Created by best-selling author Bruce Feiler with Dr. Ellyn Bader and Dr. Peter Pearson, this Return to Eden study guide is designed to be used with Bruce's latest book, The First Love Story: Adam, Eve and Us.  The guide takes lessons from the story of Adam and Eve and weaves them into a practical guide to provide fresh perspectives and hands-on exercises to help you think about, enrich and improve your relationship.

Whether you’re a newlywed, a happily married couple or partners with unresolved disagreements, this guide will help you.

It’s designed to be used in group discussions to share fresh, powerful insights with others in a safe, supportive environment, or to be used privately with your partner to explore these topics and exercises in a more intimate setting.

Once you request the study guide below you’ll also find a convenient link to purchase the book if you haven’t already.

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About the Co-Creators

Dr. Peter Pearson and Dr. Ellyn Bader

Dr. Ellyn Bader and Dr. Peter Pearson are co-founders of The Couples Institute and creators of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, a model that teaches therapists how to diagnose, intervene and significantly help troubled relationships. Together they directed The Couples Institute until Pete retired as a licensed psychologist in 2018 and Ellyn became the sole director.

Pete and Ellyn are authors of two books, In Quest of the Mythical Mate: A Developmental Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment in Couples Therapy and Tell Me No Lies: How to Face the Truth and Build a Loving  Marriage. They have been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including The Today Show and CBS Early Morning News, and they have been quoted in countless publications including The New York Times, Oprah Magazine and Cosmopolitan. Ellyn and Peter are unusual among couples therapists in that they are a couple themselves, and have confronted many of the challenges that they write and speak about.

Bruce Feiler

Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular voices on contemporary life. He writes the “This Life” column for the Sunday New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, The Council of Dads and The Secrets of Happy Families. He is the writer and host of the PBS series “Walking the Bible” and “Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler.”

His latest book, The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us, is a revelatory journey across four continents and 4,000 years exploring how Adam and Eve introduced the idea of love into the world, and how they continue to shape our deepest feelings about relationships, togetherness, and social cohesion. “Feiler’s best work yet,” said Publishers Weekly. A native of Savannah, Georgia, Bruce lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Linda Rottenberg, and their identical twin daughters. For more information, please visit

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.