Remembering Sue Johnson

Sue Johnson Blog

It’s with profound sadness that I inform you that Sue Johnson passed away after a six-year struggle with cancer.

Sue was a favourite of many, including:

  • therapists around the world.
  • colleagues who benefitted from her work and who so enjoyed being with her at conferences and learning to alter their approach to therapy based on her insights.
  • those in the public who took to her ideas about the importance of love and connection through her popular books and media appearances.
  • clients whose lives were changed.
  • her family to whom she devoted such care and affection.
  • the government of Canada, who awarded her the Order of Canada.

I first met Sue in 2000, having invited her to present a workshop in Toronto. Sue’s development of Emotionally Focused Therapy in working with couples certainly met our criteria of being on the “leading edge”.

I knew that “in person” Sue was delightful, and she soon learned that our audience loved learning from her. Her stories exemplified her ideas and endeared her to everyone. For example, she would often speak about her journey from “growing up in a pub” in England to developing her approach that focusses on love and connection. And evaluations after her workshops reinforced her impact as therapists who previously struggled with how to perform couples therapy found a compelling answer and approach through Sue’s teachings.

Whether she was speaking to hundreds in a large auditorium or chatting over tea during a break, Sue’s warmth and love of engagement with others shone through. And she became part of the EFT approach. Sue was also committed to putting forth her case for EFT, expanding from couples to its value in working with families and individuals. She preached the importance of rigorous research and was engaged in and supported these endeavours around the world.

Sue Johnson was a real dynamo — writing books, seeing clients, supervising, and supporting others. She was founding Director of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) and the author of many books for therapists and the public.

Sue moved from Ottawa to Victoria, BC, six years ago. During my visit to her home about two years ago, she excitedly talked about what a pleasure it was to be there in BC. Yes, of course, the climate and more relaxed style. But she especially liked the way people connected. She talked about regularly going to the corner store and meeting people who made eye contact, smiled, and carried on a conversation. This meant the world to her. Her new community was “holding her tight”.

As we all will in our memories.

Thank you, Sue.

Michael Kerman
Founder and President
Leading Edge Seminars