Discover How to Treat High-Conflict and Conflict-Avoidant Couples with the Power of the Developmental ModeL

Increase your confidence and excel in your couples therapy skills when working with challenging couples…

An online course with International couples therapy expert, Dr. Ellyn Bader from the esteemed Couples Institute

A Self-Study Course with 10 hours of pre-recorded content.

Problems Therapists Have Working with Conflicted Couples

  • You shy away from practicing couples therapy because you find it difficult to deal with hostile or conflict-avoidant couples.
  • You practice couples therapy but lack confidence doing it.
  • You’re not happy with your success with conflicted couples.

The good news is that you can become competent at helping couples with anger by participating in this couples therapy training.

“I love my work with couples. Instead of feeling dread when a challenging couple enters my office, I feel excited and can’t wait to get to work with them.”

“Before I started training in the Developmental Model, I often felt completely overwhelmed when working with couples, especially those who would attack each other in my office. I did not have the skills to contain their conflict and stop the painful reenactments they repeated with each other.

Thankfully, I found the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy and my couples therapy work was transformed. Since working with this model for the past 9 years, I have become a passionate, skilled, and well-respected couples therapist and trainer in The Developmental Model.

I love my work with couples. Instead of feeling dread when a challenging couple enters my office, I feel excited and can’t wait to get to work with them.”

Sue Diamond

Addictions and Couples Therapist; Certified Developmental
Couples Therapist & Trainer, Vancouver, BC

Therapy with Couples Can be Daunting

Intensely Hostile Couples Can Cause Even Experienced Couples Therapists To Want To Run For The Hills Or Become Paralyzed With Fear.

When angry and bitter couples start acting out their anger in the therapy room, it can feel like bullets are flying around so fast that it feels impossible to stop them.

Working with these difficult couples can lead to feelings of incompetency and severely hamper your ability to help them.

Treating Couples Who Avoid Conflict Are Often More Challenging To Work With Than High-Anger Couples.

This fact may surprise you.

Conflict-avoidant couples may appear easier to work with because their anger isn’t explicitly expressed. Hence, they are often not as overwhelming or scary to do therapy with.

You may feel more in control of sessions with the conflict-avoidant couple but still find it difficult to move them forward. These couples typically have a deep investment in hiding or suppressing any intensity. Breaking through their denial is far from easy.

“Thanks to Ellyn’s course, I learned how to lead and structure sessions with hostile couples so they can stop hurting each other and make effective changes.”

“Ellyn’s training helped me tremendously. Before I took her awesome course I lacked the skills to work with couples effectively. I was intimidated with hostile couples and often didn’t realize the problems that my conflict avoidant couples were not revealing. They just seemed “nice”.

Thanks to Ellyn’s course, I discovered how to lead and structure sessions with hostile couples so they stop hurting each other. I also now know how to help conflict avoidant couples bring their conflicts to the surface so they can be resolved.

I now specialize exclusively in couples therapy and love it! I am forever grateful to Ellyn, Pete, and the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy.”

Kelly Scharver

Couples Counselor,
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Become a Confident Leader in the Therapy Room -
Be Effective Even With the Most Conflicted Couples

This online course will equip you with the essential knowledge, skills, and tools required for helping couples resolve anger, saving many of their relationships.

The course offers a framework and methods that will ground you in your work with couples, helping you become a more confident and effective couples therapist.

You’ll be highly respected by your clients and colleagues. Your reputation will grow as will your caseload if you’re have a therapy private practice.


Who Can Benefit From This Couples Therapy Course?

Couples Therapists

Like other experienced therapists who train with Dr. Bader, you might be surprised to find out how much you can improve your skills when dealing with angry and conflict-avoidant clients.

New Couples Therapists Or Those Wanting to Become a Couples Therapist

If you’re new to couples therapy, this training will provide tools and a grounding in how to work with anger in couples therapy. You’ll be thankful to have these tools and skills at your disposal as you gain experience in couples therapy.

Individual Therapists

Deepening your understanding of how partners provoke anger in each other will prevent you, as an individual therapist, from falling into the trap of getting pulled solely into one clients’ perspective. This increased awareness will make you a much better individual therapist.

The Benefits of This Couples Therapy Training

  • Overcome fears and insecurities about working with hostile or conflict-avoidant couples. Feel confident that you can handle couples’ anger.
  • Avoid the common traps that couples therapists fall into. Make your couples sessions work for your clients, instead of against them.
  • Create developmental growth in each partner and avoid having clients who tell their friends and colleagues, “All that therapist did is let us fight”.
  • Manage your own “anger triggers” and establish greater control in the therapy room.
  • Feel confident and proud knowing that you’re helping couples resolve anger successfully.

1 payment - $297


2 payments - $135


The Developmental Model - An Internationally Respected and Extensively Practiced Method of Couples Therapy

Many models of couples therapy focus solely on the dynamics of the couple relationship.

The Developmental Model helps couples build strong relationships by addressing both the intrapsychic problems of the individuals within the relationship and interpersonal dynamics between the partners.

This integration makes it easier to improve couples relationships and help the couple grow as individuals.

The Developmental Model integrates:

Attachment Theory

The developmental model helps couples therapists assess each partner’s attachment pattern, and then provides strategies for helping couples develop a more secure attachment.

Differentiation Theory

This theory shows couples therapists how to help couples manage their differences and grow as a dyad,
so their relationship does not
become stagnant or wounding.


The developmental model teaches couples therapists to utilize
some of the latest findings on the brain and make those easy for their clients to understand and use to help them improve their relationship.

“Ellyn provides great value for the cost of her courses.
She is a skilled and authentic therapist and a great trainer.”

“Ellyn’s Developmental Model is very helpful when working with couples. I really like how she focuses on attachment and differentiation. A lot of couples have poor boundaries, past trauma, past developmental deficits, and blame each other for their problems, etc. Her model identifies these issues and provides a structure for working with them right from the first session.

I use her Initiator-Inquirer exercise regularly with couples and find it hugely helpful. It is deeper and more sophisticated than most other listening exercises I have used with couples. Ellyn provides great value for the cost of her courses. She is a skilled and authentic therapist and a great trainer.”

Gina Vanderham

Marriage and Family Therapist,
Vancouver, B.C.


Dr. Ellyn Bader, Co-founder of The Developmental Model, is Internationally Recognized as a Leader in Couples Therapy Training

Ellyn has trained thousands of couples therapists across North America, Australia, Europe and South America. She is also the author of 2 successful books.

Ellyn’s textbook, In Quest of the Mythical Mate, is now in it’s 18th printing. It has been used in graduate schools in the US and Canada since 1988. It won the Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists for its outstanding contribution to the field of marital therapy.

Ellyn and her husband, Peter have successfully been practicing couples therapy for over 30 years.

Ellyn and her husband have 10 therapists trained in the Developmental Model, who work with them throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Ellyn is a therapist who practices what she preaches.

She has been married to couples therapist, Dr. Peter Pearson, her co-founder of the Couples Institute for over 40 years. Ellyn and Peter have built a strong marriage by applying the principles of the Developmental Model to their relationship.

Here’s what you’ll discover in this online course:


Overview Of The Developmental Model Of Couples Therapy (90 Minutes)

  • The developmental stages of couples’ relationships and how to use them to facilitate growth in couples therapy.
  • What is differentiation and why it matters in healing troubled relationships.
  • A 5-minute diagnostic exercise for assessing the developmental stage of any couple.
  • 6 criteria to help you choose what to say and when to say it, so your interventions are targeted to each partner.


How To Work With Hostile Angry Couples (90 Minutes)

  • Recognize and confront 5 untenable behaviors used by angry partners and get their commitment to stop using these damaging behaviors.
  • Use a 3-step process to help partners set goals for themselves rather than insist that their partners change.
  • Discover 10 principles for managing your sessions with fighting couples.
  • Develop a structured treatment plan to contain the couples’ hostility, push development, and facilitate enduring improvements.
  • Use the Initiator-Inquirer Process to promote differentiation and build compassion and empathy within the couple.


How To Work With Conflict-Avoidant Couples (90 Minutes)

  • Common presenting problems of conflict-avoidant couples and how to deal with them.
  • How to recognize the 2 types of conflict avoidant couples and why one type can be difficult to identify.
  • Why conflict-avoidant couples are particularly difficult for therapists.
  • The essential core principles of treatment for helping avoidant couples.
  • Key traits that you need to cultivate within yourself to be successful with conflict-avoidant couples.

2 pre-recorded q&a sessions

2 Pre-Recorded Sessions Where Dr. Bader Answers Common Questions (120 Minutes)

This course includes 2 pre-recorded sessions where Dr. Bader asks some of the most common questions. If after watching all the modules and the bonus material, you still have questions, you can easily scan the questions in these sessions looking for your answer.

“I feel a sense of empowerment that I’ve never felt before, and that means everything when doing the difficult work of couples therapy.”

“Ellyn has helped me to become a competent couples therapist. Working with couples can be anxiety provoking. You never know what you’re going to be confronted with and how someone is going to react to what their partner might say or do.

I now feel confident and grounded in knowing that I have many options on how to manage hostile-angry and conflict-avoidant couples. I feel a sense of empowerment that I’ve never felt before, and that means everything when doing the difficult work of couples therapy.”

Elany Mueller

Pasadena, California

You’ll have 180 days accesS

to all the course materials in our learning center AND you can download them to your computer and have them forever.

AND, there’s more…

When you sign up for this online course, you’ll also
have instant access to these 4 Bonuses…

Bonus 1:
Rethinking First Sessions [Audio & Transcript]

This audio is with couples therapist and husband of Dr. Bader, Dr. Peter Pearson. You’ll learn common mistakes couples therapists make when asking questions in first sessions and how to ask the right questions to facilitate relief in the couple and set them up for future growth.

Bonus 2:
Affairs in Couples Therapy [Audio & Transcript]

In this audio recording, Dr. Ellyn Bader discusses how to evaluate the meaning of an affair when it occurs, core treatment issues including the value and pitfalls of “obsessing” about the affair, and how to create a treatment plan for affair recovery.

Bonus 3:
How to Work with Anger and Addiction in Couples Therapy – Juliet Austin Interviews Therapist, Sue Diamond
[Video, Audio & Transcript]

In this interview, Juliet Austin from the Mind Body Training Institute interviews therapist, Sue Diamond. Sue shares her experience using the developmental model of couples therapy with hostile-dependent, conflict-avoidant, and couples where one or more partners have had, or currently have an addiction.

Sue is the Director of the Good Life Therapy Centre in Vancouver, BC. The center focuses on helping couples and individuals create loving relationships in the aftermath of addiction and trauma. Sue has over 35 years of experience as a therapist and is certified in the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy. She trains therapists in Vancouver and internationally on the model.

Bonus 4:
Working with Gay Men in Couples Therapy with Clinton Power [Video, Audio & Transcript]

In this interview with Juliet Austin, Clinton Power shares his wisdom about working with gay men in couples therapy. He discusses the different types of gay relationships and the specific issues therapists need to be aware of when doing therapy with gay men.

Clinton stressed the importance of therapists needing to be more than “gay friendly” and instead be “gay informed.” Also, he explains why therapists need to watch their assumptions about gay men and their lives, as all relationships are different.

Clinton also shares common problems gay men bring to therapy, including issues around open relationships and differences in the stages of coming out amongst couples.

Finally, he discusses how he combines several couples therapy approaches to help gay men resolve their relationship troubles and shares an interesting case study.

1 payment - $297


2 payments - $135


“I feel refueled - I am so grateful for your training, and especially the gifts that you bring to it, Ellyn.”

“Before taking this course, I was frustrated to see how the attachment and differentiation models were often pitted against each other. Finally, I discovered Bader and Pearson’s work at The Couples Institute. It seemed like a comprehensive approach, and I knew I wanted to commit to being trained in the Developmental Model.

Incorporating differentiation, attachment, and neuroscience, as well as the developmental stages, seemed to have it all, and I was right. I feel refueled – I am so grateful for your training, and especially the gifts that you bring to it, Ellyn.”

Meg Luce

Grass Valley, CA

Acquire the Skills You Need to Successfully
Treat Highly Conflicted Couples

Feel empowered knowing that you can help couples develop deep empathy for each other, become collaborative partners, and strengthen their love and commitment.

Summary of What You Get in This Self-Study Course

  • 3, 90-minute pre-recorded and downloadable videos and audios of each module ( 4.5 hours)
  • Word-for-word transcripts of each module
  • Handouts – additional material for each module
  • 4, 60 minute Bonuses on Special Couples Therapy Topics with Videos, Audios and transcripts.
  • 2 Pre-recorded sessions where Dr. Bader answers common questions (2 hours)
  • PDF copy of the slides for each module
  • Exercises for each module
  • 180 days (6 months) access to all materials in our Learning Center – You can also download the materials and keep them forever
  • A certificate of completion for 10 hours of professional development

1 payment - $297

SPecial fee


2 payments - $135



“I have benefited enormously from Ellyn’s online training.”

“I have benefited enormously from Ellyn’s online training – It has helped me become more confident and competent in applying the Developmental Model in my practice. Her integration of 4 theories gave me a much clearer understanding of what I need to do to be an effective couples therapist with an angry couple or a hostile partner in a couple.

I have trained in 7 different couples therapy approaches, and one of the distinguishing traits of the Developmental Model is that it is very user-friendly and comprehensive, while providing a flexible, overarching framework. The model also has useful tools/handouts for both therapist and clients, something which is lacking in some of the other models I’ve trained in.

Ellyn has done an excellent job of integrating neuroscience, developmental theory, differentiation theory, and attachment theory. I highly recommend her training.”

Vivian Baruch

M. Counselling & Clinical Supervisor,
Sydney, Australia

Take the course for a test
drive for 7 days

Sign up for the course and  decide the course is not what you want, we’ll refund 100% of your fee.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

It’s a self-study program. All the modules and video bonuses are pre-recorded. You’ll have access as soon as you register. You can watch the videos, listen to the audios and/or read the transcripts at your convenience.

There is a total of 10 hours of pre-recorded videos.

4.5 hours of the core modules

2 hours of Dr. Bader answering common questions

3.5 hours of bonus material

  1  PAYMENT of $297  $197

 2 PAYMENTS of $135  $110

 Click here to pay via our payment plan.
Click here if you prefer to pay in one payment.

Unless you are a Canadian, Australian or New Zealand resident, you will pay in USD.

Canadian residents pay in Canadian Dollars (CAD), and Australian and New Zealand residents pay in Australian dollars (AUD).

NOTE: Australians will also pay GST.

Yes – 2 payments of $135 $110

You will pay $110 when you register and then the 2nd payment will be charged to your card in 30 days.

 Click here to pay via our payment plan.

Click here if you prefer to pay in one payment for $197.


Unless you are a Canadian, Australian or New Zealand resident, you will pay in USD.

Canadian residents pay in Canadian Dollars (CAD), and Australian and New Zealand residents pay in Australian dollars (AUD).

NOTE: Australians will also pay GST.

All requests for refunds must be given within 7 days of purchase.

North America

We are not officially approved for CEU’s in the USA and Canada. However, we will give you a certificate of completion upon successful completion of a short quiz. You’ll have to check with your professional association or licensing board to see if they will give you credit for the program.
*Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) Members: CCPA will give you credit if you give them the certificate for the course.


This event has been endorsed for 10 Category B CPD points for members of PACFA (Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia) and 10 OPD points for members of the ACA (Australian Counselling Association).

Certificate of PD Hours 

You’ll need to successfully complete a short quiz to receive your certificate for 10 professional development hours.

You will have access to the materials for 180 days (6 months) in the learning center.

However, you can download all materials and save them forever.

If you want to be a confident couples therapist Known for helping Couples save Their Relationships, get started now...

10 hours of training for $197?


It is one heck of a deal.

There are courses out there that cost DOUBLE, TRIPLE, OR MORE than this for only a couple of hours of training.

If you’re ready to get started, all you have to do is click one of the buttons below….

1 payment - $297


2 payments - $135


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