Wondering what to do in your next couples therapy sessions?

Watch this video to get a quick idea about what my couples therapy training can do for you.

You can banish the fear and insecurity of wondering what to do in a session with couples or individuals.

Register Now

Or take a few minutes to read more about the training below.

Couples Therapy Training that Works!

I can still remember how embarrassing it felt to present myself as a couples therapist when my training and skills were shaky.

I worried about a couple’s marriage hanging by a thread when they were depending on me, not realizing how few couples I had successfully helped. And I felt like a fraud waiting for the next couple referral when I lacked confidence.

If you’ve ever felt like that, you’re not alone.

You might have experienced the following scenario:

Your intuition guides you to make thoughtful, steady interventions. Everything looks great. Then unexpectedly, something you say makes the whole session fall apart. They end up blaming, you end up flooded. And you wonder what went wrong, or how you could prevent it from happening again.

Or maybe you feel like you’re doing a great job being empathic with a couple. You’re right there with them in their pain. You think they feel really understood. It seems like things are going well. And suddenly they call you up to say “we’re not going to come because we don’t feel like we’re getting anywhere.”

Without thoughtful mentoring and training, you could go your whole career wondering when things will fall apart.

And your work in the world is too important to let intuition alone guide you.

I’ve seen almost every well-intentioned therapist make mistakes that undo all their careful work.

It’s more common than you think, and it’s affecting marriages all over the world. It’s a big reason the divorce rate is so high, and climbs higher every day.

But I believe I can help you develop a confident understanding of what to do, when to do it, and why you’re doing it, so that you can work with the types of couples who used to make you shudder.

I know this is a tall order.

Here’s why I believe I can make such a promise.

If you’re a psychologist, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, marriage counselor, clergy, mental health counselor, or relationship coach, this training can significantly benefit your individual or couple clients.

I have done the work – so you don’t have to – by integrating recent findings in neuroscience, attachment theory and differentiation into this training program!

The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy provides an unprecedented training program that can teach you to:

  • Help couples understand the underlying cause of relationship distress.
  • Apply practical techniques to get healing results.
  • Motivate unmotivated partners to take action.
  • Create progress so your couples don’t get discouraged and give up.

And it’s training without travel! You can get all of this anywhere you have internet access.

Here's What You'll Get

Training Calls

Clinical Training Calls

Every month we meet as a group on the phone. I teach live and focus on clinical cases to enhance your perspective on challenging situations. These calls give you an opportunity to ask your questions about new theories and interventions. Also, since every call is recorded, you can listen to over 90 archived calls as I apply theory to tough cases including, Transgender Disclosure, Couples and Addiction, Working with an Avoidant Partner, Issues with Hostile/Fighting Couples.


Written Lessons

You’ll get 24 written lessons, one delivered every other week, because I’ve found that gives you the right amount of time to process what you’ve learned, try things out in sessions, and keep up with the material. These lessons include Diagnosing Couples Stages, Fostering Empathy, Affairs and Infidelity, and more! Each downloadable lesson comes with an online interactive discussion section so you can get answers to your specific questions in 24 to 48 hours.



Watch as I intervene in real life sessions. You’ll see video demonstrations of many techniques like 2-chair Gestalt therapy. I want to show you how it’s done. Seeing the theory in action will help you diagnose and change troubled couples in a variety of sessions such as Managing the Crisis of Infidelity, Confronting Jealousy, Building Teamwork in a Hostile/Angry Couple in 3 sessions.

Members’ Case

Members’ Case Consultations

You’ll have a special area to post your own cases for ongoing consultation. You’ll get feedback from from me and your colleagues on specific challenging topics. These are just a few examples of past cases the group has worked on together: The No-Orgasm Secret, Narcissist Having an Affair, Are We Best to Separate?


CE Units

For most licenses in the United States, this course fulfills the CE requirements for a whole licensing period. Click here to read course objectives and accreditation before registering. Some international bodies also recognize these credits.

Speaker Calls

Guest Speaker Calls

You’ll participate in Bonus Calls with other experts like Janis Spring and Esther Perel because I think their perspective meshes really well with the Developmental Model and their insights can help you tighten up your own work. There are over 55 archived calls as well, including Dan Siegel How Interpersonal Neurobiology Can Inform What We Do, Janis Spring Infidelity, Steve Frankel The Legal and Ethical Issues Couples Therapists Need to Know, Esther Perel Rethinking Couples Therapy, Peter Pearson Mastering Your Work with Self-Absorbed Partners, Stan Tatkin, Harville Hendrix, and more!


Client Handouts

I’ve created a variety of client handouts designed to support your in-session work with couples including The Couples Diagnostic Questionnaire, Setting Limits on Conflict, Ineffective Behaviors Partners Use to Cope, Self-Assessment after a Fight, Questions to Use in a Difficult Discussion, Initiator Continuum, Fostering Empathy, and many more.


Ongoing Discussion

After each lesson, I participate with members and we discuss how to approach the thorny challenges presented in each lesson. We don’t shy away from difficult issues like, How to Handle Sexual Desire Discrepancy, How to Handle Threats of Violence or Divorce, How to Manage a Couple Threatening to Terminate, How to Integrate Individual Sessions Into Your Couples Work, and more.


Members Directory

List yourself and your practice in our Members Directory. You can use the directory to find therapists around the world to refer to — as well as therapists who can refer to you. Your network of professionals and possible future friends just expanded!

Members Only

Members Only Benefits

Several times a year my husband Pete and I do extra training calls for our larger community. Examples of past calls are Rethinking First Sessions, Passive-Aggressive Partners and many more. They are usually priced at $47 each. As a member, you’ll get these for free. You’ll also get a 15% discount on all Couples Institute products that you choose to purchase.

Your Special Bonuses

You’ll get these AMAZING BONUSES when you order by midnight on Friday.

  1. Marketing webinar with our guru, Jamie Markizon. I want to help you make your investment back as soon as possible and support you becoming known as a true couples specialist in your community. So I’m happy to give you a special webinar with our marketing guru, Jamie Markizon. He’ll show you how to rank on the first page of Google, and how to bring more desirable clients to your practice with just a few changes to your website. Whether you’re new to working with couples, or you’re an established couples therapist, Jamie will give you lots of free or inexpensive action items you can do right away to support the success of your practice. Just one or two of his tips could potentially generate multiple appointments, and you could be making back your investment in the Developmental Model Online Training right away.
  2. The Therapists’ Treasure Chest. Remember how the best part of going to the dentist was picking a toy at the end? This is kind of like that! I’ll mail you my favorite treasures to use with clients to help you give homework, explain differentiation, and create memorable experiential moments. You can use these items to make challenging confrontations in surprisingly lighthearted ways! Because we want to make it as easy as possible, this comes with a how-to guide so you can start using these treasures the day you get them in your mailbox.
  3. A special 1st edition signed, PRINTED version of the series “What Do You Say When…?” This special guide includes all the lessons in the series, PLUS the complete transcript of the role play webinar AND a transcript of Pete’s passive aggressive role play. Think of this guide as a set of “magic words” you can pull off your shelf quickly before a session and offer clear direction to even the most entrenched couples.

I put together this bonus pack because I wanted to offer everything you need to become a couples specialist. Learn the intricate skills for working with volatile couples... advance your clinical skills so you can turn difficult couples into enjoyable ones... and easily bring more couples to your practice.

It’s not your fault when couples back you into a corner, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting when it happens.

With this training program and your bonuses, you’ll be ready for anything. So do not wait. If you let this pass you by, you’ll be missing out on working with more desirable clients, and feeling more directive and powerful with the clients you already have. Claim your bonuses now before they expire at midnight.

Who am I and why am I offering this training program?

I’m Dr. Ellyn Bader. I’m on a mission to stop unnecessary and premature divorces that wreck couples and families.

When I planned this online training program, I really wanted to improve upon conference workshops and webinars that struck me as “hit and run” trainings. These types of programs leave participants with the message, “Ok, everybody, here’s the theory. Now, you’re on your own. Good luck.”

Much of what you learn is wasted because you can’t get ongoing learning from the trainer. I hunger for ongoing learning and support from presenters I really love.

I don’t think I am alone in this feeling.

This was my driving force behind starting an ongoing couples therapy training program. I discovered that, of all the professional activities I have been involved in over 35 years, what I valued most was seeing the growth in couples therapists who cared about making a real difference.

So I created a program to train exceptional couples therapists who want to make a real difference.

“This has been the most useful professional course I have taken in a lifetime. The material is well-written and readable. It has been real on-the-job training as I could read, see, hear, ask, discuss and practice when it fit my schedule."

Anne O'Connor, MSW, RSW, Sault Ste. Marie, ON


  • “This course taught me to be more active and assume the leadership role with both individuals and couples. The art of goal setting and respectful confrontation, understanding the emotional brain and dealing with difficult personalities are among my gains from this course. Ellyn's generosity in sharing her knowledge and her encouraging and supportive style have touched me deeply.”

    Umit Cetin, MA, Istanbul, TR
  • Barbara Green, LMFT, Palo Alto, CA
  • “I'm making progress with my toughest couple. We're now laughing together when I call them on their contributions. They leave with “challenges” of things to change and with big smiles. I feel a bunch more confident. I never would have been able to get this couple on the right path before I started learning here. YIPEE!”

    Ann Veilleux, MSW, LCSW,
    Madison, WI

As We Work Together For The Next Year Here’s What You’ll Receive….

“Since starting this course the one thing that has resonated in my clinical work is feeling that I have structure, and this I believe relates to the couple clarifying their goals for working with me. I'm excited to help couples put into words their desire for a better life together and for ongoing growth. Thank you.”

Sharon James, Counsellor and Relationship Therapist, Maroubra, NSW

Written Lessons: Every fifteen days you will receive a substantial written lesson in PDF format. You will learn how to address and solve specific problems based on the Developmental Model such as:

  • The Hostile-Angry Couple
  • The Conflict Avoidant Couple
  • The Passive Aggressive Partner
  • The Narcissistic Partner
  • The Self-Absorbed Partner
  • The Silently Disengaged Partner
  • The Addicted Partner
  • Lies, Betrayal, Affairs, and Infidelity

You will become skilled at working with couples many therapists shudder to see. You will welcome the difficult cases that colleagues refer to you!

The 24 lessons are strategically sequenced so you keep building your skills and interventions. This includes a wide range of topics including:

  • Goal-Setting for a Powerful Start
  • Assessment From an Attachment Theory Perspective
  • Assessment Tools to Diagnose the Couples Developmental Stage
  • Understanding Differentiation
  • Accessing the Emotional Brain For Rapid Change and Trauma Healing
  • Recognizing the Three Types of Motivation
  • Developing Empathy in Self-Absorbed or Narcissistic Partners
  • Resolving Intra-Psychic Impasses
  • Navigating Clashing Goals And Values Collisions

And much more!

Ongoing Discussions: After each lesson, I participate along with members in a secure membership area to discuss how to approach the thorny challenges presented in that lesson. You’ll be contributing to and learning from others as well as me. We don’t shy away from difficult issues like:

  • How to Integrate Individual Sessions Into Your Couples Work
  • How to Manage Confidentiality
  • How to Integrate Couples Therapy When One Partner Is in Early Recovery
  • How to Handle Sexual Desire Discrepancy
  • How to Handle Threats of Violence or Divorce

Conference Calls: Every month we meet as a group on the phone. I teach live and focus on clinical cases to enhance your perspective on challenging situations. These calls give you an opportunity to ask me your questions about new theories and interventions.

Audio Recordings: Each conference call is recorded and saved for you in a downloadable format.

Client Handouts: You’ll also receive exercises and handouts to use with your clients such as:

  • Uncovering Vulnerability and Shifting Negative Patterns
  • Couples Questionnaire for Diagnosing Each Partner’s Stage of Development
  • Setting Limits on Conflict
  • Fostering Empathy
  • Self-Assessment After a Fight

Members’ Clinical Cases: You’ll have a special area where you can post your own cases for ongoing consultation as well as having access to a private discussion group where you can interact with me and with your colleagues on specific challenging topics.

Bonus Calls: In our private website, you’ll find an invaluable library of our past bonus calls from experts including Janis Spring, Esther Perel, Stan Tatkin, Dan Siegel, and many more. And throughout the year there will be guest appearances from other specialists in couples therapy whose work complements what I am teaching.

Members Directory: List yourself, and use the directory to find other therapists to refer to around the world, as well as some who can refer to you. Your network of professionals and possible future friends just expanded.

Certificate of Completion: When you complete the training, we’ll issue you an attractive certificate suitable for framing, so that you can more easily convey your skills and expertise to clients.

I'm Excited to Get Started!

Sign me up for just $4.17/day

Why is The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy
so Important?

You may have studied or practiced other models at this point. But when you learn our Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, also known as the Bader-Pearson Model, you’ll have a core foundation in diagnosing, intervening, and significantly changing troubled relationships.

The model integrates couples’ development with the following three scientific areas of study as well as practical techniques you can start using right away:

“I was frustrated to see how attachment and differentiation models were often pitted against each other. Then I found this, and I knew I wanted to commit to being trained in The Developmental Model. I feel refueled as I continue to engage in the lessons, the blogs, the calls and my peer group."

Meg Luce, LMFT, Grass Valley, CA

Attachment Theory

The quality of early life experiences profoundly affects couples' relationships. You’ll become skilled at assessing each partner’s primary attachment pattern and learn immediate applications to help couples develop secure attachment.

Differentiation Theory

Understanding this theory will enable you to help couples manage their conflicts and differences with a foundation that will last them a lifetime. You will support the evolution of each partner, as well as the growth of the relationship.


One of the biggest breakthroughs in our profession is our recent knowledge that the mind can change the architecture of the brain. We teach cutting edge techniques and approaches to deal with early life trauma that is stored in the emotional brain and contributes to the pain couples inflict on each other. Changing their interpersonal process becomes much easier when you understand some neuroscience.

“I feel I now have a compass. I know where I want to go and feel more prepared to face the obstacles that lay ahead whatever they may be. The Developmental Model is great, and Ellyn is a great mentor. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge and expertise”

Jules Comeault, MA, Gatineau, QC

If you want to excel at working with couples, this program is your practical road map to crafting lasting interventions with:

  • The Hostile-Angry Couple
  • The Conflict Avoidant Couple
  • The Passive Aggressive Partner
  • The Narcissistic Partner
  • The Self-Absorbed Partner
  • The Silently Disengaged Partner
  • The Addicted Partner
  • Lies, Betrayal, Affairs, and Infidelity

This training can mean more confidence working with couples, more referrals, and more satisfied clients.

The Program is Strategically Sequenced

Throughout our year together, you’ll keep building your skills and interventions. This includes a wide range of topics including:

  • Goal-Setting for a Powerful Start
  • Assessment From an Attachment Theory Perspective
  • Assessment Tools to Diagnose the Couples Developmental Stage
  • Understanding Differentiation
  • Accessing the Emotional Brain For Rapid Change and Trauma Healing
  • Recognizing the Three Types of Motivation
  • Developing Empathy in Self-Absorbed or Narcissistic Partners
  • Resolving Intra-Psychic Impasses
  • Navigating Clashing Goals And Values Collisions

For most licenses this course fulfills the entire CE requirements for a whole licensing period.

“I choked over the price when I first considered taking the Couples Therapy training course and now I consider it invaluable.

Words can hardly express my gratitude to you and Pete. This has been the best investment in growth that I have ever made.

As a result of your mentoring I see my clients through different eyes and the joy of learning is tangible on my part and on theirs.”

Janet Congo, MFT, Coto de Caza, CA

How Much Does It Cost?

If you added up the value of everything you will receive – monthly conference calls, written lessons, guest experts, audio recordings, client handouts, clinical case reviews, bonus calls, and ongoing blog interactions – the cost would be over $13,000!

But instead, the program is priced at just $1,369 for the year (or $127 a month).

Many people spend that much for a fancy coffee on the way to work! If you pay for the full year upfront, you’ll receive a 10% discount.

  • Feel calm and 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.

You can make a bigger difference. So sign up now, work at your own pace, and get personal help along the way!

What You Receive In The Developmental Model Training Program
Value Per Item
Total Value
12 Live Training Sessions
with Dr. Ellyn Bader
8 Live Bonus Training Calls
with Guest Experts
7 Videos of Real Client Sessions by Dr. Ellyn Bader and Dr. Pete Pearson
90 Archived Training Calls
with Dr. Ellyn Bader
55 Archived Bonus Calls with
Guest Experts like Dan Siegel,
Esther Perel and others!
25 Client Handouts to Support
Your In-Session Work
Being part of a Supportive Therapist Community
Investing in your Professional and Personal Growth
Even More Priceless!
Value of the Program
is over $13,000
Total cost of The Developmental Model Training Program with Dr. Ellyn Bader
$127/month ($1,524) OR
one payment of $1,369 (includes 10% discount)


  • “Working with couples can be anxiety provoking. You never know what you are going to be confronted with. I can honestly say that I now feel confident and grounded in knowing that I have many options on how to manage a couples session. I feel a sense of empowerment that I’ve never felt before.”

    Elany Mueller, LMFT, Pasadena, CA

Frequently Asked Questions

Some other questions you may have about this program…

1. What about CE Credits?

Most healthcare professionals can earn 36 hours of Continuing Education credit by completing this course. Please read the course objectives, accreditation, and other information before registering.

2. Will this approach support how I work with my clients?

Yes! The integration of attachment theory, differentiation theory, and neuroscience has proven to be compatible with therapists I have trained throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. Our training receives consistent and enthusiastic feedback that it enhances and supports other approaches of working with couples.

3. I don’t have a lot of experience with couples. Will this training be too advanced?

Likely not. Over the years, the therapists who have gone through my training typically include novices through seasoned therapists. The feedback we get is that therapists on all levels appreciate the understandable ways our strategies and interventions can be immediately applied to their own practice.

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

Not unless you have done extensive training with me in the Developmental Model already. The consistent feedback I get, even from therapists who have been in long-term practice, is how valuable these concepts are along with the opportunity to get feedback as you integrate them with your actual clients.

5. Who is right for this training?

The training can benefit a wide variety of professionals who work with individuals in relationships or with couples. Past participants have included Psychologists, Clinical Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Marriage Counselors, Clergy, Mental Health Counselors, Relationship Coaches, and more.

6. I’m not that tech-savvy. Is the online part of the training program difficult to use?

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. So don’t let it scare you; jump right in!

7. How can I get my individual questions addressed?

You can ask questions throughout the training program. I stay on the monthly phone calls to answer all the questions you have, and my team also monitors the questions asked on the blog around the clock.

8. What makes this training different from taking a conventional online CE course?

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

Our training is different. We look forward to talking with you and answering your questions about clients you’re working with and interventions that we’ve seen successful. Therapists who have gone through our program also share they enjoy the support they receive from peers in our online community.

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

At a workshop or conference, you generally will not get your specific questions answered completely. It isn’t the environment where you can continue to ask deeper and deeper questions until they are answered. You can’t, generally, have conversations with the presenter as they have too much material to cover and too many people who want their attention. You cannot even 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.

However, our program is designed to be comprehensive. This is what makes us so different. Our training includes all of this and much more!

10. Why does this training extend over the course of a year?

In our experience, you will need this time to implement, experiment, and learn how to apply the interventions and strategies 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, you will need different feedback. A longer training program allows you to get support through your evolution. Most participants spend about 4 hours each month to read and digest the material and calls.

The truth is you need two things to be successful – not just with couples, but also 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.

11. What if several of us at an agency want to take the training?

Agency discounts are available for 3 or more people. Please call 1-877-327-5915 or contact us for more information.

My Iron Clad Guarantee:

I don't think anyone should have to pay for a group that isn't helping them. If at any time during the first 30 days you feel like you are not on the path to becoming a better couples therapist, I will promptly refund your full investment.

To make it clearer — in your first 30 days as a member you can…

  • Have a clear, non-pathological way to describe to your couples why they are struggling
  • Become more confident in your ability to conduct first sessions
  • Have diagnostic and assessment tools ready to use
  • Look forward to listening to – and participating in – Monthly Training Calls
  • Find value in learning and applying the Development Model of Couples Therapy
  • Become comfortable knowing how to take charge in your sessions

or I will refund your full investment.

If you'd like to excel in your work with couples, I'd like to work with you

We value your privacy and will never sell or rent your contact information.

Developmental Model Training Is Currenty Full.

To be notified when registration opens again, please enter your name and email address below.

Join the Waitlist

There are hundreds of therapist training courses and programs out there. But I’ve made it my #1 priority to make The Developmental Model the one place for ongoing, interactive education with feedback from me and therapists from over 35 countries. We don’t compete against one another; we support and encourage each other as we grow and practice new skills. It’s THE place for therapists who want to become exceptional at working with couples.

The maintain that high standard, I don’t let anyone join at any time. We’ve created a waiting list so you have the best experience possible.

Registration is now closed. But if you’d like to join the waiting list, enter your name and email address below. We will contact you if a space becomes available.

"My only regret is that I had not signed on sooner. I look back on a few couples I have seen over the years and wonder how different the outcome might have been if I'd known then what I know now.”

Helene Beddingfield, LMFT, Fair Oaks, CA

The Time Is Now

Your contribution to creating thriving relationships is so important, it deserves your full potential.

What excites me most is helping therapists like you grow inside and out.

Doing this work, you will encounter your own challenges while helping couples with theirs. And as you help them face their own ambivalences about intimacy, you yourself will grow. You will gain wisdom. You will emerge stronger from taking this journey.

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, Canada, and more than 30 other countries. The feedback is universally enthusiastic.

Graduates have even cited their ability to help as many as 60% more couples after taking the training.

These positive evaluations – not a false sense of bravado – allow me to guarantee that the training will contribute to your success.

If you’re ready to reach a little higher this year, enroll now.

I'm committed to your potential. Are you, too?

If so, don't wait to throw yourself into the unknown, and become more than you ever dreamed possible.

You are not alone,

Ellyn Bader

Ellyn Bader
P.S. Remember, this is a no-lose proposition. You're covered by my special 30-Day money-back guarantee.

More about Dr. Ellyn Bader

Ellyn Bader, Ph.D., is Co-Founder & Director of The Couples Institute and creators of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. Dr. Bader is widely recognized as an expert in couples therapy training. She has trained therapists throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Russia, Asia, South America, and Australia.

Ellyn has authored two books. The first one, In Quest of the Mythical Mate, was awarded the Clark Vincent Award by the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists for its outstanding contribution to the field of marital therapy and is now in its 18th printing. She has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including The Today Show and CBS Early Morning News, and she has been quoted in many publications including The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan.

Since 2006, Ellyn has led innovative couples therapy training programs online. Professionals from around the world connect with her through internet, conference calls, and blog discussions to study couples therapy.