Is it time to improve your relationship and learn how to communicate in ways that promote better understanding and closeness?  Would you like to feel more accepted by your partner and have less conflict in your relationship?  Would you like to feel like your partner is more accessible, responsive and engaged with you?

We can help you in our Couples Workshop!

Dr. Michelle Gannon
Michelle Gannon, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
Certified EFT Therapist & Supervisor
Marriage Prep 101 Leader
Dr. Sam Jinich HMT
Sam Jinich, PhD
Clinical Psychologist
Certified EFT Therapist & Supervisor
San Francisco Center for EFT- Trainer

Join us at our Hold Me Tight Workshop

Dr. Michelle Gannon and Dr. Sam Jinich are Clinical Psychologists, Individual and Couples Therapists and Relationship Experts in San Francisco. They both have over 20 years of experience helping people improve their relationships.

Sam is a Certified Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer in Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Michelle is a Certified Therapist and Supervisor in Emotionally Focused Therapy and has co-led over 100 Marriage Prep 101 Workshops. Both Sam and Michelle love working with couples who desire better relationships.  Their professional expertise is in helping partners to feel more securely connected with each other in order to develop a more loving intimate relationship.

Dr. Sue Johnson developed the Hold Me Tight program, based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), and her bestseller book, Hold Me Tight.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) has been empirically validated, and its outstanding success has been heralded in many scientific journals, professional magazines and other media such as the New York Times and TIME.

The focus of EFT is to help partners to understand more clearly each other’s deepest emotions. Feelings are often hidden, unexpressed or misunderstood. Our relationships can be a cause of stress and pain or a source of comfort and joy. In EFT, we help couples learn how to deal with their feelings together, reach towards each other, and be responsive in more loving and positive ways.

The GREAT news is that we are now bringing the EFT model to you in our Hold Me Tight Couples Weekend Workshop that will be Effective, Safe, Supportive, and Validating. Most importantly, the weekend will be Positive, Proactive and FUN!  The tools you learn will continue to serve your relationship long after this weekend.

Testimonials from Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam

The Hold me Tight workshop was unquestionably the single most helpful weekend my wife and I have spent together since getting married!

We both approached the weekend with some trepidation, and after driving more than five hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we were apprehensive that maybe it “wouldn’t” work for us.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While the weekend requires an honesty and willingness to try the new model, the environment and the philosophy behind the Hold Me Tight Workshop was comforting/challenging and spectacularly effective. There was enough support from those around us, and yet enough intimacy for us to feel completely comfortable.

We are now strong converts to the couples therapy and the scientific approach that Sam and Michelle lead, and we both give it the strongest recommendation possible. It would be hard to find a more empathetic, but knowledgeable team than Sam and Michelle. They are superstars in focusing the training on each couple. This is an incredible course for people who want a better marriage, pure and simple.

- H and M
Los Angeles, California

My husband and I attended the San Francisco “Hold Me Tight Workshop”. My husband who is in the high tech industry felt comfortable and engaged and I appreciated his accompanying me so that we could grow closer. We have been married for thirty years and yet we still gained so much by participating. As a psychologist myself I was struck by the effectiveness of the leaders, Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich and the other therapists that assisted them. These people were very warm, knowledgeable, and very committed so that the participants were able to go through the steps and experience at a surprisingly deep level the ideas being presented. We both enjoyed reading the complimentary “Hold Me Tight” book they mailed us. It provided a scientific basis of the concepts and a way to acknowledge the importance of feeling connected while heeding the land mines that are all too common in relationships. Just today my husband reminded me about “Inside Outside” which was a lovely take away from the workshop.

Thanks again for the wonderful experience.

- Dee and Mark
San Francisco, California

One of the most effective aspects of attending the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich was that it jump-started a fresh start in our relationship. There is hurt and history, and a lot of work to do, but the workshop has for us, marked a new beginning; finally, we are both prioritizing our marriage at the same time, with a new understanding and appreciation of how we can work toward a closer emotional connection and therefore a happier and more fulfilled relationship.

Michelle, Sam and their team of EFT therapists created a safe, comfortable and warm environment. Michelle and Sam are knowledgeable, genuine, personal and professional. We were extremely impressed with all aspects of the weekend and quite grateful we attended.

- Patrick and Tracy
San Francisco, California

We have been married for 14 years and have been together for a total of 23 years. While we have always felt we had a “happy” relationship, we realized that we were at a point where our relationship needed a “tune-up”. Having a child and busy work schedules can get in the way of being close with your partner, and for us, that was certainly the case. We knew we loved each other, but we didn’t always feel it from one another.

The “Hold Me Tight Workshop” was truly a wonderful experience for us. We know a weekend isn’t going to change things completely, but we have the tools and language to work with one another when we feel disconnected. With the guidance of Michelle, Sam and the team of psychologists present, we were reminded of our deep love for each other, and we felt safe to practice new ways of talking to get to the heart of things. A few concepts that have really stuck with us are: Inside/Outside hugs, taking the elevator down a few floors, and truly listening to your partner and allow them the space to express how they feel without being defensive.

Thank you Michelle and Sam for your warmth and care. We look forward to coming back again, because it feels so good to regain that loving connection with each other! Thank you both, once again!

- Erika and Scott
San Francisco, California

Being married to a psychologist and having been together for 15 years, we “process” subject matters on a regular basis. In fact, there are times that I have to politely respond to my partner that we have processed the subject matter enough and need to move forward. Having said that… I was reluctant to give up an entire weekend to spend inside in a couple’s workshop. Picture a cat going to a vet for his/her yearly visit, seeing the carrier and having the human guardian trying to force him/her into it is a fairly accurate representation of how I was feeling on the car ride over to the event on day one of Hold Me Tight Workshop!

However, at the onset of the workshop, Dr. Michelle Gannon and Dr. Sam Jinich provided a loving environment to the point that I felt comfortable being vulnerable and being completely open and honest with myself and my partner. I could feel the resentment walls that I had built around me coming down brick-by-brick within a short period of time.

I learned that many of my confrontations with my partner, albeit had merit, had a common underlying trait — abandonment and loneliness occurring from childhood trauma. Wow. Two very powerful emotions. Also, I learned that my partner’s emotions during conflict were triggered by events that occurred also in his childhood. For the first time ever, he told me that he felt I would not love him when there was conflict. Well, that just broke my heart and I felt like my brain synopses were being rewired and rerouted. Rest assured, we both will be handling conflict in a completely different manner going forward because of the “Hold Me Tight Workshop.”

I can’t impress upon anyone who is questioning whether or not they are willing to give-up a weekend and make an emotional and monetary sacrifice… that you will be astonished with the positive and long-term takeaways so sign up and take a risk!

- Daniel and Greg
San Francisco, California

We recently attended the “Hold Me Tight Workshop” facilitated by Michelle and Sam in San Francisco. We have been married for 40 years and decided to give this workshop to ourselves as an anniversary present.

We recently retired and had time to move from our working relationship to something deeper. We were stuck in some old patterns and wanted to have a fresh approach. We certainly got all that and WAY more! We each had some AH HA moments and appreciated the new more loving and less threatening shared language.

The workshop built in a logical, organized way giving us new relationship skills at every step. The workbook that we used separately and together, the examples from other couples, the enlightening video clips, and the personalized 1:1 time was invaluable.

To us, this was a great jump start to a deeper more emotionally connected relationship.

A few days before the workshop, I found that I needed to have surgery which would be five days after the “Hold Me Tight Workshop” ended. I thought that “opening up a potential can of worms” so soon before the surgery might be MORE stressful, but after a phone conversation with Michelle, we decided to proceed. It was a very safe place to work on things and we are much more emotionally connected than we have been in years. This feels like the best decision we could have made at this time.

We would recommend this to any couple at any stage of their relationship!

- Mary and Peter
Woodside, California

I am married to a therapist who uses Emotionally Focused Therapy in her practice so I had some familiarity with it when I began reading the book “Hold Me Tight” to prepare for the workshop. The book spoke to me, but as the workshop approached, I began feeling somewhat out of my territory. I felt anxious for a week before the workshop and especially driving to San Francisco on the day of the workshop.

On arrival, we met other couples, the facilitators, and a few of the therapist-helpers who were there to provide support and guidance, and we started on time—a piece of structure that calmed me a little. What helped even more was “getting” the concept of the Negative Cycle, the dance in which my wife and I followed well-rehearsed arguing and blaming behaviors and found ourselves communicating with a third entity, our negative cycle, instead of one another.

One of the most important things I learned at this workshop was how to recognize that I was not having a discussion with my wife, but was caught in a well-worn script in which I was not listening to what she said or sensing how she felt, but waiting for her to stop talking so I could go on blaming or criticizing. For me, catching myself in the “cycle” helped me to slow down; once I slowed down, I started to listen to her and to my feelings, which led me to lower intensity and greater empathy.

Another thing important to me in this workshop was the sense of safety I felt from working among other couples who were also working on their relationship at the same time and place. I didn’t feel so vulnerable or in the spotlight because others, too, appeared to be experiencing deep and difficult feelings. And I very much appreciated the expertise of the facilitators, Dr. Sam Jinich and Dr. Michelle Gannon and their pacing, which allowed for thoughtful questions and discussion after each segment of the workshop.

It has been about four weeks since we went to the workshop and I continue to feel confident that even though we still get into our negative cycle at times and we can not prevent it from ever happening again, I have learned in this workshop that it is possible to find a compassionate way to mend and re-connect after injuries to the relationship. I would not hesitate to recommend this Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam to others who are interested in growing their connection with one another.

- Bill and Lindy
San Mateo, California

For the first time in our 3 year relationship and the first time in my life (47 years old), I feel hopeful that I can have a happy, securely bonded, healthy and fulfilling relationship. This is a BIG Deal.

We got so much out of the Hold Me Tight Workshop in San Francisco with Michelle and Sam. We just started working with an EFT therapist and this workshop helped to lay out a framework to work within and a strong foundation on which to start our work. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!

- C.P.
San Diego, California

The Hold Me Tight Workshop was transformative. Even though my husband and I have read the book, “Hold Me Tight”, and have been in couples therapy, the Hold Me Tight Workshop made the principles come to life. We didn’t re-hash history. We were able to do the exercises in a positive way, moving forwards and closer to each other. It gave us hope that the principles work when we can slow down and turn to each other. The humor, the vignettes, the video clips, the scientific data all added to help quiet the little voice in us that says “yes but….”

Both Michelle and Sam were kind, real, approachable and made an otherwise awkward situation feel comfortable, warm and welcoming. As if that wasn’t enough to help us, they selected a host of other warm and caring therapists who were constantly with us; Walking over in an unassuming and respectful way, gently steering us back to our partner.

Though our conflicts etc. are not solved or resolved, we realized it is possible to be together in a loving and connected way.

My husband and I really saw each other by the end of the workshop and knowing that it IS possible, makes us keep trying.

Thank you!

- Uma and Jason
San Francisco, California

We really benefited from the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam. It provided us with tools that will really help us deal with the difficulties of being a couple.

As a same-sex couple, we had some concerns about a “mixed-group” but felt perfectly welcome and safe. The structure was helpful and respectful. Thank You!”

- Nancy and Cathy
San Francisco Bay Area

At the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Sam and Michelle, we learned that being open to listening and asking questions and being more vulnerable opens the door to more understanding and more love. For the first time in 33 years of marriage, I was able to see who my husband really is behind all of the walls. He was willing to let me in. He revealed his heart to me for the first time. Ever. He let me see him as a sensitive, authentic and tender person. I was stunned. I am hoping that my husband and I can continue with the tools we learned from Hold Me Tight Workshop and heal our relationship.
Thank you Sam and Michelle for an incredible, life changing experience.

- Jennifer and Lin
San Francisco, California

Register for a weekend Hold Me Tight Workshop

Fort Mason Center

Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th, 2014
sorry-graphic9:00 am – 5:00 pmsold-out
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

Saturday, July 12th and Sunday, July 13th, 2014
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

Saturday, September 6th and Sunday, September 7th, 2014
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

$650 per couple

Register NOW to guarantee your space.


The price for the weekend includes:

  • The Hold Me Tight book (which we will mail to you in advance so you can read it before the workshop).
    At the Hold Me Tight Workshop, you will each receive a workbook full of helpful exercises.
  • Engaging presentations, video demonstrations of other real life couples, and the opportunity for many private exercises and conversations with your partner.
  • Michelle and Sam will be available to give you personal support and guidance as needed.
  • Experienced therapist helpers, trained in the EFT model, and available to you to offer additional support.
  • Coffee, Tea and Light Snacks will be provided. Lunch is on your own. Please feel free to bring your own snacks and drinks as well. (We are located at Fort Mason Center near restaurants and coffee shops in the Marina district.)

Continuing Education Credits (14) available for some health professionals.

What To Expect:

The Hold Me Tight Workshop is designed around seven conversations based on the Hold Me Tight book, all of which have been shown to be essential to successful relationships. You will learn how to understand and improve your relationship by presentations by the workshop leaders, private exercises and conversations with your partner and by watching video demonstrations of other couples.

Although we encourage questions and comments, you do not need to speak in the group if you do not wish to. All of the dialogues with your partner will be done in private, as we always emphasize privacy and comfort. We welcome people of all backgrounds, ages, faiths and sexual orientations. We encourage you to seek therapy if you are in high relational distress.

What Leading Relationship Experts and Authors say about Hold Me Tight:

Hold Me Tight Bookcover

“At last a road map through Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with its creator. Dr. Johnson’s superb science, humor, and clinical wisdom are finally accessible to all of us. I couldn’t pick a smarter, warmer and more real guide for this journey.”
- John Gottman, PhD, bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and co-author of And Baby Makes Three

“Dr Sue Johnson is the most original contributor to couples therapy to come along in the last thirty years. This book will touch your heart, stimulate your mind and give you practical strategies for improving your relationship.”
- William J. Doherty, PhD, author of Take Back Your Marriage

“Wonderful… Hold Me Tight blends the best in research findings with practical suggestions from a caring and compassionate clinician. Hold Me Tight will be of great benefit to couples trying to find their way to better communication and deeper, more fulfilling ways of being with each other. Bravo!”
- Daniel J Siegel, MD, author of Parenting from the Inside Out

“A much-needed message to all couples and therapists, and I recommend it to all”
- Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of Getting the Love You Want

At our Hold Me Tight Workshop, you will learn and experience how to:

  • Affirm strengths in your relationship
  • Address negative interaction patterns
  • Understand more clearly each other’s emotions
  • Recognize underlying reasons for your conflicts
  • Learn how to repair and forgive
  • Enhance your emotional and physical closeness
  • Improve your communication

About Your Hold Me Tight Workshop Leaders:

Michelle Gannon, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, Couples Workshop Leader and Relationship Expert. She is a Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist and Supervisor. Michelle is also a very experienced Couples Workshop Leader and has helped thousands of couples in her Marriage Prep 101 Workshops.

Dr. Gannon received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. She completed her Ph.D. dissertation research on psychotherapy outcome at Stanford University, and her postdoctoral and internship training at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and California Pacific Medical Center. Michelle has been trained in Gottman Scientifically Based Couples Therapy and she is recognized by the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. She is a member of the Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT) and past board member of San Francisco Psychological Association.

Michelle has been an Individual and Couples Therapist in San Francisco Private Practice for over 20 years. She is frequently interviewed about relationships in the media such as the San Francisco Chronicle, TIME, Huffington Post, PEOPLE, CBS Early Show, Evening Magazine TV and many more. Michelle’s clients and workshop couples describe her as a warm, active, attuned, empathic and optimistic therapist. She cares deeply and helps people explore and express their feelings, increase understanding of themselves and others, heal from painful experiences, increase empathy and reach for each other for more closeness and connection.

Sam Jinich, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, Couples Workshop Leader and Relationship Expert. He is a Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer. Sam is the Director of the San Francisco Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (SFCEFT).

Dr Jinich received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University’s Joint Doctoral Program. He completed his internship and postdoctoral training at University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Sam has been certified in the Gottman Bringing Baby Home program and he is recognized by the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. He is also a Co-Founder of the Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT) and Past President of San Francisco Psychological Association.

Sam has been an Individual and Couples Therapist in San Francisco for over 20 years. He specializes in working with clients who are experiencing emotional distress and a desire to deepen their understanding of themselves and improve in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, commitment, relationship-building and parenting. Sam is active and engaging in his approach with clients. He is also bilingual and bicultural in Spanish.


Register today to guarantee your space!

Please fill out the workshop registration form and submit to complete payment. After we receive your payment, your Hold Me Tight Workshop registration is confirmed. We recommend you register early to guarantee space.

We will email you both a Welcome Letter giving you important information regarding the Hold Me Tight Workshop including directions to Fort Mason Center.

Please watch for your Welcome Letter in your email inboxes. We will also mail one complimentary Hold Me Tight book. Please share and try to read before the workshop if possible. We look forward to meeting both of you!

  • American Express

If you have any trouble registering via this form, please contact us by email or call 415-905-8830.

Cancellation Policy

Your registration fee is non-refundable, but transferable. Once registered, if unforeseen circumstances prevent you from attending the Hold Me Tight Workshop you registered for, you are welcome to attend another Hold Me Tight Workshop with Sam and Michelle within 12 months of the registration date instead. However, if you cancel within 72 hours or fail to show up for the workshop, there will be a $75 transfer fee applied. All workshops are enrolled on a first come, first serve basis.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Esalen Catalog
Hold Me Tight Workshop will be offered at the beautiful Esalen Institute overlooking the ocean at Big Sur, California on June 27-29th.  For retreat details and registration, please visit Esalen.