Sue Johnson Quotes
“If I appeal to you for emotional connection and you respond intellectually to a problem, rather than directly to me, on an attachment level I will experience that as “no response.” This is one of the reasons that the research on social support uniformly states that people want “indirect” support, that is, emotional confirmation and caring from their partners, rather than advice.”
“When love doesn’t work, we hurt. Indeed, “hurt feelings” is a precisely accurate phrase, according to psychologist Naomi Eisenberger of the University of California. Her brain imaging studies show that rejection and exclusion trigger the same circuits in the same part of the brain, the anterior cingulate, as physical pain.”
“For all of us, the person we love most in the world, the one who can send us soaring joyfully into space, is also the person who can send us crashing back to earth. All it takes is a slight turning away of the head or a flip, careless remark. There is no closeness without this sensitivity. If our connection with our mate is safe and strong, we can deal with these moments of sensitivity. Indeed, we can use them to bring our partner even closer. But when we don’t feel safe and connected, these moments are like a spark in a tinder forest. They set fire to the whole relationship.”
“We now know that love is, in actuality, the pinnacle of evolution, the most compelling survival mechanism of the human species. Not because it induces us to mate and reproduce. We do manage to mate without love! But because love drives us to bond emotionally with a precious few others who offer us safe haven from the storms of life. Love is our bulwark, designed to provide emotional protection so we can cope with the ups and downs of existence. This drive to emotionally attach — to find someone to whom we can turn and say “Hold me tight” — is wired into our genes and our bodies. It is as basic to life, health, and happiness as the drives for food, shelter, or sex. We need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy — to survive.”
“Bowlby came to believe that disrupted relationships with parents or surrogate caregivers could cripple healthy emotional and social growth, producing alienated and angry individuals. In 1944, Bowlby published a seminal article, “Forty-Four Juvenile Thieves,” observing that “behind the mask of indifference is bottomless misery and behind apparent callousness, despair.”
“We have to dive below to discover the basic problem: these couples have disconnected emotionally; they don’t feel emotionally safe with each other. What couples and therapists too often do not see is that most fights are really protests over emotional disconnection. Underneath all the distress, partners are asking each other: Can I count on you, depend on you? Are you there for me? Will you respond to me when I need, when I call? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you? Do you need me, rely on me? The anger, the criticism, the demands, are really cries to their lovers, calls to stir their hearts, to draw their mates back in emotionally and reestablish a sense of safe connection.”
“There is no such thing as constructive criticism,” says John Gottman. “All criticism is painful.” He is correct. We never like to hear that there is something “wrong” with us, or that something needs changing, especially if this message is coming from the loved one we most depend on. Psychologist Jill Hooley’s work at Harvard measures the impact of critical, hostile comments made by loved ones and shows just how venomous disparagement by those we rely on can be. This censure may even trigger relapse of mental illness, such as depression.”
- Description: Dr. Sue Johnson is a world-renowned expert in the field of couples therapy. She is a clinical psychologist,researcher, professor, best-selling author. Topics Dr. Johnson addresses include: attachment and bonding, the science of love, interventions to repair relationships, and forgiveness. Dr. Johnson is the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a highly effective, research-backed intervention to help couples repair rifts and build strong loving bonds. She is the Director of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (which has numerous affiliated Centers around the world), the Director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute, a Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California and a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa.
Dr Johnson’s professional books include, The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors. Her book, Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, was written for the general public to explain the new science of adult bonding. This book is the basis for a program for post-deployment military couples created for the U.S. military and a relationship education program entitled Hold Me Tight: Conversations for Connection. Dr. Johnson has received numerous honours for her work, including the Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Couple and Family Therapy Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Research in Family Therapy Award from the American Family
Her new book, Love Sense: The New Science of Relationships will be published December 31, 2013.