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Registration $160

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Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson

Ellyn Bader, PhD &
Peter Pearson PhD


Lies, Self-absorption, and Unrelenting Hostility
Saturday November 14, 2015
9:00 - 4:30       $160/$137 until 10/23/15      6.5 CE hours


Untangling a web of lies and deception, engaging an unmotivated or self-absorbed partner to greater levels of attunement, and harnessing unrelenting hostility in early sessions are challenges for the couples therapist. In this interactive training, Drs. Bader and Pearson will present their Developmental Model of Couples Therapy which incorporates neuroscience, attachment, and differentiation. Using videos and rich clinical material, they will dissect and demonstrate unique approaches to navigating these tough issues:

Lies and Deception: In therapy, there are lies to the self, to the partner, and to the therapist. Self-deception, conflict avoidance, and “felony lies” all undermine commitment and connection. Unpack these tangled situations, evaluate the types of lies, learn effective confrontation skills, and recognize blocks to differentiation.

Self-Absorbed Partners: A lack of empathy creates much disconnection and stalls therapy. Direct confrontation rarely works. Learn ways to target the intrapsychic impasses of self-centeredness and take steps toward greater empathy.

Unrelenting Hostility: Mobilizing motivation for change in the face of implacable hostility dramatically increases success. Learn how to use a powerful tool for engaging partners to shift from partner rehabilitation to self-change from the outset of therapy.

Ellyn and Pete are masters at teaching incisive intervention skills, which simultaneously support the developmental growth of each partner. Take away innovative approaches for your next sessions.


In this workshop, you will learn how to:

  • Use a strategy for early sessions to inspire unmotivated partners into embracing self-change rather than changing their partner
  • Skillfully unpack a continuum of lies and deception and choose targeted interventions
  • Identify intrapsychic conflicts of self-absorption and expose the internal process while being nonjudgemental
  • Help partners reduce invisibility and expand their own voices when dealing with self-absorbed partner

Drs. Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson are founders and directors 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. Ellyn received CAMFT’s Clark Vincent Award for 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.