Dr. Sue Johnson — author, clinical psychologist, researcher, professor, popular presenter and speaker — was a leading innovator in the field of couple therapy and adult attachment. Sue was the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which has demonstrated its effectiveness in over 35 years of peer-reviewed clinical research.

Sue was also founding Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant University in San Diego, California, and Professor Emeritus, Clinical Psychology, at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Dr. Johnson has received a variety of awards acknowledging her development of EFT and international training and certification program, and other significant contributions to the field of couple and family therapy and adult attachment, including the Order of Canada and the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from Psychotherapy Networker. (See list of awards below.)

Written for the general public, Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (2008), is a self-help version of her ground-breaking research – how to enhance relationships, how to repair them and how to keep them. This best seller has sold over one million copies worldwide, been translated into 30 languages, and now has a companion, The Hold Me Tight Workbook, published in 2022. The book was developed into the Hold Me Tight® Relationship Education and Enhancement Program, with workshops taking place around the world and also offered in an online format (HoldMeTightOnline.com). The program has been translated into numerous languages and adapted for specific groups, such as for couples facing heart disease, for families with teens, for families with adult children, and for Christian couples.

Sue’s second book for the general public, Love Sense, The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships (2013), outlines the new logical understanding of why and how we love – based on new scientific evidence and cutting-edge research. Explaining that romantic love is based on an attachment bond, Dr. Johnson shows how to develop our “love sense” – our ability to develop long-lasting relationships.

Dr. Johnson’s best-known professional books include The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection (3rd edition, 2020), Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (2019), and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors (2002). Attachment Theory in Practice: EFT with Individuals, Couples and Families (2019), delineates the promise of attachment science in terms of making sense of and repairing our most precious relationships and thriving as strong resilient individuals. Attachment science offers us the most potent model for therapeutic change, especially when dealing with anxiety and depression, and that, of all models of intervention, EFT most closely captures the essence of the attachment perspective. EFT targets the defining feature of survival-oriented human connection, namely strong emotion, and systematically shapes core bonding interactions with others. Sue’s most recent professional book, A Primer for Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT), published in 2021, highlights the unique benefits of EFT as a cross-modality approach for treating emotional disorders in individuals.

Published in late 2022, Edgar and Elouise – Sagas 1 & 2, is Sue’s first work of fiction. It tells the story of a group of fascinating animals who learn to discover who they are, face fear and peril in the face of overwhelming odds and come together to fight to save their world.

Dr. Johnson trained counsellors in EFT worldwide and consulted to the 89 international institutes and affiliated centers who practice EFT. She also consulted to Veterans Affairs Canada and the U.S. and Canadian militaries.


  • 2022 Psychotherapy Networker Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2017 Awarded the Order of Canada
  • 2016 APA Family Psychologist of the Year – American Psychological Association, Div. 43
  • 2014 Invited to give the 21st John Bowlby Memorial Lecture at the John Bowlby Memorial Conference 2014, London, UK
  • 2013 Professional Training Award – American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)
  • 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award – Belgium Association for Couple and Family Therapy
  • 2005 Research in Family Therapy Award – American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA)
  • 2003 Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Family Division – Susan Johnson was made a Fellow in recognition of her contribution to this field.
  • 2003 Excellence in Education Teaching Award – University of Ottawa
  • 2001 Women of Distinction Award for work in health and well-being – YMCA
  • 2000 Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Marriage & Family Therapy Award – American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT)

Books by Dr. Johnson

For a complete list of books by Dr. Johnson, please click here.

Publications by Dr. Johnson

To see Dr. Johnson’s, and other’s, EFT BooksEFT ChaptersEFT Articles, and EFT Research publications, please see the reference lists available under the Therapist Resources menu.