My, How Couples Therapy has Changed! Attachment, Love and Science

My, How Couples Therapy has Changed! Attachment, Love and Science

by Sue Johnson

Renowned family therapist Sue Johnson discusses Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) in light of new research on attachment in adult love relationships.
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The revolution

Just a few short years ago couples therapy was cynically labeled as a set of techniques in search of a theory! Now researchers such as John Gottman and Kim Halford have suggested that even the accepted techniques of this field, such as teaching problem-solving and conflict-management skills, while beneficial, do not seem to get to the heart of the matter in terms of offering a pathway to lasting change in relationships and do not reflect how happy couples relate to each other outside of therapy.
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Sue Johnson

Dr. Sue Johnson is one of the originators and the main proponent of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), now one of the best validated couples interventions in North America. She is Director of the Ottawa (Canada) Couple and Family Institute and the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy as well as Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa and Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California.

She has received numerous honors for her work, including the Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Couple and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Research in Family Therapy Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

She received her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of British Columbia in 1984. She is a registered psychologist in the province of Ontario, Canada, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy and the Journal of Family Psychology. She is a Research Professor in the Marital & Family Therapy Program at Alliant University in San Diego.

Her 2004 book (2nd Ed), The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: Creating Connection (Brunner Rouledge) is a foundational text on EFT for couples. She is the senior editor of the 2003 book, Attachment Processes in Couples Therapy (Guilford Press), and the 1994 book, The Heart of the Matter (Guilford Press). She has also written a book on trauma and couples, Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors (2002).

She trains counselors in EFT worldwide and consults to Veterans Affairs, the U.S. and Canadian military and New York City Fire Department. Sue is an Approved Supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and is internationally known for her workshops and presentations on practice, theory and research in couple therapy, adult attachment and emotion in psychotherapy. She maintains a private practice and lives in Ottawa, Canada, with her husband and two children.

To contact Dr. Johnson and learn more about her work, visit her website and The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

  • Describe an attachment perspective of relationships
  • Identify key Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) interventions used in couples therapy
  • Apply attachment theory concepts in working with couples through Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy
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