“A lucid treatise on psychotherapy that will prove useful to students as well as experienced practitioners. (…) Johnson has written an outstanding work that will have an impact on our field for a great many years.”
Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Stanford University
The truth is that this book has taken me 30 years to write – 30 years of listening to individuals – couples and families – listening to therapists telling me how they get stuck – reading research results and watching tapes of people in therapy sessions and educational groups facing their vulnerabilities and walking through them to find balance, peace and connection with others. I have had so many teachers. (more…)
All the research from the last 30 years from the most potent therapy for relationship growth and recovery on this planet and the new research on building intimate bonds with partners says the same thing. To foster connection we need, not just to spend time together as companions, but to risk sharing softer deeper emotions and learning to hold each others feelings in a way that calms our nervous systems and gives us a felt sense of safe connection. In our research we call them Hold Me Tight Conversations. When partners can do this, a huge horizon of possibilities opens up for their relationship and for each person’s sense of confidence – belonging leads to becoming.We are wired to thrive when we know that we can share our vulnerability with a precious other and the other can just be present and engaged – they just have to be there with us.
So Brett, rather than shutting down when he feels stung by a comment from Cali, takes a deep breath and turns Towards her rather than Away. He says, “ Heh, I really wanted you to see how hard I tried here – I so wanted to please you. I need your reassurance that you do see how I try.” As she responds warmly to this, he then shares the problems that are happening at work that make him feel “small”. Cali feels honored that he is risking and sharing and proud that she is the one that can help him with these emotions. Then they share the differences between them and Brett’s problems are work suddenly seem unimportant.
These moments spark a sense of safety and love in our brains – they are coded as “HOME”. Everyone wants to come home to someone, and science is showing us how to do it.
In September 2016, Cardus Family released an in-depth report calledMarriage is Good for Your Health. The purpose was to examine whether the rumours were true: Did marriage actually have a positive effect on an individual’s health outcomes, both physical and mental, in the scientific literature? (more…)
APA International Conference: Crossroads of Couple and Family Psychology 2017
- text of plenary by Dr. Sue Johnson –
As Sol Garfield points out, there are now over 1,000 names for approaches to psychotherapy and 400 systematically outlined methods of intervention. How the “talking cure” as referred to by Freud, first called “psychotherapy” by an English psychiatrist, Walter Cooper Dendy in 1853, has grown. Throughout history we have had many different perspectives on mental misery, symptoms and problems, more and more abstract labels for these problems and lots of varying ideas about how to fix them. (more…)
Having just come back from the June Sex and Attachment conference in NYC, I was thinking about how we go for the sensational and the exotic in our public conversations and miss the obvious simple down to earth realities that truly define our sex lives. (more…)