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Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors : Strengthening Attachment Bonds
Susan M. Johnson, Ed.D. | Sue
Guilford Publications / Softcover / 2004-12-01 / 1593851650
Couple Therapy / Trauma
reg price: $46.95 our price: $ 42.26
228 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

This book provides a theoretical framework and an innovative model of intervention for distressed couples whose relationships are affected by the echoes of trauma. Combining attachment theory, trauma research, and emotionally focused therapeutic techniques, Susan M. Johnson guides the clinician in modifying the interactional patterns that maintain traumatic stress and fostering positive, healing relationships among survivors and their partners. In-depth case material brings to life the process of assessment and treatment with couples coping with the impact of different kinds of trauma, including childhood abuse, serious illness, and combat experiences. The concluding chapter features valuable advice on therapist self-care. --- from the publisher


“A well balanced book....A very informative book. It held my attention from cover to cover....Johnson ably demonstrated how the couple can be both worked with therapeutically to ameliorate psychological distress and cause the exasperation of distress....Johnson's EFT has most definitely brought another level of awareness, when working with traumatized clients, to the therapeutic table.”

—Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis

“A significant addition to the trauma treatment literature....Case examples are vivid, interesting, and tackle complex issues. Interventions are similarly detailed and well described....Recommended to all therapists working with couples where one or both members of the couple have suffered trauma.”

—Journal of Trauma Practice

“[Johnson] is an experienced clinician and a gifted writer. Individuals interested in adult attachment processes and the impact of trauma on either individual or relationship functioning, and clinicians committed to intervening with trauma survivors from either an individual or couple perspective, will find this book an invaluable resource.”

—Relationship Research News

“Most therapists nowadays take for granted the obvious relevance of couple therapy for ruptures of relationship bonds. But what is unique about this book is the vivid and vital way in which Johnson reveals the power of couple relationships to help heal trauma originally experienced by individuals outside those relationships. I hope this book will launch a new era in the psychotherapeutic treatment of PTSD and related disorders. It's that good.”

—Alan S. Gurman, PhD, University of Wisconsin Medical School

“With the increasing recognition that many couples 'problems are related to the traumas of one or both partners comes the need for a new framework for understanding and doing couple therapy. This book succeeds brilliantly in providing such a framework. Skillfully integrating aspects of attachment theory, traumatology, and emotion-focused couple therapy, Susan Johnson enriches each of these fields while also providing practical guidelines for both beginning and seasoned clinicians. This book represents an important advance in the treatment of couples and of trauma survivors. I will be recommending it to all my students and colleagues.”

—Richard C. Schwartz, PhD, Center for Self Leadership, Oak Park, IL

“This book is a major advance in the treatment of traumatized individuals and their partners, and a much-needed resource for clinicians. Dr. Johnson clearly shows how the experience of any kind of trauma can resonate in an individual's significant relationships, thereby compounding and extending the reach of the stressful experience. Offering an important theoretical perspective on the significance of attachment to the healing process, the book outlines a sequenced treatment approach and specific strategies and techniques to help couples rework and recover from the devastating effects of past trauma.”

—Christine A. Courtois, PhD, The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program, The Psychiatric Institute of Washington; author of Healing the Incest Wound and Recollections of Sexual Abuse

“Johnson offers a highly engaging and readable approach for clinicians working with couples affected by trauma. Her brilliant synthesis, based on extensive scholarship and a depth of clinical experience, applies to couples dealing with childhood trauma as well as those mired in past hurts from the relationship itself. Regardless of theoretical orientation, clinicians will learn much that they can apply to help in their most difficult couple cases.”

—Karen S. Wampler, PhD, Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, Texas Tech University


I. Trauma in Context: Healing in Attachment Relationships
1. Healing Connections: Expanding the Role of Couple Therapy
2. Trauma and Its Aftermath
3. Attachment and Trauma
4. Assessment
5. Interventions

II. Clinical Realities: Couple Therapy with Traumatized Couples
6. Couple Therapy to Create a Secure Base for the Treatment of Trauma
7. Defeating an Anxiety Disorder and Marital Distress
8. The Trauma of Physical Illness
9. Couple Therapy with Combat Veterans, Lyn Williams Keeler and Susan M. Johnson
10. Relationship Traumas: Attachment Injuries in Close Relationships
11. Therapists Who Deal with Dragons

About the Author:

Susan M. Johnson, EdD, is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa, Canada; Distinguished Research Professor in the Marital and Family Therapy Program at Alliant International University in San Diego; Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (; and Director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute. Widely published, she is the leading developer of emotionally focused therapy, which she teaches extensively in North America and internationally. Dr. Johnson is a recipient of honors including the Order of Canada—the highest civilian award given by the Canadian government, for outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to the nation—and the Distinguished Contribution to Family Systems Research Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. Her website is

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