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.”



Susan Johnson

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).

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.