VIDEO: Susan Johnson on Breaking Negative Cycles

How "Secure Base" Restores the Emotional and Physical Spark

Susan Johnson • 3/14/2018 • 2 Comments

It's all too common to find partners that have lost not only the sexual spark in their relationship, but an emotional connection as well. And no wonder, says Susan Johnson, couples therapist, developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy, and the author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Without the presence of emotional connection and safety—what Johnson refers to as "secure base," attempts to reignite physical passion are doomed to fail.

In the following video clip from Johnson's 2016 Networker Symposium keynote address, "Attachment and the Dance of Sex," she shares the story of her clients Frank and Sylvie—two partners stuck in a cycle of shame, hurt, anger, and stonewalling that left them "frayed and alone"—and how, through establishing secure base, they restored both emotional and physical passion to their relationship.


Susan Johnson, EdD, the developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and Families, is the director of ICEEFT–The International Center for Excellence in EFT. She’s also the author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.

As Johnson notes, therapists not only have the capability to guide struggling couples through a step-by-step process for restoring connection, but teach them to weather the storm when this connection is tested. And like birds in a mating ritual, you'll witness couples with secure base become more open, understanding, and playful.

"Hundreds of attachment studies show that safe emotional connection is the opposite of deadening, in or out of bed," says Johnson. "A secure base allows us to play, to learn, to explore each other’s bodies and minds. Thrilling sex is about being secure enough to surrender to the moment—to let go and see what happens.

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Did you enjoy this video? You might also want to check out Susan's Networker article "The Dance of Sex," in which she explains how helping partners experience bonding moments can open them to becoming emotionally accessible to each other, and as a result, often lead to improved sexual connection.

Topic: Attachment Theory | Sex & Sexuality

Tags: attachment | attachment disorder | attachment disorder treatment | Attachment Theory | attachment-based therapy | bonding | bonds | John Bowlby | love | love and relationships | romance | sex | Sex & Sexuality | sex life | sex therapist | Sue Johnson | Susan Johnson

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2 Comments

Saturday, February 4, 2017 7:08:10 PM | posted by Catherine Cherry
I always enjoy listening to Sue, and I get more grounded in EFT Therapy every time.

Saturday, February 18, 2017 7:41:04 PM | posted by Barbara Stern
I love Sue's work and I know that it works on many different levels!