“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

NEW book : Attachment Theory in Practice

for blog on book
for blog on book


Just read the amazing reviews for my new book for therapists and counsellors  – coming out January 2019 – Attachment Theory in Practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with Individuals, Couples, and Families. They are beyond positive. Talking about how the book will have an impact on the field of therapy – and that every therapist should read it! Oh and commenting that it is easy to read even! This feels like sunshine on my face!

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.They have all taught me that the way we grow change and thrive is to listen to our emotions – walk into and through them WITH a trusted other who can give us balance, affirmation and care. It’s the connection with another that gives us ground under our feet so we can reach up and grow.



The book is full of stories.

Jim, who constantly spirals into anxiety and thinks that he is somehow defective, wrong and unacceptable turns to face and pin down his fear and grieve the fact that he has faced this fear alone all his life. He grasps that we all have this fear – he is standing with millions of others – and accepts that this fear is reasonable -protecting him in a world where he was not held or comforted. He begins to tell me about his fear and listens to the voice of his now adult self and even my voice telling him that he can now hold this fear and calm it the way he calms his small son. He weeps in my sessions but his smile also gets bigger – wider – more open.

Amy and Bob find their way out of their dance of accuse and defend into standing together and looking at their dance and how it renders them helpless and leaves them alone. They learn to balance each other and then risk reaching for support in what we call a Hold Me Tight conversation – a conversation that predicts recovery from distress in our many studies and long term relationship satisfaction. You can even learn to shape  this conversation in the safety of your own living room with our new on-line program.

Jules and his wife Mary learn to see the desperation for connection that drives their son Paul’s acting out, to tune into him and hold him when he begins to flail around and to support each other to shape a more loving secure family life.

The message to me after all these years of research and teaching therapists and seeing clients is clear. So I just had to offer it to my fellow clinicians, especially when I see them diligently struggling with the hundreds of brands of therapy, growing lists of so called “disorders” and the ever increasing flood of lonely depressed and anxious folks who ask them for help.

The science of the last two decades, on emotion and how it makes sense, on the fact that our nervous systems are wired for connection with others – set up for attachment bonds, and, results from our own lab, on how to move people from disconnection and despair to a whole sense of self and a confident ability to dance with others, has to be our guide into the 21st century.

I want this book to make a difference – to inspire therapists everywhere – to bring the different tribes of therapy folks together and to empower us to lead those of us who are stumbling forward into a place I call “safe and sound”.

If you would like to join me you can preorder the book  –  or just wait till 2019 and go get it at your local bookstore.


This article was published on: 09/13/18 9:59 AM