The Couples Institute was founded in Menlo Park, California, by Dr. Ellyn Bader and Dr. Peter Pearson in 1984. For more than 30 years, The Couples Institute has been helping couples resolve issues and create strong, loving relationships.

Peter and Ellyn are experts in couples’ therapy training. They are creators of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, a model that teaches therapists and coaches how to diagnose, intervene and significantly help troubled relationships. Their approach is known for its practical applications that help couples create enduring love.

Peter and Ellyn used their passion and expertise in couples work and training to create a group of therapists with the desire to specialize with couples. They wanted to create resources for couples in need to not only stop premature and unnecessary divorces and end family patterns that damaged kids, but also to help couples create synergistic marriages. Peter and Ellyn learned that working collaboratively in a group of therapists created a greater ability to impact struggling couples.

The therapists at The Couples Institute not only feel passionate about working with couples but are also dedicated to continue their education and training to remain an expert in this field. All the therapists have trained in the Developmental Model as well as many other modalities; thus, The Couples Institute remains one of the leading groups of couples therapy specialists in the Bay Area. The therapists here have helped thousands of couples overcome difficulties and evolve as a couple and as a team.

Peter and Ellyn directed The Couples Institute until 2018 when Peter retired as a licensed psychologist. Peter now specializes in coaching entrepreneurial couples who desire to become a strong team to realize their professional and relationship goals. Ellyn became the sole director until the end of 2018 and then begun focusing more on training, education and consulting. They are both excited to watch the institute grow and expand in the years to come.

For the past 35 years, Peter and Ellyn have dedicated their careers to creating quality couples therapy services and training other therapists to do the same. This has been their passion. Yet over the last few years they have increasingly been doing more training, education and consulting. This has left less time to manage the Couples Institute’s counseling services.

As Peter and Ellyn looked at how to give both of these passions equal opportunity for growth, they decided to enlist a hand-picked colleague who they have worked with closely for over a decade; Stacy Lee, LMFT. She will continue to grow The Couples Institute’s counseling services. This is the best of both worlds, Peter and Ellyn have the opportunity to build areas they are excited about while also supporting another therapist to continue growing a different aspect of the company they love.

Stacy Lee is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked with The Couples Institute for over a decade. During that time, she has specialized in couples with a focus on infidelity, intimacy issues, negative communication patterns and increasing acceptance and understanding between partners. Stacy is a skilled clinician, both empathetic and action-oriented, her clients appreciate her use of practical tools and skills that disrupt unhealthy and entrenched cycles. Apart from her clinical skills, Stacy has a background in business and management. She has an impressive vision for the future of The Couples Institute Counseling Services, and Peter and Ellyn are excited to walk alongside her as she continues to grow the company they built.

The Developmental Model, which is the foundation of The Couples Institute, is also Stacy’s foundation for couples therapy. This ensures that it will continue to be the backdrop of the counseling services and that all the therapists at The Couples Institute Counseling Services will continue to receive the same level of training the institute has prided itself on.

The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy explains normal and natural stages and struggles that growing couples encounter. The model provides a structure for couples therapy by identifying the developmental tasks, developmental stalemates, diagnosis and specific treatment interventions for each stage of development.

When Ellyn and Pete’s first book, “In Quest of the Mythical Mate” was first published in 1988, the theory of couples going through stages with predictable challenges and opportunities for growth was a new one. Since then it has been widely accepted, and the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model continues to grow and incorporate new depths of understanding.

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