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Sue Johnson is known for her work in the field of psychology on bonding, attachment and adult romantic relationships. Johnson's work emerged on the family therapy and psychology field at a time when most couple's therapy approaches focused on one or more of the following: cognitive and behavioral interventions, improving communication skills, teaching negotiation skills, or applying psychoanalytic theory to the relationship. Johnson's focus on emotions and emotional process was often met with disdain or dismissed as it ran contrary to dominant views of emotion as being problematic or unnecessary to address in couples therapy.[citation needed]

Sue Johnson
Academic background
Alma materUniversity of British Columbia
Academic work
InstitutionsInternational Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy
Main interestsBonding, Attachment, Adult Romantic Relationships
Notable ideasEmotionally Focused Therapy

She along with Dr Leslie Greenberg developed Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and the founder of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT), a not for profit research and therapist training institute, where she also serves as Director. Johnson also heads the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute and is Professor Emeritus in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California.

Johnson’s best known professional books include, The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection (2004) and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors (2002).[1]


Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)Edit

Emotionally Focused Couple and Family Therapy (EFT), developed by Johnson, is an approach to helping couples both resolve relationship distress.

EFT is a short-term, structured psychotherapy approach to working with individuals, couples and families. It includes elements of experiential, person-centered , and systems perspectives , but is firmly established in attachment theory.[citation needed]

Media appearancesEdit

Johnson has been on, among other television programs, Steven and Chris (CBC), Unfaithful (OWN), Canada AM (CBC), Huffington Post Live.[citation needed]

She has been profiled in the New York Times, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mind Body Green, Dr. Drew, Psychology Today, Tribune, Huffington Post, Glamour, Self, Salon, Dr. Oz: The Good Life, Quartz, Wired, MacLean’s, Woman’s Day, Redbook, and The Globe and Mail.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Johnson was born in Chatham, Kent, England. She grew up in an English pub where she became fascinated by the drama of close relationships and people’s emotions. Johnson graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1984 with a doctorate in Counseling Psychology.[citation needed] She currently resides in Ottawa, Canada, with her husband John. She adores Gilbert and Sullivan, Monty Python, Argentine tango and kayaking on Canada’s northern lakes.[citation needed]


Books authored
  • Johnson, S.M. (2019) Attachment Theory in Practice: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) With Individuals, Couples, and Families. New York: Guilford Press
  • Johnson, S.M.; Sanderfer, K. (2016) Created for Connection: The "Hold Me Tight" Guide for Christian Couples. New York: Little Brown
  • Johnson, S.M. (2013) Love Sense: The Revolutionary Science of Romantic Relationships. New York: Little Brown
  • Johnson, S.M. (2008) Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. New York: Little Brown
  • Johnson, S.M. (2007). Practica de la Terapia Matrimonial Concentrada Emocionalmente: Creando Conexiones New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group – Spanish Edition.
  • Johnson, S.M., Bradley, B., Furrow, J., Lee, A., Palmer, G., Tilley, D. & Woolley, S.(2005) Becoming an Emotionally Focused Therapist: The Workbook. New York: Brunner /Routledge.
  • Johnson, S.M. (2002) Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Johnson, S.M. (1996) (2004 -2nd edition). Creating Connection: The Practice of Emotionally Focused Marital Therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel (now Brunner /Routledge).
  • Saxe, B. J., Johnson, S.M. et al. (1994) From victim to survivor: A group treatment model for women survivors of incest. Government of Canada: Health Department. Distributed across Canada in French and English, pp. 1–188.
  • Greenberg, L. & Johnson, S.M. (1988) Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. New York: Guilford Press.
Articles authored

Books editedEdit

  • Furrow, J., Johnson, S. & Bradley, B. (2011) The Emotionally Focused Casebook. New York:Brunner/Routledge.
  • Johnson, S.M. & Whiffen, V. (Spring 2003) Attachment Processes in Couples and Families. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Johnson, S.M. & Greenberg, L. S. (Eds.) (1994) The Heart of the Matter: Emotion in Marital Therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel. Behavior Science Book Club Special Selection.


  1. ^ Best, Marlene (2010). "A Review of "Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds"". The American Journal of Family Therapy. 39 (1): 82–85. doi:10.1080/01926187.2010.530918.