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Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson

Ellyn Bader, PhD
Peter Pearson, PhD


Conflict Avoidant & High Conflict Couples:
Therapists, fear no more!

Saturday February 29, 2020
9:00 - 5:00       $165/$140 through 2/7      7 CE hours


Don’t miss Ellyn Bader’s free 5-part online workshop called What Do You Do When…? that tells you exactly what to say when you’re stumped! It takes place September 9-13. Register today! This webinar addresses Tough Moments for Couples Therapists, inspired by Dr. Bader's recent extensive survey of hundreds of therapists who submitted their most challenging questions for Dr. Bader to review. She sorted through the pile of submissions and created a unique training for couples therapists that focuses on 5 common and difficult situations we all face.


Conflict avoidant couples make it seem like you are always pulling teeth to evoke underlying emotions while hostile angry couples try to pull you into being a referee. Couples therapy requires strong leadership, especially in early sessions. Learn to set the tone, solidify your credibility, assess what is wrong and why, and chart a clear direction, all while preventing regression, creating hope, and stimulating individual accountability. This is no easy task!

This special workshop with Drs. Bader and Pearson, master clinicians and trainers, is designed to demonstrate Couples Therapy in Action, from assessment to resolution. You will learn through real case examples how the same four powerful techniques can be applied and modified to work with two vastly different types of couples. Don’t miss this program as we rarely get to see presenters show therapy over time at workshops!

You’ll follow video segments from a conflict- and intimacy-avoiding couple having difficulty blending their two families and watch engaging role plays of a hostile-fighting couple, all designed to demonstrate the interplay between effective assessment and targeted intervention.

you will discover how to:

  • Get therapy off to a strong start
  • Prepare your clients for the work ahead
  • Diagnose what is wrong that the couple won't tell you
  • Facilitate increased differentiation in each partner
  • Resolve conflicts surrounding intimacy avoidance
  • Develop communication patterns that promote openness, intimacy and empathy.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Select targets of positive change in the first session and get therapy off to a strong start
  • Assess each partner’s level of differentiation using six criteria
  • Recognize and connect interpersonal conflicts to intrapsychic conflicts
  • Apply the Initiator–Inquirer Process to interrupt conflict avoidance or escalated hostility
  • Utilize 2-chair work to address intimacy avoidance
  • Develop communication patterns that promote openness, intimacy, and empathy

Drs. Ellyn Bader & Peter Pearson will show you how to get therapy off to a strong start and demonstrate how clear assessment lays the foundation for rapid and effective intervention. Knowing this approach will enable you to be an incisive therapist without the typical, unnecessary couples therapist traps we all experience. They are founders of The Couples Institute in Menlo Park. Gifted clinicians and teachers, they have trained couples therapists for 30 years in the US, Europe, Asia & Australia. Both served as Clinical faculty at Stanford University Medical School. Ellyn received CAMFT’s Clark Vincent Award for an outstanding literary contribution to the field of marital therapy. Ellyn and Pete co-authored In Quest of the Mythical Mate and Tell Me No Lies. They are sought-after presenters at major couples and psychotherapy conferences, as well as having appeared on numerous radio and TV programs as expert commentators.