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

Alaine de Botton – Why You Will Marry The Wrong Person

I was recently captivated by this thought provoking presentation by Alain de Botton on stage at The School of Life, where he unravelled some profound notions first presented in his thought-provoking New Yorker essay, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.”

With his trademark blend of wisdom, wit, and vulnerability, de Botton delves into the complexities of modern relationships, challenging conventional beliefs and offering a compelling perspective on the elusive nature of true love. I particularly loved the way he explored the delicate balance between our yearning for happiness and the inevitable imperfections that accompany human connection. In this video de Botton talks about how rage is an indicator of the hope that things can be better in our relationship, a theme we explore in EFT as well. Watch it alone or with your partner to seed some hope in your relationships.

What is your attachment style?

By recognizing your own attachment style, you can gain insight into your patterns of behavior and begin to make changes that will lead to more secure and fulfilling relationships.

Photo by Jonathan Singer

Recommended Reading

Here are a list of books, podcasts and online resources that Lee recommends. These are great resources to support you on your journey of self discovery.


Brainstorm The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel J. Siegel
Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell


Hold Me Tight by Dr Sue Johnson
Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships by Dr Sue Johnson
Podcast: Sue Johnson Interview with Tim Ferriss How to Improve Sex and Crack the Code of Love
Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch
The Two of Us: An Emotional Focused Workbook For Couples by Veronica Kallos-Lilly and Jennifer Fitzgerald
Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy by Jessica Fern


Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski


Remaking Manhood: The Healthy Masculinity Podcast