Emotion shapes and organizes our experience and connection to others. It readies us for specific actions and motivates us to change. And research now confirms that when therapists help clients deepen emotion, they attain better outcomes in therapy. But most of us have never been systematically trained in how to work with intense emotion in the consulting room. We don’t fully understand the physiology of intense emotion or how to engage its inherent power to motivate, transform, and create change that lasts.
Here, Sue Johnson explains why avoidance is often the first response to raw emotion and how to overcome it.
Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.
Dr. Sue Johnson is an author, clinical psychologist, researcher, professor, popular presenter and speaker and a leading innovator in the field of couple therapy and adult attachment. Sue is the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Couples and Family Therapy (EFT), which has demonstrated its effectiveness in over 30 years of peer-reviewed clinical research. Sue Johnson is founding Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California, and Professor, Clinical Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, Canada, as well as Professor Emeritus, Clinical Psychology, at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous books and articles including Attachment Theory in Practice: EFT with Individuals, Couples and Families (2019) The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection (3rd edition, 2019) and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors (2002).