When your partner is unmotivated to change and has resorted to stonewalling - or blaming everything on you - what can you do? If you’re a therapist working with a couple in this situation, you’ll learn some valuable ways to directly address this issue and change the dynamics. In today’s episode, we have a return visit from Peter Pearson. He is a co-founder, with Ellyn Bader, of The Couples Institute, one of the leading centers for training couples therapists and helping people find practical solutions to relationship issues. Their book “Tell Me No Lies” describes how to create a culture of honesty in your relationship (and why that’s so important) - while their work on the Developmental Model of relationships gives deep insight into why we do what we do. Today you’ll learn some specific ways to shake things loose when your partner is unmotivated to change (or *you* are).

Click here to receive the Transcript for this episode with Peter Pearson

Visit neilsattin.com/institute to join Pete Pearson’s and Ellyn Bader’s free webinars on how to use Confrontation in therapy!

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!


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To join Ellyn and Pete’s free webinar series on using confrontation in therapy with couples, follow this link here.

Visit The Couples Institute website to learn more about Ellyn and Pete’s work with couples, and with helping therapists help couples.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit http://www.neilsattin.com/unmotivated to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Peter Pearson.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

If you’re curious to hear our first episode together, about shaping a culture of honesty in your relationship, you can also check out Episode 24 of Relationship Alive - Why We Lie and How to Get Back to the Truth

And you can listen to our second episode together, which was about Relationship Development and getting unstuck in your relationship, if you click here.

And here’s our third episode together - Communication that Grows Your Relationship.


Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. You know how sometimes it feels like you're the only one who's doing the work in your relationship? And we talk about that a lot on this show, this idea that a lot of times, it only takes one to make a difference. And there are all these ways that you can make changes that create leverage in your relationship and can totally shift the dynamic. You're in a dance, you change your steps, your partner is going to change their steps. Well, sometimes that's true, and sometimes you are with someone who is really stuck or unmotivated, they don't want to follow through with things, they really don't think they need to do anything else because they've already done enough. And in fact, they may even be gaslighting you or blaming you, trying to make it seem like everything that's going on, all the problems that you're experiencing are actually your fault.

Neil Sattin: So I thought it would be good to tackle this topic head on. And to do so, I have a very special returning guest today, Dr. Peter Pearson, who along with his wife, Ellyn Bader, have created The Couples Institute. They are leading authorities on not only how to help couples through serious problems like infidelity, other betrayals, trust issues, but also they train couples therapists. So if you are a therapist, you'll definitely want to be paying attention, because today we're going to talk both about how you would approach this as the partner, and also as a therapist, how you would approach it. And by the way, this topic, I had a few ideas that I ran by Pete, and this was one that he suggested, and we're going to tackle it in a slightly different way than usual, where I'm actually going to be role-playing the part of the unmotivated stuck partner, which we were doing a little practice a few moments ago, and it's actually challenging for me, so I'm going to have to muster up my best improv energy to be that partner.

Neil Sattin: In any case, we will have a detailed transcript of today's episode, which you can get if you visit neilsattin.com/... Ooh, what's this one going to be? Neilsattin.com/unmotivated. That's what we're going to call it. So if you go to neilsattin.com/unmotivated, you can get the transcript of this episode. And we'll talk about this a little bit later on, but there is a series of workshops that Ellyn is going to be giving for therapists that are all about how to use confrontation in therapy with your clients, how to confront people in general, and then specifically around issues like narcissism and infidelity. And if you're interested in that, you can visit neilsattin.com/institute, as in the Couples Institute, to sign up. And that's free, by the way. I think that's enough for me. Let's dive right in. Pete Pearson, it's so great to have you here with us again on Relationship Alive.

Pete Pearson: Hey Neil, it's really good to be back, and I am looking forward to doing something kind of unusual.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, me too.

Pete Pearson: You get to play the role of a passive or passive-aggressive spouse who believes they've done all they need to do and they're done doing more, which is not an uncommon place for a therapist to deal with. So I thought instead of just me describing how I might respond to an unmotivated partner, that we would actually put it to the test.

Neil Sattin: Great.

Pete Pearson: And hopefully it will feel more realistic as you do your best job of mustering an unmotivated passive-aggressive person, which goes against everything you teach and preach.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Pete Pearson? 

Click here to receive the Transcript for this episode with Peter Pearson