I went to workshops and talks by Daniel Wile, the Gottmans, the Hendrixes, Bader & Pearson, Cloe Madanes, Michele Weiner-Davis, and Terry Real. And those are just the ones I remember. Yes, I saw them all in person. And while all of them had something useful to say, nothing “clicked.” So I kept searching for the couple therapy approach that I felt would be worth my time and investment into further training. In the meantime, I was still floundering in my couple work, yet still doggedly trying to figure it out.
And then I found it.
I was at the big Evolution of Psychotherapy conference in December 2009 where I first saw Susan Johnson in action. In an arena of that could seat 7,500 people, she met with a couple who was willing to do a live session with her in the middle of that arena. This wasn’t a role-play of a couple, but a real couple with a real problem they were trying to overcome. And maybe 15 minutes into the session, Sue went down and deep into this couple’s world. From the distance where I was sitting in that cavernous place, I was struck with how intimate Sue got, how fast she got there, and how on-target she was. A hush came over that place as we could all feel the shifts happening right in front of us. It was palpable and real. I was utterly dumbfounded by what I saw. And I remember thinking to myself, “THAT is what I need.” However, I did not know how to get it. So when I saw an ad for the 2013 Chicago EFT externship taught by Susan Johnson herself, I did not hesitate to sign up for the 4-day intensive workshop. It did not disappoint. I learned how Sue creates the experiential moment – the moment of change – not by chance or mere intuition. It was broken down into an elegant theory of change, with intentional stages and steps that one could rely on time and again.