Ellyn Bader

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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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6 years ago

good idea.

Vicki Lundgren
6 years ago

Thanks Ellyn. I find your insights helpful and your willingness to share them unusually generous.

6 years ago

Thank you Ellyn, You are so generous, wise and relational. Thanks so much for being the role model you are.

Ephraim Frankel, MFT, Milwaukee, WI, USA
Ephraim Frankel, MFT, Milwaukee, WI, USA
6 years ago

Thanks Ellyn for challenging my thinking here. Low motivation is such a fascinating, vital dynamic where some v intricate, empowering therapy and life experience can happen.
It’s always good to learn more about it.

Claudia Crawford
Claudia Crawford
6 years ago

Thanks Ellyn,

You are always raising issues with which it seems I am dealing. You are so generous with your time. This is an amazing opportunity and I am excited to participate.

6 years ago

I always appreciate your wisdom when it comes to challenging clients and situations!

Glenna Linder
6 years ago

I have benefited greatly from the information that you share online and from the material that I have bought from The Couples Institute. I am grateful and look forward to learning more from you over the years.

Lisa M. Stanton
6 years ago

Ellyn, thank you for all you do to help us! I just answered all of your questions re a partner’s motivation, but couldn’t find a place to type in my name. Hope you can tell it’s from me. Lisa

Maggie Matheson
6 years ago

Thanks Ellyn. I came to a workshop of yours and Peters in Melbourne some years ago and found it to be one of the most useful workshops on couples therapy I have ever been to. I use your techniques and suggestions often and feel they are so wise, sensible and down to earth. Thank you!
Low motivation is a really interesting one. It seems that so often couples (and individuals) are happy to sit in the room with you and feel that’s all they need to do!!

Denise Carlin, M.S.
6 years ago

Thanks for your hard work, your dedication to help others, and your willingness to share your knowledge. Your ideas are clear and thought-provoking, and help me to find more effective ways of working with clients I appreciate hearing from you and I appreciate the opportunity to participate!

Sheila Longerbeam
6 years ago

Thanks, Ellen. I look forward to your comments. I had never isolated motivation as an area to target in treatment. But it is of course, an important one.

6 years ago


Bea Schild, Psychotherapist and Counsellor, Berne Switzerland

Thanks Ellyn, I am very glad, I get a chance to participate.

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.