the interventions with confidence. As I mentioned before, skillful couples therapy is not mastered in the occasional workshop or reading good books and articles. This prolonged format gives you the big picture and then time to apply specific strategies to specific situations.

As your confidence grows, the feedback you need will also change. A longer training program allows you to get support through your evolution.

The truth is you need two things to be successful – not just with couples, but in almost any area of your life. The first is knowledge of how to achieve the success. The second is the dedication to acquire and apply that knowledge. If you supply the dedication, I will give you the knowledge.

9. What about CE Units?


APA The Couples Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Couples Institute maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Thirty-six CE credits are offered to American licensed psychologists upon completion of this course.

NASW This program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (provider #886520753) on completion for 36 continuing education contact hours.

BBSE (provider #567) California social workers and marriage and family therapists and those from states whose boards honor California continuing education providers can earn 36 CEUs.

How do I register for the course?

Ok Ellyn, I’m ready to get started

Just click the friendly orange button

Make a bigger difference

The stakes are high. You know the vast importance of what we offer distressed couples. In your practice you see couples and maybe whole families suffering from generational pain. I chose this career because I want to make a difference.

I want to give you the tools to help more couples move through their difficulties and evolve individually at the same time. When couples prematurely drop out of therapy the loss reverberates through couples, families, and communities. You’re affected, too.

For one thing there’s the lost opportunity for the couples who become disillusioned with our profession and never return, in spite of their pain. Their families suffer. Their children pass it on into future generations. And you feel the loss in your self esteem – not to mention your pocketbook.

You can make a bigger difference. Sign up now and stop the frustration of working with unhappy couples or those who are unhappy with therapy.

I am passionate about stopping unnecessary divorces and helping couples grow into rich, rewarding partnerships. I’d love to increase your satisfaction working with them, too.

We are all here to assist our clients to improve their lives.

I would be proud to join with you to help you help others.


Ellyn Bader

P.S. Remember, this is a no-lose proposition. You’re covered by my special money-back GUARANTEE. I want you to:

Feel calm & poised, when working with challenging couples;

Have the confidence to work with your toughest cases;

Help couples you have wanted to refer out;

See improvements with your individual clients as well.

This program will shave years off your learning curve because I’ve done the work for you.

Click the happy orange button below and let’s get started.


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