Wow! Since a colleague recommended her, Sue Johnson’s work has refocused how I think about attachment and work with couples. This and her newer book, Love Sense, point out that the often ferocious intensity of marital squabbles is because of the extreme importance of our primary relationships from earliest life. Of course! And because these are primary relationships, they take us back to our earliest years when those relationships meant life or death. Couples are literally fighting for their lives.
Sue’s EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy) approach to this is to help couples understand and appreciate what they are really fighting about. As understanding grows, so does empathy and acceptance, until it is again possible to have loving and constructive interactions. It isn’t new for marital therapy to recognize that we automatically react to one another according to old patterns. What clicked for me was Sue Johnson’s putting that together with the passion that is so characteristic of our important relationships. Of course that goes for any intense relationship, including the one with your therapist as well as loved ones.
Buy Love Sense. I plan to post about other books that I think are particularly valuable in the future.