Remembering Dr. Sue Johnson

This week my colleagues, couples therapists around the globe, are mourning the loss of an extremely special woman, Sue Johnson. For those who don’t know, Sue Johnson founded emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT), an approach to therapy that transforms the dynamic of the couple.

Her life’s work impacted me in so many ways: the way that I help my clients, the way I am as a wife, mother, daughter and sister. I feel the world will not be the same without her. I feel grief, appreciation, and I feel the void. She started emotionally focused couples therapy because she deeply cared about couples and families and felt there was hope for everyone to have a better life. She felt every human deserved to be seen and heard in a human way.

A lot can be said about EFT and I want to share some of what I learned from Sue.

Here are two of my favorite Sue quotes that I teach my couples: “Love isn’t the icing on the cake, it is like oxygen.” “Humans are not meant to be alone, isolation is for planets.”

These are my two favorite Sue stories that really show her uniqueness. The first story I often share when I am describing the beauty of EFT. I was trained by George Faller, who was trained directly by Sue Johnson. George met Sue when he was a firefighter and was trying to help firefighters with their marriages after 9/11. He was really struggling to help them after all of the trauma that that they suffered and the impact it had on their marriages. He did some research and found out about Sue Johnson and EFT. He reached out to Sue and asked for guidance. She heard his story and said that she will go to NYC and help these couples. That is how George’s EFT journey began. He now trains couples’ therapists around the world, including in Israel. George is one of the very few EFT trainers that run trainings that aren’t on Shabbos to cater to Shomer Shabbos therapists. Second, as a new EFT therapist, I reached out to Sue, who was a very well known sought after speaker and bestselling author. I asked her some questions and I begged her to come to Boca Raton. She said let’s do a webinar. So a few months later Sue Johnson was on a screen in my living room talking to a bunch of Boca EFT therapists. That was Sue and is EFT, human and accessible. Over the years, I reached out to her occasionally. I will feel her void. She made a huge mark on the world and taught many to keep her traditions going long after she leaves us.