Hold Me Tight:
Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
by Dr Sue Johnson
On January 24-25th, 2015, Dr Sue Johnson joined
Dr Sam Jinich and Dr Michelle Gannon for a once-in-a-lifetime
Hold Me Tight Workshop with Sue, Sam & Michelle.
We want to share our most sincere and heartfelt thanks for the opportunity to attend the January 24-25th, 2015 Hold Me Tight Workshop. Since January and February workshops were sold out, we had signed up for the April Hold Me Tight Workshop with Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich. We reached out to them and due to a last minute cancellation, we were able to attend this weekend. To say the Hold Me Tight Workshop was transformative would be an understatement. We both feel that our lives and our relationship has been profoundly changed. Before attending the Hold Me Tight Workshop, our relationship was stuck.
We are both good at communicating and bounce back from arguments and conflict quickly. For the past few years, our relationship got to a point where it wasn’t working anymore and after 8 years of being in a relationship, we were at a critical point. Words like “break up” and “separation” were being used, and it scared us both to death. We wanted our relationship to continue because we love each other and truly want to be together, but it seemed impossible.
While reading the book, Hold Me Tight, we were blown away. We both are very logical people and I tend to be a very linear thinker. The fact that all the information in the book was based on peer reviewed research was a huge factor for us. There was no fluff, no “woo-woo” pseudo-science. It all made perfect sense. Because the upcoming Hold Me Tight Workshops were full, we settled on the April session and crossed our fingers that we would even be together then.
But then something magical happened… a last minute cancellation occurred and we were able to not only attend the workshop early, but attend this weekend’s session with Dr. Sue in attendance. It was kismet!
Admittedly, Damien was still skeptical when we arrived on the first day. Yes, he understood the research presented in the book, but was concerned that there would be upselling or other issues with the workshop He was worried that in order to unlock the secrets of this method, that we would have to “spend another thousand dollars for the next conference”. Despite his reservations, he kept an open mind.
By the end of the first day, all his fears were quelled. We felt closer than we had in years. It was amazing. We didn’t think it could get any better, but then something really special happened during the Hold Me Tight conversation on the second day… with the help of one of the EFT Volunteer Therapists (Beth Jaeger-Skigen), we had a major breakthrough. We sat in our chairs with tears in our eyes, and it was like all the hurts, all the stickiness that was holding us back and all the misunderstandings were suddenly crystal clear. We loved each other. We desperately needed each other. We both felt open and safe enough to admit that we couldn’t do life without each other! It was a pivotal moment.
We say we love each other every day. We give hugs and affection and talk frequently about why we care about each other and why our relationship is important.. but this was different. It wasn’t just words – it was a deep, profound understanding. It didn’t require caveats, conditions or heady, intellectual explanation. It was like our hearts became one and we both realized that every insecurity, every fear was completely shared. We mean so much to each other and are so scared of losing one another that we were simultaneously pushing each other away to avoid hurting in the future. The Hold Me Tight conversation removed the fear from the underlying soft feelings of affection, care, and love from each of us, and we were able to sit, comfortably, without fear, in complete security knowing that our love is unshakable, as long as we break through ‘The Nothing’ (the name of our demon dialogue/cycle – a reference to The Nothing in the Never Ending Story) and are vulnerable with each other.
I recently read about some research being done on bonding/love, where researchers take two strangers and have them enter a room. They read through 36 questions together (to create intimacy) and at the end, look into each other’s eyes for 2 – 4 minutes. Something like 75% of the time the two strangers end up falling in love from that interaction. I was reminded of this during the workshop exercises when we gazed into each others eyes at the end of each day expressing gratitude for each other- again, our eyes welled with tears and all I could think of was how much I loved this person sitting across from me. It was like the entire weekend’s intimate work was sealed with our gaze. It was amazing.
Damien told me that he felt like the Hold Me Tight Workshop was the best thing he has ever done. He said that he felt profoundly moved by the experience and that he would never be the same after. I told him I felt the same way.
Thank you Michelle, Sam and Sue.
Your Hold Me Tight Workshop saved our relationship.. the most important thing in our lives that seemed to be slipping through our fingers no matter how tightly we clenched. We now both feel relaxed, secure, and totally in love. To say thank you doesn’t seem sufficient, but thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
With hearts full of love,
Kate & Damien
Praise for Dr. Sue Johnson’s Hold Me Tight
“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 Relationships Work
“Finally we have a streamlined version of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), a leading empirically supported treatment for couples, written for lay people with a matter of fact discussion of the research literature and couple therapy.”
– Family Psychologist Volume 25 No.1
“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 Mindsight, Parenting from the Inside Out & Brainstorm
“Dr. Sue Johnson has finally written the indispensable book for every couple in love.”
– The American Journal of Family Therapy
“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