Being Well Podcast: Attachment Theory & EFT with Dr. Sue Johnson

In this episode of the Being Well Podcast, hosts Forrest and Rick Hanson speak to an exceptional guest, Dr. Sue Johnson, the pioneering force behind Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Dr. Johnson, known for her transformative work in attachment theory, engages in a deep and thoughtful dialogue that is certain to broaden and inform your understanding of relationships.

We are treated to the fascinating story of Dr. Johnson’s development of EFT. This valuable context provides a strong foundation what follows. The hosts and Dr. Johnson then transition into an exploration of relationships, emphasizing their nature as emotional bonds over mere transactional bargains.

One of the standout elements of this episode is the enlightening discussion around the role of the amygdala in solidifying skills learnt in therapy. Alongside this, the conversation around vulnerability’s significant role in forming genuine, fulfilling connections is truly powerful, equipping listeners with essential knowledge to cultivate healthier relationships.

Forrest and Rick Hanson expertly guide the dialogue, covering topics from the importance of good examples of bonding conversations, the transformative effect of changing how one relates to oneself, and the appropriate contexts for using EFT versus Internal Family Systems. A particularly poignant segment of the podcast involves the recognition of helplessness, a novel perspective that may empower listeners in their own personal growth journeys.

Towards the end of the episode, the hosts and Dr. Johnson reflect on the balance between individualism and vulnerability, a pertinent topic for many navigating relationships in today’s world.

The breadth of Dr. Johnson’s knowledge, gathered from her expansive career as a clinical psychologist, researcher, professor, and EFT founder, radiates throughout this episode. Her acclaimed contributions, including her best-selling book “Hold Me Tight”, make her a reputable source of wisdom for anyone aiming to build secure and emotionally healthy relationships. This episode of the Being Well Podcast is an enlightening deep-dive into the realm of relationships, providing a harmonious blend of theoretical understanding and practical advice.

Hold Me Tight Couples Exercise #2

This is the second in a series of exercises which can be found in the Hold Me Tight Workbook A Couple’s Guide For a Lifetime of Love by Dr Sue Johnson.

The acronym A.R.E stands for Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement, which are crucial elements in love relationships. The strength of a relationship is found when we find ourselves asking questions like, “Do I matter to you? Can I reach you? Are you emotionally available to me? Can I rely on you to respond when I need you? Will you engage with me and give me your attention?” These A.R.E. questions often remains hidden under the surface during recurring arguments that revolve around practical concerns such as chores, personality differences, sex, children, and finances. Partners who feel secure and loved can navigate these differences and issues collaboratively, whereas those who don’t tend to channel their relationship problems and fears into constant disagreements.


Does your partner’s perception of how accessible, responsive, and emotionally engaged you are, fit with your view of yourself and how safe your relationship is? Read each statement and answer T (true) or F (false). You can complete the questionnaire individually, then either reflect on the answers on your own, or discuss your answers together.

From your viewpoint, is your partner available to you?

  1. I can get my partner’s attention easily. T F
  2. My partner is easy to connect with emotionally. T F
  3. My partner shows me that I come first with them. T F
  4. I am not feeling lonely or shut out in this relationship. T F
  5. I can share my deepest feelings with my partner. They will listen. T F

From your viewpoint, is your partner responsive to you?

  1. If I need connection and comfort, they will be there for me. T F
  2. My partner responds to signals that I need them to come close. T F
  3. I find I can lean on my partner when I am anxious or unsure. T F
  4. Even when we fight or disagree, I know that I am important to my partner and we will find a way to come together. T F
  5. If I need reassurance about how important I am to my partner, I can get it. T F

Are you positively emotionally engaged with one another?

  1. I feel comfortable being close to and trusting my partner. T F
  2. I can confide in my partner about almost anything. T F
  3. I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we’re connected to one another. T F
  4. I know that my partner cares about my joys, hurts, and fears. T F
  5. I feel safe enough to take emotional risks with my partner. T F

How to Make Love Last Forever

This insightful video from the School of Life is aptly titled “How to Make Love Last Forever”. At the dawn of relationships, it’s usual to find ourselves immersed in a powerful wave of admiration and longing for our partners.

We relish their company, continually preoccupied with their myriad abilities and accomplishments. Yet, as time passes, this fervour cools, a phenomenon often attributed to the mundanity of constant exposure. This video explores the deeper, psychologically complex reasons behind this shift, which reveal a far more optimistic perspective. Our initial infatuation and experience is the hope we have that our relationship can be all that we truly long for. However we also need to do the work and truly understand who we are if these seeds are to grow and produce the fruit of love.