An Attachment-Based Approach with Couples

Harnessing Emotion in Couples Work

Susan Johnson

When couples leave the consulting room, what keeps them from falling back into the destructive, deep-seated behavioral patterns that brought them there in the first place? In other words, how do in-session breakthroughs become daily habits?


The answer, according to Hold Me Tight author Susan Johnson, is to create moments of emotional sharing so deep that they automatically translate into couples’ lives. In this brief video clip, she puts it this way: “When couples truly discover how to share their vulnerabilities with each other in session, they’ll naturally find ways to continue to do that on their own.”

Susan achieves this by helping partners have what she calls “hold me tight” conversations, in which they open up about the blocks that have kept them apart. As she puts it, “If we can become comfortable with the power of emotion, it becomes the therapist’s ally, rather than a disruptive force to be contained.”

In the Networker Webcast Series When Attachment is the Problem, Susan offers more techniques for helping couples learn new ways of relating, along with rich examples of how she harnesses the power of emotion to effect change in couples’ attachment.


Topic: Attachment Theory | Couples

Tags: breakthrough | emotion | habits | Susan Johnson | therapist | therapists

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