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Couples Therapy Utilizing the Developmental Model

I offer couples therapy that utilizes the Developmental Model which was co-created by Dr. Ellyn Bader and her husband Dr. Peter Pearson, founders of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California. They created this model for couples therapy off of earlier research by Margaret Mahler, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, and Murray Bowen. These earlier theorists provided useful models for understanding the role of attachment and differentiation in early childhood and their implications into adulthood. These same theories are true for all significant relationships throughout our life, especially our most intimate and romantic relationships. 

The Developmental Model utilizes Attachment Theory, Differentiation Theory, and modern research in neuroscience to help us determine the places where each partner can strengthen and grow. This growth allows for better knowledge of one's self and how someone functions in a relationship.


This model will give us the tools to:


  • First clarify each partner's goals and areas for growth,

  • Build capacity and tolerance for one's own emotions

  • Bolster partners' ability to tolerate difficult moments in a relationship

  • Bring clearer and more effective communication to the relationship

  • Discover what your needs and desires are and figure out a consistent way to communicate this to your partner

  • Understand that growth in development will entail a healthy degree of challenge and conflict and the ability to believe in the possibility of personal and relationship growth.

You can expect that in couples therapy, you will:

  • Learn to express yourself in a clear, honest, and authentic manner

  • Develop healthy ways to self-sooth and tolerate the ambiguity and how we will "get there" 

  • Tolerate difficult emotions, uncertainty, and conflict

  • Learn to fight "clean" and not dirty 

  • Develop and expand your nurturing and caring behaviors

  • Participate in activities that can make our work more productive and decrease fighting

  • Identify and maintain healthy boundaries

  • Build capacity for self-responsibility and accountability

  • Learn to focus on yourself and what kind of partner you want to be

  • Define your independent beliefs, thoughts, desires, and feelings

  • Manage and accept your differences and self-limiting beliefs

  • Identify areas of responsibility

  • Agree to make attempts to repair and return when there are injuries or a conflict arises

  • Be able to apologize when you are wrong

  • Stay open to ways you are stuck discouraging each other and preventing positive reinforcement, action, and affection

  • Grow in ways that foster the emotional and sexual intimacy that might be missing in your relationship​

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