Ellyn Bader


cofronting hypocrisyEarlier this summer I started a blog series about hypocrisy in couples therapy. I was pleased to see so many of you respond on the blog sharing your own examples of these vexing moments and hypocritical binds in your practice.

I promised some follow-up. So here it is, including a video I prepared on the subject.

Many of the partners we see in couples work have early developmental issues that move them to create binds for each other. Four common developmental issues are:


  1. Basic trust. When basic trust is missing, partners fear they are not loveable. They become afraid when their lovers are absent or withdrawn and often create binds that demand their lovers prove them unconditionally loveable.
  2. Problems with self-other differentiation. These partners desire highly merged relationships and angrily or more subtly create binds to coerce their partners to comply.
  3. Limited ability to self-soothe. These partners often demand “mind reading,” stay agitated and make unflattering decisions about the other.
  4. Difficulty with self-activation. All partners who create hypocritical binds have difficulty in this area. The bind in fact includes a rationalization for them not to take action.

These developmental issues also contribute to partners having difficulty knowing what they desire, activating positive energy to pursue desires, and raging at partners who seem to “get more of their desires realized.” What’s even worse is that these developmental issues fuel the creation of binds, hypocrisies and paradoxes that inhibit the long-term growth and development of the relationship.

The tragedy, of course, is that both partners lose out on the promise that brought them together.

To get us into this topic more deeply, I’ve prepared a short video reviewing the information from the original blog post and discussing 4 common types of hypocrisy, with examples of each. Go to Hypocrisy Video  to see the video and then add your thoughts on the blog.

During the next month I will follow up with some short emails continuing this discussion.

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”
― Warren W. Wiersbe


Ellyn Bader, Ph.D., is Co-Founder & Director of The Couples Institute and creator of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. 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 internet, conference calls and blog discussions to study couples therapy.

Ellyn’s first book, "In Quest of the Mythical Mate," won 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."

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