445 Burgess Drive, Ste. 150
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(650) 327-5915


We have some news to share with you. For the past 34 years, Pete and I have dedicated our careers to creating quality couples therapy services and training other therapists to do the same. This has been our passion. Yet over the last few years, we have begun to feel that our professional focus is spread too thin. We have increasingly been doing more training, education and consulting. This has left us with less time to develop Couples Institute's counseling services.

When looking at how to give both passions equal opportunity for growth, we've decided to pass the reins to a hand-picked colleague whom we have worked with closely for over a decade. She will continue to grow and improve Couples Institute's counseling services. For us. this is the best of both worlds: we have the opportunity to build areas we are excited about while also mentoring another therapist to continue growing a different aspect of the company we love.

We would like to give you a brief introduction to Stacy Lee, who will be continuing the counseling services. Stacy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked with us at The Couples Institute for over a decade. Not only is Stacy a skilled clinician, she has a great business sense and is empathetic and action-oriented. She also has an impressive vision for the future of The Couples Institute Counseling Services, and we are excited to walk alongside her as she continues to grow the company we built.

The Developmental Model, which is the foundation of The Couples Institute, is in Stacy's bones as well as ours. This ensures that it will continue to be the backdrop of our counseling services and that all the therapists at The Couples Institute Counseling Services will continue to receive the same level of training we have prided ourselves on.

This new chapter begins January 1, 2019. You might be wondering what this means for you. Nothing very different. You will still continue to see your therapist; and the fees, schedules, and office locations will still be determined by your therapist. The person who has handled the billing will stay the same as well. One change will be the name that shows up on your credit card statements or who you write the check to. This information will be given to you as we get closer to January.

We look forward to this new chapter and to you continuing to receive the same quality services that have helped thousands of couples over the years.


Ellyn Bader, Ph.D.
Founder and Director

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.