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

After completing this course you will be able to:

  1. Integrate core concepts from Attachment, Differentiation and Neuroscience into work with couples.
  2. Diagnose the developmental stage of a couple’s relationship.
  3. Select stage-appropriate treatment interventions in your work with couples.
  4. Describe how to actively control and contain conflict in your office with hostile, angry partners.
  5. Decide when couples therapy is the treatment of choice and know how to get couples work off to a strong start, while avoiding common pitfalls.
  6. Identify and assess early attachment patterns and explain to couples why understanding this is crucial to how they interact with one another.
  7. Recognize four common ways couples manage anxiety that inhibit their growth and result in chronic problems of depression, withdrawal or addictions.
  8. Describe entrenched blame and withdrawal patterns.
  9. Apply effective empathy between partners who have become disengaged.
  10. Describe to couples the role of the limbic system in increasing the intensity of their fighting.
  11. Differentiate between differentiation and individuation.
  12. Locate vulnerability to shift entrenched hostility.
  13. Discuss the role of the “limbic brain” in couples conflict.
  14. Establish effective treatment plans with passive aggressive partners.
  15. Explain the origin of passive aggressive dynamics.
  16. Develop effective limit setting with the spouse of the passive aggressive partner.
  17. Utilize effective repair strategies for couples recovering from an affair.
  18. Utilize Gestalt methods to resolve internal conflicts.
  19. Examine individual conflicts that impede relationship growth.


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

The course costs $147.00 per month for 12 months. A 10% 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, optional peer consultation groups, 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.


How to Get Your Completion Certificate

The Institute for Better Health (IBH) 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 our technical support team at (800) 258-8411.

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 IBH-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 IBH 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 continuing education activity is sponsored by the Institute for Better Health (IBH), a 501(c)(3), non-profit, educational organization in Santa Rosa, CA, and is approved for CE/CME credit by the following organizations. This course is jointly sponsored by IBH and the Couples Institute. In all cases, IBH, as the approved sponsor, maintains responsibility for all programs. Certifications by these accrediting organizations are continuously renewed. Consequently, the following list is subject to modification following the date of this update, June 2019.


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.


Institute for Better Health is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0063. Counselors may earn 36 contact hours. IBH is approved by the State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation (License #168-000119). IBH has been approved by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists to provide CE offerings for MFTs. Provider Number 154. CA State Counselors and MFTs may receive CE credit hours through reciprocity with APA.


The Institute for Better Health accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, (BRN Provider CEP#2672) for 36 CE hours.


The Institute for Better Health has been approved by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (WESPSB), a member of NASDTEC, as a Clock Hour Provider for Educators. Learner may claim 36 clock hours for attending this conference. Please contact your individual state boards for information regarding reciprocity and any additional requirements.


Institute for Better Health is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


Institute for Better Health SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of CE for licensed Social Workers. This course has been approved by the NY State Board for approval for 36 contact hours. Provider #0091. As an approved continuing education provider for the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners, IBH offers continuing education for Texas licensed social workers in compliance with the rules of the board. License No. 3876; MC 1982, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714, (512) 719-3521.

Attendees who registered for the course prior to June 1, 2019 are eligible to earn ASWB credits. Unfortunately, due to recent policy changes, this course is not offered for ASWB credit for anyone starting the course after 6/1/19. Institute for Better Health, #1426, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 3/16/2017 – 3/16/2020. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 36 clinical continuing education clock hours.

NOTE: This advanced workshop includes descriptions, videotapes, audiotapes, and/or reenactments of actual therapy sessions. Some of the case material may contain graphic descriptions of violence, sexual activity, or other content which could be disturbing, especially to participant who themselves have had similar experiences. The workshop is intended for healthy professionals and advanced students, who participate in at their own risk. If you find portions of the program upsetting, or if you need assistance for any other reason, please notify the instructor or program coordinator.

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

Institute for Better Health, Inc. 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 (UNA-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 individuals and companies who have a financial interest in activity content.

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 commercial interest.

Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson have no relevant financial relationships.


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.

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.