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Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds [Paperback]

Susan M. Johnson PhD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 18 2005 1593851650 978-1593851651 1
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.

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Review

"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


"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
(Journal of the Society for Existential Analysis 2005-01-20)

"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
(Journal of Trauma Practice 2005-01-20)

"[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
(Relationship Research News 2005-01-20)

About the Author

Susan M. Johnson, EdD, is Professor of Psychology in the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Ottawa Couple and Family Institute, Ottawa, Canada. Widely published, she is the main proponent of emotionally focused couple and family therapy, which she teaches extensively in North America and internationally. In 2005, she received the Distinguished Contribution to Family Systems Research Award from the American Family Therapy Academy. The website for Dr. Johnson's work is www.eft.ca.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous Contribution April 13 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Johnson looks for resources for effectively helping war trauma survivors. Her language is more than adequate professionally but doesn't get in the way of easily understanding what she is saying and where she is taking us. Her illustrations are earthy, practical and fun, all the while dealing with material that challenges the best of us as therapists. When we wake up in the night in cold sweats, the therapist isn't there. However my spouse is!

Great resource for those working with immigrants with war trauma previously factored into their equation.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exceptional Resource for Experienced Clinicians Sept. 28 2007
By Rosemary Bannon Tyksinski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This slim volume offers a clear overview of the essentials of successful treatment with this very difficult population.

Trauma survivors frequently evince high levels of emotional pain, can be hostile and controlling in their attachment interactions, have difficulty trusting their partners, and have high needs for reassurance and emotional security. It is not uncommon for trauma survivors to have histories of early attachment disorganization that, even in adulthood, result in high levels of emotional reactivity, suspicion, hostile attribution, revivification of early traumatic experience, affect dysregulation, deficits in metacognition, and low stress tolerance. These characteristics seriously hinder the formation of secure attachment bonds in adult romantic relationships and present a therapeutic mine field for both the couple and therapist.

Johnson clarifies the underlying issues inherent in the couple dynamics of trauma survivors and describes how she models affective attunement, empathic mirroring, and guides the couple into safe mutual emotional disclosure and responsiveness.

Other reviewers have criticized this book for its dry academic style and lack of accessiblity. Because of this there may be better volumes for those who seek to learn the fundamentals of couple therapy or for those who want to learn the basics of working with trauma survivors. However, for the experienced clinician Johnson provides a concise guide that pinpoints precise clinical leverage points and a theoretically coherent rationale for specific interventions.

Johnson's approach is theoretically and empirically grounded and is written with compassion, sensitivity, and clarity. It is the best resource I've found for this important treatment niche.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Systemic treatment for trauma Feb. 15 2007
By Thomas V. Frederick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Sue Johnson's Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds provides a rich resource for MFTs. First, Johnson argues for the necessity of placing relationship treatment in what is often thought of as an "individual" form of psychopathology. Second, she clearly delineated the differences between the standard approach to EFT and modifications for addressing trauma with EFT. Her inclusion of several case studies has been helpful for understanding the application of EFT with different kinds of trauma. Finally, her text is replete with systems thinking that I find invaluable as both a marriage and family therapist and a professor.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Nov. 28 2007
By D. Best - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Thia book was a really good tool in creating a stronger relationship with my husband. The case studies in chapter 6 to the end of the book were the most helpful in providing clear guidance. I am recommnending this book to all my friends to strengthen their relationships.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for attachment based therapists March 26 2006
By E. B. Feldhousen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a doctoral student in marriage and family therapy with an interest in an attachment based approaches to working with traumatized couples, I found this book extremely helpful. Susan Johnson really spells out the theory, and gives powerful examples.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disapointing and boring Dec 24 2006
By Dr. John Laughlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book adds little to the present litterature on the subject of traum and is written in a boring, academic, removed style. You can get much better informaion about trauma in other works and as for EFT, Dr. Johnson's first book is a gem and just read and reread that.
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