Relationship Counseling for You

San Francisco, San Mateo, Redwood City, Menlo Park, San Jose, Campbell

It’s not easy to ask for help with your relationship. We want to make the most of your time and interest while you’re on our site to help you decide what support you need and how you’d like to get it.

First off, I’m Dr. Peter Pearson. My wife Dr. Ellyn Bader and I founded The Couples Institute in 1984, and we have each been counseling couples for over 30 years. We actually met back in 1982 due to our shared interest in family work, while we were facilitating a workshop for adolescents and families.

Listen below if you’d like to hear more about us and our network of therapists in the San Francisco Bay Area.

From infidelity to sexual desire and intimacy issues, to major communication breakdowns and conflict resolution, we‘ve been able to help over a thousand couples between the two of us. We know a lot of ways to help resolve conflict and negotiate solutions that satisfy both partners. We not only work to solve current problems but to give you a foundation of skills that will last a lifetime.

In our time working with couples we’ve learned that couples improve their relationships faster with a thorough understanding of the dynamics underlying their behavior, and we’re able to explain this in unusually clear terms.

So, we created an experience- and theoretical-based model that helps couples across a broad range of issues, specific to the stage that each partner is in at the time. It’s called the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. We are continuously recognized for this innovative approach and its results, and we train hundreds of therapists around the world in it each year.

We utilize the latest research in brain science to enable you to understand why you do what you do in stressful interactions and to help you learn new, more effective responses. We also offer techniques that are specific for your particular situation and your stage of relationship.

These stages and struggles, while extremely tough at times, are normal.

At The Couples Institute we know that couples relationships are challenging; yet we believe enormous growth is possible. We exist to help couples flourish and build stronger families with loving role models for children - and to prevent premature and unnecessary divorces.

We’d like to help you and your partner. Your issue might be something occurring just under the surface of the relationship, or it could be hidden within negative cycles of fighting and disconnection that have lasted for years.

Frequently, we work with people who:

  • Don’t know how to move forward after one partner had an affair
  • Are stuck in endless circles of blaming and hostility with their partner
  • Have lost sight of the reason they’re with their partner, and need to find a way to reconnect, or decide if it’s time to end the relationship or marriage
  • Aren’t sure how to navigate the waters of "couplehood" after having a new baby
  • Are wondering if they’re as happy as they should be, though unable to pinpoint an exact issue

Here’s what you get when you’re a client of The Couples Institute.

  • A specialized and expertly trained couples therapist working for your best interests
  • Membership to a large online library of articles and audios to complement what you’re working on in therapy, and to allow you to progress on your own
  • A copy of our book “Tell Me No Lies” upon request
  • A 15% discount on all of our resources for couples, to support your journey during and after therapy

Any of these can help make the most of your time in therapy, so that you can get to a better place in your relationship sooner. We’re all for that.

We hope that you’ll sign up below for a free, no obligation consultation, so you can know if The Couples Institute is a good fit for you.

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We wish you the very best in your relationship journey,

Pete and Ellyn



P.S. Here are some comments from partners we’ve helped:

“I thought we were through, and now I think we have 75 more years ahead of us.” Alex

“The workshop has had a profound effect on our relationship. This is the first time in years that I believe a change is possible.” Jeannie