Dr. Ellyn Bader co-founded The Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California, in 1984 with her husband, Dr. Peter Pearson. Together they directed the Couples Institute until 2018 when Ellyn became the sole director.

Ellyn is considered by many to be the preeminent expert in couples therapy training. Her powerful presentations always combine theory with practical insights. She has trained therapists throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Russia, Asia, South America, and Australia.

Since 2006, Ellyn has led innovative couples therapy training programs online. Professionals from around the world connect with her through internet, conference calls and blogs to study “The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy: Integrating Attachment, Differentiation, and Neuroscience.”

Ellyn and Peter are the authors of “Tell Me No Lies.” This book tells you how to face the truth and build a loving marriage. They also wrote “In Quest of the Mythical Mate,” a textbook for couples therapists that has been reprinted by the publisher over 20 times. This book introduced the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy and won the Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marital & Family Therapists for its outstanding contribution to the field of marital therapy.

The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy explains normal and natural stages and struggles that growing couples encounter. The model provides a structure for couples therapy by identifying the developmental task, developmental stalemate, diagnosis and specific treatment interventions for each stage of development.

When “In Quest of the Mythical Mate” was first published in 1988, the theory of couples going through stages with predictable challenges and opportunities for growth was a new one. Since then it has been widely accepted, and the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model continues to grow and incorporate new aspects of couples therapy.

Ellyn has been featured on over 50 radio shows and on television including “The Today Show” and “CBS Early Morning News.” The Bader-Pearson approach is known for its practical applications that help you and your partner create enduring love.

A Glossary of Terms that are sometimes Confusing

Couples Therapy is a counseling procedure that seeks to improve the adjustment of two people who have created an interdependent relationship. There are no standard procedures to help two people improve their adjustments to each other. Generally, a more experienced therapist will offer more perspectives and tools to a couple. Length of treatment will depend on severity of problems, motivation and skills of the therapist. A couple can be dating, living together, married or separating and may be gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Marriage Therapy is a term often used interchangeably with marriage counseling. The term marriage implies two people have created a union sanctioned by a government or religious institution. The methods used in marriage counseling, marriage therapy and couples therapy are interchangeable and depend more on the specific challenges of each unique couple.

Psychotherapy is one or more processes to help improve psychological and emotional functioning. Examples are psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Rational-Emotive therapy, or group therapy. Many forms of psychotherapy are blends of different approaches. For example, newer forms of psychotherapy called energy psychology draw upon recent advances in brain and neuroscience. These approaches often build on cognitive behavioral methods.

Clinical Psychologist. After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psycholgy. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Psychiatrist. After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Clinical Social Worker. This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

Marriage and Family Therapist. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

The Couples Institute. We have assembled a group of top notch therapists at The Couples Institute. Whatever marriage help or marriage advice you are looking for, we are here to serve you. While most other therapists see only a few couples a week, we specialize in marriage and couples relationships, working to develop and bring you the most current and effective approaches to couples therapy. For more information about couples therapy or marriage counseling, see our couples therapy section.