VIDEO: Susan Johnson on the Power of Emotion in Couples Work

The Behavior Patterns That Kill Romance, and How to Beat Them

Many couples in therapy complain that their sex life has dried up. But according to Susan Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), the lack of sex isn’t the real problem between these couples—it’s the lack of emotional connection, mutual understanding, and a sense of security.

In this video clip with Networker Editor Rich Simon, Johnson makes the case for addressing attachment issues that make a relationship feel unsafe before delving into the couple’s sex life. “Couples who open up emotionally,” she says, “start to open up physically to each other, too.” Address the emotion, she explains, “and their sex is going to start to improve.”

Johnson has spent decades developing techniques that go directly to the heart of couples’ problems in order to naturally heal all areas of the relationship. No issue is isolated—sexual problems aren’t confined to the bedroom, small arguments are implicitly about much more, and negative attachment patterns can permeate every facet of the relationship.

Rich Simon

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.

Susan Johnson

Dr. Sue Johnson was the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Couples and Family Therapy (EFT), which has demonstrated its effectiveness in more than 30 years of peer-reviewed clinical research. Her books include 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). Read our tribute to Sue and learn more about her legacy on her website.