The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy: Integrating Attachment, Differentiation, and Neuroscience

Course Objectives:
After completing this course you will be able to:
  1. Describe how to integrate core concepts from Attachment, Differentiation and Neuroscience into work with couples.
  2. Identify stage-appropriate treatment interventions in your work with couples.
  3. Describe how to actively control and contain conflict in your office with hostile, angry partners.
  4. Decide when couples therapy is the treatment of choice and discuss how to get couples work off to a strong start, while avoiding common pitfalls.
  5. Identify and assess early attachment patterns and explain to couples why understanding this is crucial to how they interact with one another.
  6. Identify four common ways couples manage anxiety that inhibit their growth and result in chronic problems of depression, withdrawal or addictions.
  7. Describe entrenched blame and withdrawal patterns.
  8. Discuss ways to apply effective empathy between partners who have become disengaged.
  9. Describe to couples the role of the limbic system in increasing the intensity of their fighting.
  10. Differentiate between differentiation and individuation.
  11. Discuss the role of the “limbic brain” in couples conflict.
  12. Explain how to establish effective treatment plans with passive aggressive partners.
  13. Explain the origin of passive aggressive dynamics.
  14. Develop effective limit setting with the spouse of the passive aggressive partner.
  15. Utilize effective repair strategies for couples recovering from an affair.
  16. Utilize Gestalt methods to resolve internal conflicts.
  17. Identify individual conflicts that impede relationship growth.
  18. Describe the 3 stages of infidelity treatment
  19. Utilize neuroscience principles to educate and motivate partners to start managing their emotional reactivity
  20. Explain the self capacity development needed for couples to negotiate effectively
  21. Explain two types of conflict-avoidant partners, their challenges, presenting problems and principles of treatment.
  22. Discuss predictable breakdowns in roles in the Initiator-Inquirer Process and how to intervene when breakdowns occur.
  23. Describe how to identify couples at different developmental stages, and recognize two types that are arrested at the first stage of development.
  24. Demonstrate how to screen for violence
  25. Demonstrate how to confront narcissistic defenses without creating resistance
  26. Recognize when and how developmental trauma or relationship trauma is impeding relationship growth

Course fees, including what is covered, and deadlines for cancellations and refunds

The course costs $189.00 per month for 12 months. A 12% discount is available for participants who choose to pay for the entire year at one time.

For full course details, and to register, click here now.

Registration fee covers 2 written lessons per month delivered online, one 90-minute clinical call per month, recordings of past conference calls, client handouts, bonus calls, ongoing discussion on blogs and conference calls, and 15% discount on all Couples Institute products.

We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. If in the first month you read the lessons or listen to any of the special training calls, and then decide not to continue, we will refund your money. If you need to withdraw later in the year, just tell us and you’ll never be billed again. You will have continued access to all materials until 30 days from your last payment, and your credit card will not be charged again.

General Instructions/Requirements for CE/CME Participants

You must attend the course in full in order to receive CE credit. No partial credit will be awarded. This course is being offered for non-live distance learning CE credit. You do not have to attend live sessions- but must watch all recordings in order to earn credit. You will have to pass a post test with a score of 80% or higher and submit a course evaluation in order to earn your CE Certificate.

How to Get Your Completion Certificate

Praxis Continuing Education and Training has created a user-friendly, time-efficient online process for evaluating the course and receiving your certificate of completion. Three steps are described below. If you have problems or questions, contact us at
  1. After enrolled in the class, you will receive an instructional page with a specific web link included to access your post course completion website. By following this link, you will arrive on the Join Event webpage.
  2. In the first field provided, enter the email address you used to register for the course.
    • If this is your first time logging into the event page, you will need to complete all required fields including your address.
    • Returning attendees only need to enter your email address. Type your email address and hit ENTER on your keyboard. This will direct returning attendees straight to your customer account page.
  3. The course you recently completed will be pre-populated into your account. Click on the “Certificate” button located below the title of the course.
  4. A pop-up menu will appear with the next steps. You will need to complete these steps from top to bottom (post-test, evaluation, affidavit).
  5. Click “Download your Certificate,” or have your certificate emailed to you. You may return at any time to reprint your certificate if needed.

For Other Questions or Grievances

If at any point you have any other concerns, grievances, or questions please contact The Couples Institute office by phone at (650) 327-5915 or via email at
Please also let us know if you would like to request accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy: Integrating Attachment, Differentiation and Neuroscience

36 CE hours
This professional continuing education activity was sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and co-sponsored by the Couples Institute. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, who has been approved as a provider of continuing education by the organizations listed below, maintains responsibility for the educational activity offered and for following the standards and regulations for the organizations listed below. This non-live distance learning activity is approved for 36 CE hours. Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering.


In that case, please contact your state licensing board to determine its acceptance of reciprocity with the organizations listed below. Not all state-level boards accept home study/independent study for continuing education nor do they all accept the national-level of accreditation listed below. In many cases, if your state is not specifically outlined below, you are covered for CE approval through reciprocity with another national board listed below. Please check with your state licensing board to confirm approval. Rules vary state by state. If your state does not accept any approvals outlined below, you may be able to self-submit the course to your board for approval. This distance learning homestudy course is approved for 36 hours of CE/CME credit.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:

Joint Accreditation: In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc and the Couples Institute. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 36 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.


Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.

Social Workers:

As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. Social workers completing this course receive 36 clinical continuing education credits.

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

Praxis Continuing Education and Training is responsible for the content, quality and scientific integrity of all CE/CME activities certified for credit. When an educational activity is offered for medical (CME), Nursing (ANCC) and/or Psychology (APA) continuing education credit, participants must be informed as to the source, amount, nature, and disposition of any funding used to support the activity, whether in the form of educational grants, cash contributions, or in-kind contributions. Individuals in a position to influence course content must also disclose whether they have one or more relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies.

We define ineligible companies as those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. There is no minimum financial threshold; individuals must disclose all financial relationships, regardless of the amount, with ineligible companies. We ask that discloses are made regardless of whether the individual views the financial relationships as relevant to the education. For more information on the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, please visit

All those in a position to control the content of an education activity are asked to disclose any relevant financial relationships they have with any ineligible companies.

There is no commercial support for this activity.
None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.
CE course launch 2/15/2022
Expiration/review date 2/14/2025

Technical Requirements

Participants must have an email address and access to a computer with internet.


This course is for mental health professionals at a beginner level with a year or more experience in couples therapy.

Course Agenda:

Lessons are delivered on the 1st and 15th of each month for a 12 month period. Bonus calls and videos are not a required part of this CE activity. Each lesson below is about 45 minutes. You are not required to attend the monthly clinical training session live. You may watch the recording at your convenience.

Month 1.

Month 2.

Month 3.

Month 4.

Month 5.

Month 6.

Month 7.

Month 8.

Month 9.

Month 10.

Month 11.

Month 12.

Course Presenters

Dr. Ellyn Bader

Psychotherapist, Founder of The Couples Institute® and Creator of The Developmental Model

Dr. Ellyn Bader is one of the early founders of “couples therapy,” as well as a recognized thought leader and trailblazer in relationship therapy worldwide. Acting on years of exploration and therapy sessions, she discovered that bringing the couple together in sessions was far more effective than working with each partner individually. When she took her idea to her peers, many laughed and said it wasn’t possible. Fast-forward to present day, and we can hardly imagine the world without couples therapy.

Through her informal research and thousands of sessions, Ellyn co-created “The Developmental Model,” a revolutionary approach that is highly adaptable to the complex needs of two people growing, changing, and staying connected in a relationship. The model has deeply influenced the therapeutic world and is currently used in 55 countries. It is taught by many graduate programs using her award-winning textbook In Quest of the Mythical Mate, which has been reprinted over 20 times.

Ellyn co-founded The Couples Institute® (1984) and co-authored Tell Me No Lies (2001) with her husband Dr. Peter Pearson, and the two have been a frequently trusted resource by TV, radio, podcast and print publications, appearing on Nightline, NPR, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Good Morning America, O Magazine, Cosmopolitan and over 70 others.

She continues to evolve the field of couples therapy through her tireless commitment. She offers world-class training to thousands of therapists on applying “The Developmental Model” and becoming masterful at the art of couples therapy.

Ellyn currently lives in California, and spends her time playing tennis, as well as working on new breakthrough techniques for speedy and long-lasting change for couples. She finds great meaning in traveling to Kenya to help build schools and establish counseling programs in refugee communities for traumatized children and families.

Katherine Waddell, LMFT

Katherine Waddell, LMFT,  is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Couples Center of the Pioneer Valley, a group practice in Southern New England that is based on the Developmental Model.
Having specialized in couples work for over 25 years, she delights in providing clinical consultation, teaching and training to couples therapists and organizations locally and nationally. She also specializes in Discernment Counseling with couples on the brink of divorce, Addictions and Recovery,  and is an avid practitioner of EMDR, bringing aspects of the Adaptive Information Processing Model into her couples work as couples struggle with trauma.
One of her favorite things to do is to assist therapists in learning the Developmental Model in manageable chunks, and helping therapists new to the model incorporate it into their own unique strengths and styles.

Kelly Scharver, LPC

Kelly Scharver, LPC, specializes in developmental model couples counseling and owns a private practice in Virginia Beach, VA. She has been an active member of the online Couples Institute training program since 2012. She actively uses the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model to help couples unveil what is keeping them stuck and guide them to positive growth. Kelly is passionate about working with couples and continually stretches herself personally and professionally to enrich her skill-set. Kelly has a MA in Professional Counseling and BA in Psychology and Fine Arts.
Kelly also has in-depth training in Re-decision Therapy and energy psychology protocols. She has found combining these modalities within the Developmental Model structure allows her to work deeply and effectively with couples. She is also been in partnership with her husband for over 20 years and has two daughters. When she isn’t with her family or working with couples she can be found playing beach volleyball or SUP surfing.

Nancy St. John, MIACP

I have worked as a couples counsellor for almost 15 years and have a busy couples therapy practice. I became a member of The Couples Institute in 2010 when I joined Ellyn's online training course. At the time I had no idea how life-changing this decision would be! I took part in the Couples Institute Master Mentoring course in 2016 and 2018. Being mentored by Ellyn and Pete, absorbing their wisdom, forming deep friendships, and being inspired by fellow mentees are all cherished experiences. I am also an integrative clinical supervisor and specialize in consulting with and supervising therapists who wish to integrate couples therapy into their practices. Couples therapy is my passion. I teach the Developmental Model in supervision groups and give presentations on different aspects of couples therapy for The Couples Institute. I have trained in many of the leading couples therapy approaches: RLT, EFT, Imago, The Gottman Method, The Doherty Approach and Discernment Counselling. I have trained in Transactional Analysis and Redecision Therapy and am also certified in EMDR and CBT and love finding ways to integrate aspects of all these approaches into the Developmental Model. I was born in Chicago and have lived most of my life in Ireland.

Sue Diamond, M.A.

Sue Diamond, M.A., is the Founder and Clinical Director of The Good Life Therapy Centre and is an experienced therapist with 30+ years in the field. She first trained with Dr. Bader in 1994-95 and has for the past decade been an assistant in Ellyn's online therapist training and a member of Pete & Ellyn's Master Mentorship group for the past 8 years. She is passionate about this work and is committed to training therapists in the Vancouver area in order to enhance their skills and confidence in working with couples and to build a referral network of Developmentally trained couples therapists. She is the Founder & CEO of Good Life Recovery, a brand-new online membership site for entrepreneurs/professionals in recovery. She has put her 30+ years as both an entrepreneur in recovery and a psychotherapist into a holistic formula for change. Sue is also a committed student of Kriyayoga meditation and spends time each year studying in India. She integrates the wisdom of Eastern philosophy and practices with her western academic training to create a more holistic and healing approach to her work.

Tammy Van Hinte, MA, RCC

Tammy Van Hinte, MA, RCC, lives in Victoria, BC, and has been working in the helping profession since 1985. She did front line social work for many years, then became a Family Law Mediator specializing in separation/divorce mediation. Tammy completed her Masters in Counselling Psychology and now she has a private practice in relationship counselling. She works with couples who want to make their relationship work, as well as couples and individuals who are addressing relationship issues pertaining to separation and divorce. Tammy is also trained as a Discernment Counsellor offering a structured process for couples who are on the brink of divorce to assist them to find clarity and confidence about the future of their marriage.