Clinical Training:

The Developmental Model of Relationship Therapy for LGBTQIA2S+ Clinicians


36 CEUs; Learn Level 1 of the Developmental Model

Are you tried of the "one-size-fits-all" approach to relationship therapy?


Discover a method that’s tailor-made for your clients’ relationships – and designed to help you get traction with even your toughest cases.

Centering queer clients and clinicians

As Queer Clinicians, we do a lot of translation work. Most of the models and materials we have access to weren’t made with us in mind.

I’m guessing you’ve experienced training that simply assumes your clients will be in a heterosexual marriage. I’m sure you’ve heard therapists talk about desire discrepancy as a “male vs. female” issue, and refer to “couples” as if every relationship is dyadic.

I’m sure you’ve put plenty of hours into painstakingly pulling out the parts of these models that work for your clients and setting aside the rest.

You and your clients deserve to be more than an afterthought. That’s what this course is all about.

Gain essential skills for relational work

This course is designed to give you a cohesive framework for your work with queer relationships, using the insights of the Developmental Model of Relationship Therapy.

Developed by Drs. Ellyn Bader and Pete Pearson, the Developmental Model is an incredibly practical, powerful, and flexible toolkit for supporting relational growth. I use it every single day in my practice – and by applying its insights to my own life, I’ve personally experienced how transformative it can be.

It’s also a brilliant approach for queer clinicians specifically. The core message of the Developmental Model is this: we don’t need to paper over our differences in order to love, respect and care for one another. In fact, our differences are what make our relationships whole.

With the blessing and guidance of Ellyn and Pete, I have done the code-switching for you. This course will bring the essential insights of the Developmental Model to bear on the unique and beautiful ways our partnerships are different from our straight counterparts.

Hi, I'm Tom Bruett.

I am a therapist, trainer, consultant, and author who works extensively with the queer community. As the founder of the Queer Relationship Institute, I provide therapy for queer folx and training for therapists who work with queer relationships. I even wrote a book about it coming soon from Jessica Kingsley Publishing.
My work is deeply informed by my experience training under Drs. Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson in the Developmental Model of Relationship Therapy. I want to empower as many therapists as possible to start using this ground-breaking approach.

My mission is to empower you with the skills and tools you need to help your clients thrive relationally. It’s my belief that strong relationships build strong communities, and strong communities build deep, connected, and meaningful lives.


What you'll get from this course:

  • 36 CEU credits for clinicians certified in Colorado and California*
  • Level 1 graduate status in the Developmental Model + certificate of completion, following a course evaluation
  • 9 live in-depth training sessions, 2 hours each.
  • 9 live consultation and practice sessions, to get personal feedback on your cases, 2 hours each.
  • On-demand replays of all sessions
  • Inclusive materials you can use for all your clients, no matter their identity
  • A community of queer colleagues to learn with, grow with, and refer to

By the time we wrap up...

  • You’ll have confidence to see more challenging cases of a variety of different identities, orientations, and relationship structures.
  • You’ll have gained a deeper understanding of attachment theory, neuroscience, and differentiation theory and how these powerful components impact relationship struggles
  • You'll be able to assess and identify different relationship stages and understand how to intervene more successfully
  • You'll leave with a toolkit adapted for work with queer couples that you’ll already have begun to use

Here's the breakdown:

↦ The course will run for nine months. Over that time, we’ll meet twice a month, on the second and fourth Fridays of each month (with a few exceptions, please see the dates below). Each meeting will be two hours long.

↦ On each Second Friday meeting, I’ll be sharing an essential tool or insight from the Developmental Model.

We’ll practice applying them with roleplay, so that you leave the session ready to put it into practice.
The learning is sequenced and builds upon itself so that you can start doing relationship work with clients right away.

On each fourth Friday meeting, you’ll get the chance to consult with me on your cases.

This session will be a hybrid of consultation and training.
Whatever challenges you’re facing in your practice, whatever stuck points you have applying the material, and wherever you want to go with your work, I’ll help you get there.

Limited seats

I want this class to be intimate! It’s important to me that you all get the chance to get feedback, practice, and get to know one another. For that reason, class size is limited.

The signup is live now. But once the enrollment limit is reached, there will be no openings until next year. So if you want a seat, don’t hesitate.

Claim your seat

Enrollment includes

36 hours of training and consultation ✼ 36 CEUs* in Colorado and California ✼ Level 1 Developmental Model graduate status

One-time payment


Most-cost effective
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Installment plan


 Lower upfront cost
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"Tom's training is far beyond what I expected and hoped...

I've taught couple and family therapy courses for the last few years. It wasn't until watching Tom model counselor-couple simulations that I started integrating this type of learning with my students.

His competency, confidence, and effective teaching style have given me the framework, courage, and motivation to take my teaching and practice to a new level. I now have a clearer picture of how to support highly distressed couples, as well as practical and experiential ways to pass along couple therapy skills to my students."

Chris Lanterman, LPC

"A joy to attend...

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and deeply appreciate that you filled the void created by the lack of training in the developmental model specific to working with queer clients and relationships.  

I took this course at the same time as the DM Level 1 course through The Couples Institute and found that that your material perfectly complemented that provided by Ellyn, Pete and their team.  The most valuable part of your training, though, was your skills and talents as a clinician and instructor. Your very real and no-nonsense approach to teaching combined with your genuine care for our understanding of the material made the course a joy to attend."

Scott Ferguson, LCSW

"My sessions feel more generative and intentional than ever before...

Tom is an excellent facilitator and trainer - in this course I learned the foundational elements of the Developmental Model while also holding in consideration the unique challenges and joys of queer relationships.

Tom continually offered encouragement and invaluable growth opportunities through interactive lectures, role plays, and loads of helpful resources and tools. I am coming out of this training feeling more confident and capable in my work, and my sessions with clients feel more generative and intentional than ever before.”

Becs Waite, Licensed Therapist, MA

"I feel more capable...

This course answered questions about how to conduct ethical, productive couples therapy which other approaches left me confused and distressed about, including well-regarded approaches like Gottman and EFT.

I have a better sense of what to do with couples now, and feel more capable of offering a supportive structure to my couples clients, as well as setting limits and boundaries for myself. And I didn't have to advocate for acknowledgement of my existence to the teacher, which I usually have to do in other couples' trainings."

Anonymous, queer trans LMFT

A strengths-based queer perspective for training

As in queer theory, we’ll look at the structures and systems in place that restrict queer relationships and attempt to dismantle them together. This will be a safe space to question power structures and challenge traditional narratives and you'll be able to apply this framework with your non-queer relationship clients, too.

Need-based scholarships

At Queer Relationship Institute we see how the impacts of systemic issues like class and race can make training unreachable for some communities. Our mission is to create training that is high-quality, approachable, and as accessible as possible. Seats are limited and offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please submit your application for a scholarship here.


Refunds will be offered up to one month before the course begins.


To request accommodations for special needs, please email or call.


To obtain the grievance policy or report a grievance, please email or call.

*Tom Bruett, LMFT (provider #115291) is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFT, LCSW, LPCC and LEP. Tom Bruett maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content.

Have questions? I’m happy to answer them!

You can reach me by emailing tom at