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 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 to work 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.

Why Choose the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy?

Simply… because it is the best! Hands down.

Sure, there are people who will argue that certain other approaches are more popular or marketed with more flair. But that’s not what matters when it comes to that [often desperate] point in your office when you are trying despairingly to improve, resuscitate or rescue your clients’ marriage.

This Approach has depth

What you need is proven demonstrations of how you can turn their life and love around – permanently. The last thing you want is a limited or temporary success – that awful one step forward – two steps back; that fleeting relief of problem-solving approaches that are impossible for your clients to sustain over time because what is rotten at the core of the relationship has not been rooted out.

This superficial ‘quick fix’ approach leaves you struggling to convey long-term hope and contributes to the unbelievably high divorce rate of around 50%.

So, why settle for second best? Why not go for what has been proven to work?

Why not roll up your sleeves, understand what happens when marital bliss disappears and acquire the essential skills and capacities necessary to change the landscape of clients’ relational life?

The Developmental Model will help you with just that – it will give you the tools for transforming relationship stressors and guide you with clear-cut directions to take your couples right through to the finish line.

The Founders

The reason for the success of this outstanding approach has much to do with its creators. This model was developed by Dr’s Ellyn Bader & Peter Pearson, co-founders of the Couples Institute
image001-Not only have they been working side by side for the last 4 decades; they’ve been married to each other the whole time as well. They committed to specializing in couples therapy at a time when the field considered it impossible and irrelevant. Today, Drs. Bader & Pearson are pioneers extraordinaire.

They have constructed an approach that is grounded in the very substance of what it means to strive to be the best version of your human self.

In-Quest-of-the-Mythical-Mate-A-Developmental-Approach-To-Diagnosis-And-Treatment-In-Couples-TherapThey have led countless couples’ retreats, have trained thousands of therapists around the world and their first book, “In Quest of the Mythical Mate: A Developmental Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment in Couples Therapy, is used in many graduate school training programs across the U.S.

Passing the torch

I am proud to count myself among the therapists who found these Mentors, and I continue to study and learn from them. Not only do I feel I have the best theoretical and practical approach to offer you, but I have also grown as a person in my own development, challenged myself to be a better version of myself in all my relationships.

Much of this has been because of Pete & Ellyn’s endless support and encouragement to believe that anything I put my mind to, I can accomplish. And much of it has come from their modeling of what it means to be an exceptional human being.

There is no withholding on their part; no petty competition that is often experienced with well-known professionals whose egos get the best of them. Instead, they consistently model kindness, compassion and brilliance beyond compare.

They are not only Masters in the field of couples therapy but are two of the most caring, generous and intelligent individuals that anyone could be fortunate enough to meet.

The Founders lead the way (prepare to be deeply moved)

If you want to experience a touching example of how they navigate important challenges in their own relationship, watch this short video:

Your decision to make

If you should choose to train with me, you will be in good hands.


None of us can transmit what we don’t have. With the Bader-Pearson wisdom and knowledge behind me, I will make every effort to carry their example forward, recognizing that they have equipped me well to do my job.

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 an 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 the 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 neuroscientific 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 focus instead on how they can create the kind of relationship they have always wanted to have but lacked the tools to make it a reality.

In this training program, you will learn from videos 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 model 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 daily 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

claire“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. Join 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 couple’s 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.

In This Course
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

Join Now

Who Is This Training 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 already a 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 practice 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:

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

Setting effective goals in couples therapy

Getting off to a strong start: (The Couples Questionnaire; The Paper Exercise & the Question of Attunement)

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

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

Understanding the Neuroscience of Addiction, Assessment, and Treatment

Tools for helping partners regulate emotional reactivity and strive to be their highest selves.

Training Details

Group Format:

This group will take place over 2 full days, followed by a virtual Q&A session approximately one month after the training,  once you have implemented what you’ve learned (date TBD).


Time:            March 31 & April 1, 2023

                    10am – 5pm


Location:       635 – 470 Granville Street


Sign up before Sunday Feb 26, 2023 @ 11:59 pm PST to secure your spot.

Sign Up HERE

Your Investment: 

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 increase your income each week. In fact, you only need to see one new couple a week to incur a significant financial increase. As well, you will be helping more struggling couples in your community and will not lose income by referring couples out to other therapists. You will make your investment back in no time and go on to build a stronger and more vibrant practice.


Tuition cost:  The cost for each 2 days of training is $600 + GST or 2 payments of $300.00 + GST, (the first payment when you sign up and the second payment a week before the training). 

You will receive your own training manual with the materials you need to get off to a strong start working with couples using the tools and techniques of the Developmental Model.

Consult sessions:  I run an ongoing monthly consult group that you can join after your Level 1 training is complete. I teach aspects of the DM to deepen your learning and integration of the theory into your practice. Through role-plays that are recorded, therapists have applied what they learn and gotten immediate results with their couples. 

The cost for each 2.5 hours of training is $145 and registration is at the beginning of each semester.

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

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 website.


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

I believe that what you learn here will complement what you are already doing, and hopefully, 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 can 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. So, it is a real bonus of this 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, M.A., is the Founder and Clinical Director of The Good Life Therapy Centre and is an experienced therapist with 30+ years in the field. She first trained with Dr. Bader in 1994-95. For more than a decade she has been an assistant in Ellyn’s online therapist training and a member of  Pete & Ellyn’s Master Mentorship group for the past 8 years. She is passionate about this work and is committed to training therapists in the Vancouver area in order to enhance their skills and confidence in working with couples and to build a referral network of Developmentally-trained couples therapists.  Sue is also a committed student of Kriyayoga meditation and spends time each year studying in India. She integrates the wisdom of Eastern philosophy and practices with her western academic training to create a more holistic and healing approach to her work.