The Couples Institute

'Developmental Model of Couples Therapy

Psychotherapy Model Description:

The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy explains normal and natural stages and struggles that growing couples encounter. The model provides a clear structure for diagnosis and intervention. Couples Therapists learn to recognize developmental arrests, identify the next developmental tasks, unlock developmental stalemates, and plan specific treatment interventions for each stage of development. It integrates the theories of attachment, differentiation, and neuroscience.

About the Founder

  • 'Ellyn Bader, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD

    Ellyn Bader, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD

    Ellyn Bader, PhD, and her husband Peter Pearson, PhD, are founders and directors of The Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California. The Institute celebrates over 30 years of service to couples, and in that time, Ellyn and Pete have helped over a thousand couples resolve issues and create strong, loving relationships.

    In addition to their professional collaboration, Ellyn and Pete are married, and this brings even greater insight into the work they do. They educate, enlighten, and entertain clients and audiences with the challenges they have faced as a couple and how they overcame them to build a strong marriage.

    Pete is an engaging and dynamic therapist, speaker, and writer. His work includes practical skills, advanced techniques in regulating difficult emotions, and entertaining vignettes from his own marriage to demonstrate how some impasses are managed.

    Ellyn is widely recognized as an expert in couples therapy, and since 2006 she has led innovative online training programs for therapists. Professionals from around the world connect with her through the Internet, conference calls, and blog discussions to study couples therapy.

    Ellyn and Peter are the authors of Tell Me No Lies, a book that helps couples to face the truth and build loving marriages. They also wrote In Quest of the Mythical Mate, a textbook for couples therapists that is now in its 18th printing. This book introduced the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy and won the Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists for its outstanding contribution to the field of marital therapy.

    They have been featured on over 50 radio and television programs, including The Today Show and CBS Early Morning News, and have been quoted in many publications including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan.

    Pete and Ellyn reside in Menlo Park, California.

  • Available training types

    Level 1, Level 2

  • Model of Therapy: Developmental Model of Couples Therapy
  • Founder / Lead Developer: Ellyn Bader, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD
  • Origination Year: 1980
  • Training Organization: The Couples Institute
  • Executive Director: Ellyn Bader, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD
  • Address: 445 Burgess Dr. Suite 150 Menlo Park, CA 94025
  • Phone: 650-327-5915
  • Website:

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Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as:

  • Client referrals
  • Continuing education credits
  • Publication and media opportunities
  • Marketing resources and webinars
  • Special discounts

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