Ellyn Bader

This page, organized by the type of program, summarizes the various couples resources that are offered by The Couples Institute. These are in addition to couples therapy, which is described here.

Couples Workshops

Sign up to join Michelle Wangler Joy, M.A., MFT, for the next Couples Communication Workshop to learn skills to overcome stubborn relationship challenges.

Invite one of our therapists to speak to your couples, parents, or family-focused community group by contacting our office here.


Initiating Calm Discussions

In this e-book by Ellyn Bader, Ph.D. and Peter Pearson, Ph.D., you will discover three different perspectives for every discussion. You’ll also learn two specific roles you and your partner can use to improve challenging discussions.  And you’ll get a six-step exercise that prepares you to bring up even the most sensitive topic. Tell me more…


Tell Me No Lies

This book by Ellyn Bader, Ph.D. and Peter Pearson, Ph.D. presents insightful case examples of couples who illustrate typical behavior patterns. You will follow along as two couples—John and Sarah, and Paul and Mary—work through issues to build stronger marriages. Becoming conscious of the lies within your marriage through an understanding of when, how and why you lie, will help you make your marriage stronger. Tell me more…

Book Study Guide

Return to Eden: The Adam and Eve Guide to Improving Your Relationship

Created by best-selling author Bruce Feiler, Dr. Ellyn Bader, and Dr. Peter Pearson, this “Return to Eden” study guide is designed to be used with Bruce’s latest book, The First Story: Adam, Eve and Us. The guide is a first-of-its-kind to helping you deepen, strengthen, and enrich your relationship by drawing on the many commonalities between the story of Adam and Eve, as told in the Bible and throughout history, and the developmental approach to couples therapy. Click here to get it.

Audio Programs

Beyond I-Messages

In this downloadable one hour audio, Pete and Ellyn teach you an innovative approach to discussing challenging topics. Listen or read to learn a unique structure to guide you through your toughest topics. Then you and your partner can start discussing difficulties without triggering defensive reflexes in each other. Learn more.

My Passive Aggressive Partner is Driving Me Nuts!

Before retiring as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Peter Pearson developed an audio workshop, of over 100 minutes, that shows you how to recognize core passive aggressive characteristics, how to understand the origins of this behavior, and how to help you and your partner set positive goals. You'll hear suggestions for what you can do to handle this frustrating dynamic. You'll learn how to make significant changes that can improve your life together. Learn more.

Soothing Moments: Rapid Relationship Repair

Pete and Ellyn’s teleseminar called “Rapid Relationship Repair,” is available as a downloadable audio file and transcript. Just by listening or reading, you will learn what to say and do to alleviate pain more rapidly, how to move past the pain, and how to enjoy more closeness with your partner. Learn more.


“Curiosity and Courage” on Together Magazine

“Why We Lie and How to Get Back to the Truth” on Relationship Alive

Other recommendations

Intimacy After Infidelity

Marriage Rules

Sexual Intelligence

Click here to see a list of other websites with information for couples.


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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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.