Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy – Level 1 Training


*New Group Starts: January 2018*

At Last!…

A Comprehensive Couples Therapy Training model that integrates attachment theory, differentiation theory and neuroscience to provide a thorough system to manage even the most challenging couples’ dynamics.

Couples Therapy Training Group for Therapists & Counsellors


ellyn“I am very enthusiastic about Sue Diamond Potts bringing a live course in The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy to Vancouver. Sue has trained with me for many years. I have enormous confidence in her and her work. Out of all the thousands of therapists who have taken my training, Sue is the person I selected to be my assistant in my online training program. Anyone choosing to study with Sue will be in excellent hands as you push your own professional and personal growth.” – Ellyn Bader, Ph.D, The Couples Institute, Menlo Park, CA

Have you struggled with treating couples who won’t stop fighting in your office?

Are you troubled by couples who drop out before tackling the serious issues that they came to therapy for?

Or, maybe you have simply given up and told yourself, “I’m just not cut out for this – I’ll refer them to someone else”?

As a therapist, I am sure you’ve faced these frustrations when attempting to help couples break the destructive patterns that keep them replaying painful interactions with one another. This was certainly true for me.   I used to feel like I was drowning when doing therapy with certain couples, particularly the ones who were constantly attacking each other in my office. I would also struggle with the entrenched conflict-avoidant couples where it seemed nothing at all was ever happening.   Now, thanks to my many years of training in the Developmental Model of Couples therapy, instead of feeling dread when a couple enters my therapy office, I feel excited and look forward to the work ahead. I now take my rightful place as the leader in the room and feel confident and hopeful that I can assist couples to create the relationship that they both want.   If you are a therapist or counsellor who struggles working with couples or you work with couples and want to enhance your growth & effectiveness while helping more and more couples find the love they are longing for, then this is the group for you.   This training group will help you learn to navigate your way through some of the most tangled and tension-filled moments with your couples.

What Makes The Developmental Model of Couple Therapy Unique?

Current couples therapy training focuses on how early attachment styles are played out in our adult relationships. Or, the focus is on creating improved dialogue between partners who then understand each other better. While these are important aspects of understanding couple relationship dynamics, what is distinctive about the Bader-Pearson model is that:
  • It moves beyond attachment theory to focus on promoting the successful differentiation of each partner as the heart of real and permanent change. This approach supports and encourages accountability of each partner for their own personal growth, independent of their partner’s process. In turn, this enhances the success of the relationship.
  • It integrates and applies the latest understanding of neuro-scientific research, in order to provide couples with tools to emotionally regulate in their stressful interactions with one another and when they are most triggered.
  • It holds the highest standard for change by encouraging couples to go beyond the idea of simply communicating differently in order to “fix problems” to focusing on how they can create the kind of relationship they have always wanted to have but thought was not possible.

In this training program, you will learn from video and transcripts of both Drs. Peter Pearson and Ellyn Bader, as well as my own work with couples, how to assess, diagnose and treat your couples through a developmental lens.   You’ll be amazed when you see how well this models works.   You will understand where couples get stuck developmentally and how to assist them in moving forward into a healthier and more satisfying relationship.   Drs. Peter Pearson and Ellyn Bader are the co-founders of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, Ca. and creators of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, a model that teaches therapists how to intervene and significantly change troubled relationships. They are leaders in their field and their first book, “The Quest for the Mythical Mate” is used as a training manual for graduate courses throughout the U.S.

“This course was extremely valuable in providing me with information, materials, guidance and modeling for working with couples in my private practice. It has made me a more courageous and effective clinician, and I can apply what I have learned on a dailly basis with my clients. Thank you!”

– Catherine Bloomfield, Marriage & Family Therapist, San Mateo, CA


The Benefits You will receive from the training:
  • More clients as you develop expertise in working with couples
  • More income as you accept referrals and market yourself as a couples therapist
  • More confidence to effect meaningful change with people who struggle to find love in their relationships


“Having done couples therapy for over twenty years, I have found the Bader/Pearson developmental model to be the most useful and comprehensive approach to couples’ therapy that I have studied. It gave me a clear, definitive and non-pathological diagnosis of why couples experience the difficulties they do and where they are stuck. Being able to share this information with my couples both empowered and motivated them to do their healing. It helped me know how to devise a treatment plan appropriate to the couples’ stage of development and provide interventions that really work! I found Sue’s lectures, the transcripts, the videos, and the group’s comments (while reviewing the handouts in class) all to be a beneficial learning experience. My work with couples has improved dramatically. I can’t say enough about how incredibly powerful and effective this model is and how much it has helped me personally to grow. I am recommending the group to everyone I know!”

– Claire Maisonneuve, R.C.C. & Director of the Alpine Anxiety & Stress Relief Clinic.


The Bader-Pearson Model Can Help Couples Who Thought They Were a Lost Cause
I have successfully worked with couples who have been told by previous therapists that their relationship was a lost cause. Couples who are willing to take the risk to call your office and invest their time, energy and money deserve the best chance at change, which this approach provides. Sign Up Now

I am convinced that this is the most effective approach to couples’ therapy currently available because you will learn to:
  • Contain the conflict that keeps couples re-enacting past trauma in their current relationships
  • Disrupt the symbiotic merger that smothers individual expression and growth and inhibits relationship success
  • Repair relationship ruptures in a way that teaches couples to aspire to be more positive and constructive in their future interactions
  • Help couples overcome the developmental stalemates that keep couples placing impossible demands on each other
  • Feel confident at successfully helping aggressive partners as well as passive-aggressive partners


 “I have found this training to give more depth to my work as a couples therapist. It  fits my theoretical frame of reference as an Integrative Psychotherapist. I particularly appreciated learning the developmental stages of a couples relationship. Sue is an excellent teacher and clinician who brought the lessons alive with the effective use of both video demonstrations and case presentations. I would highly recommend this training program to any therapist who wants to deepen their work and understanding of couples relationships.”

– Trisha Hiland, Registered Psychologist, Vancouver, B.C.


Furthermore, you will acquire the following:
  • Tools to use with couples to assess their developmental stage so that you know how to focus treatment
  • Understanding of where your couples are getting struck developmentally and how you can get them unstuck
  • A road map of how to take your clients from where they are to where they want to be
  • Clear and precise intervention strategies for change
  • Increased certainty as a couples therapist: you’ll know what to do even in the most conflicted sessions with your couples
  • A network of other therapists who are have shared interests and skills

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Who is This Group for?

This is a perfect group for therapists or counsellors who are just moving into the field of couples therapy and it is a fantastic opportunity to expand your approach if you are an experienced couples’ therapist. Many therapists have spoken highly of the benefits of adding this training to their existing knowledge base in working with couples.

“Sue’s vibrant teaching style and depth of knowledge of the subject invites full participation from the group, most of whom work with challenging couples. We were coached to put the tools presented each month into practise and then debrief our experiences with Sue. Over the months, as the toolkit expanded, this became very useful – it was experiential rather than just theoretical. Sue is responsive to questions and can articulate the complex dynamics of couples elegantly.”

– Sara Kammerzell, M.A., R.C.C

Topics covered in the Couples Therapy Training Program Include:

Week 1 :
Introduction to the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy
Diagnosis and assessment of the stages of couples development based on the Bader-Pearson model

Week 2 :
Setting effective goals in couples therapy
Getting off to a strong start

Week 3 :
Introduction to the Initiator-Inquirer process
Use of the Initiator-Inquirer process for structuring treatment

Week 4 :
Overview of issues working with the Hostile-Dependent Couple
Overview of issues working with the Conflict-Avoidant Couple

Week 5 :
Understanding the Neuroscience of Addiction, Trauma and Treatment
Overview of issues working with Addicted Individuals in Couples Therapy

Will This Program Prepare me for Further Training in the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy?

After building a good foundation in this model over 5 months you may chose to continue your training in the developmental model with Dr. Ellyn Bader in her online courses. Completion of the Level 1 course entitles you to enter Dr. Bader’s Level 2 on-line training. Or, you may  join my local Level 2 Supervision/Training group and continue to learn theory and present your cases with couples for ongoing supervision.


Training Details

Group format: Each  session will be a combination of didactic learning and video presentation. In addition, there will be time allotted for you to ask questions, discuss how you have applied what you are learning and receive consultation on your cases.

Time:             Mondays from 10:00am -12:30 pm

Location:       635 – 470 Granville St, Vancouver, B.C.

Tuition cost:   $150.00 per 2.5 hour training  (includes GST).

Early Bird Bonus:  Sign up by January 1st and get a 10% refund when you complete the course.

Dates are as follows:

  • January 29 2018
  • February 26 2018
  • March 26 2018
  • April 30 2018
  • May 28 2018


When you choose to invest in a training program, you will ask yourself what the potential return on your investment will be. So let’s look at what is possible. As you develop more confidence in your ability to treat couples and you get increased referrals to do this work, you will be making much more money each week. If you see only one new couple a month you will increase your income significantly. And this is not to mention that you will also be helping more people in your community who are struggling and not losing income because you are referring couples out to other therapists.

The cost for each of the 2.5 hour group training sessions is only $150.00.  Formerly, this course was offered over 9 months.  The total cost for the training remains the same as in previous years; now offered in a condensed format with ongoing supervision groups provided for continued learning.

Don’t hesitate to join now as this group is purposely kept small to allow lots of time for your questions and integration of the material.

Please click the button below to make your initial payment and guarantee your spot in the group.

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Frequently Asked Questions?

Can I enroll if I am not currently seeing couples in my practice?

Yes, you most certainly can. There are many therapists who want to get some training and guidance under their belts before they jump in. This is perfectly alright and a smart decision.

Is there a textbook for this course?

Yes, “In Quest of the Mythical Mate,” by Dr. Ellyn Bader and Dr Peter T. Pearson of the Couples Institute.  Click the image to purchase the textbook from their

Will I be able to integrate this model into what I am already doing?

I believe that what you learn here will compliment what you are already doing, and will most definitely add to your understanding of couples’ dynamics. While there are specific techniques and approaches, there is also an overarching view of the change process that will increase your expertise.

Does this training in any way help me in my work with individuals?

Understanding differentiation theory will change and improve your work with individuals by giving you a window into their distress that is developmentally related. Your interventions will empower the client to move from victim to victor and produce real and tangible change in your individual clients. This is a real bonus of the training!   If you have any other questions about the training that you would like answered before you go ahead and sign up, please call 604-682-1484 or click here to apply.

About the Trainer

PastedGraphic-2-newSue Diamond Potts, M.A., is the Founder and Director of The Good Life Therapy Centre and is an experienced therapist with more than 30 years in the field. She first trained with Drs Bader and Pearson in 1994-95 and has for the past decade been actively involved in Ellyn’s online training, personal consult group and a member of their Master Mentor group for the past 4 years. Sue has used the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy to rescue her own marriage. She is passionate about this work and is committed to sharing this model with other therapists in the Vancouver area in order to enhance their skills and confidence in working with couples and to build a referral network of developmental couples therapists.  Sue is a committed student of kriyayoga meditation and spends time each year studyng in India. She integrates the wisdom of Eastern philosophy and practice with her western academic training to create a more holistic and healing approach to her work.