Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

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Strengthen and deepen your relationships with revelatory practical exercises, seven profound conversations, and sage advice from “the best couple’s therapist in the world” (John Gottman, PhD, bestselling author) Are you looking to enrich a healthy relationship, revitalize a tired one, or rescue one gone awry? We all want a lifetime of love, support, and companionship. But sometimes we need a little help. Enter Dr. Sue Johnson, developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy and “the most original contributor to couple’s therapy to come along in the last thirty years,” according to Dr. William J. Doherty, PhD. In Hold Me Tight, Dr. Johnson shares her groundbreaking and remarkably successful program for creating stronger, more secure relationships. The message of Hold Me Tight is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, get to the emotional underpinnings of your relationship by recognizing that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. Dr. Johnson teaches that the way to enhance or save a relationship is to be open, attuned, and responsive to each other and to reestablish emotional connection. With this in mind, she focuses on key moments in a relationship and uses them as touch points for seven healing conversations, including:
Recognizing the Demon Dialogues
Finding the Raw Spots
Revisiting a Rocky Moment
Forgiving Injuries
Keeping Your Love Alive
These conversations give you insight into the defining moments in your relationship and guide you in reshaping these moments to create a secure and lasting bond. Through stories from Dr. Johnson’s practice, illuminating advice, and practical exercises, you will learn how to nurture, protect, and grow your relationship, ensuring a lifetime of love.

46 reviews for Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

  1. nonamems

    Slightly offended

    I was slightly offended by the part about the Asian immigrant couple on page 144.
    (I haven’t read the rest of the book. I just found this page while I was flipping through)

    Kyoko is a Japanese name and I am Japanese. But from what she’s described, I’m pretty sure this person is not Japanese because first of all, Japanese people don’t speak fast in English. They can’t. Japanese is a slow language and English is totally different from Japanese.
    Second of all, most Japanese people don’t raise their kids with strict rules. The society is strict but not the parents. I think a lot of American parents are a lot stricter than Japanese parents. If the author replaces the original names with an random name (which I’m sure she did to protect their privacy), she should have picked a name from the same country as their clients! There’s a reason Korea and Japan are not in good terms. We don’t understand each other. For example, From what I’ve read, Japanese people think being indirect is polite and Koreans think that being indirect is rude. So in Japan, you say “I think this is a regretful situation” instead of saying “I’m sorry.” But Koreans get outraged by that apology because they don’t consider it to be sincere. They think Japanese people are not taking accountability when they don’t say I’m sorry. Japanese people would say, “anyone can say ‘I’m sorry’. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is superficial. What you’re going to do about it and expressing empathy is more important “. Basically, we would never understand each other.

    Also the author describes Kyoko as “small” and “exotic”. What does that have anything to do with anything??? Maybe it’s a contrast to her other clients being fat and boring but it’s irrelevant.

    And Kokyo’s husband is “Charlie” who is supposedly also an Asian immigrant. But it seems like he speaks better English thank Kyoko. So is he Japanese? Did he grow up in Japan? If so how did he grow up to speak better English? This is an extremely important factor. Why did she leave it out. If they have different backgrounds or have an international marriage, it should play a big role in the relationship.
    Will a farmer’s daughter and a city boy get automatically along? Probably not.

    And we can’t forget that different Asians have different cultures. This may be shocking to white people or someone like this author but international marriages between a Japanese person and a person from another Asian country has a higher divorce rate than A marriage between a Japanese person and an American (about 30%).
    The divorce rate between a Japanese person and a Philipino is like over 90%!! (At least when I looked it up a couple of years ago)

    So if Charlie was from the Philippines their marriage had no chance of being successful in the first place.

    This book was recommended by my therapist who I met only once so far. I hope she doesn’t think my problems stem from me being a submissive exotic Asian.

    Helpful? 84 0
  2. Water Dog

    Amazingly Insightful & Helpful Book regarding Couples

    I have absolutely no connection with the author, only a desire to contribute to others. Curious as to who writes these reviews, I’m 56, male, my wife surprised me by divorcing me after a 20 year marriage, and have two children in college. I have two graduate degrees and read a far amount of self-help books.

    Sue Johnson’s book may truly be the best relationship book I’ve ever read, as it will forever change my understanding of relationships for the better.

    This book is interesting and clear, balancing anecdotes with straightforward descriptions of her conceptual observations. According to Johnson, she gained her novel and deep insights from watching, and watching and re-watching videos of couples struggling in therapy using the best previously known tools. She listened to couples describe their relationship using “life and death” language. The existing tools, such as analysis and insights regarding childhood relationships, how to be reasonable, mirroring listening skills, and negotiation training, didn’t seem to work.

    Building on others’ insights, Johnson came up with what she calls EFT: “Emotionally Focused Therapy.” The thesis is that all people, including successful intellectuals, seek at the core of their relationship emotional attachment and safety. There are key negative and positive emotional moments that define the relationship. Seems mundane, but yet as I read the book, I found myself getting so many gems and Ah-Ha’s that my copy is now underlined with post-its sticking out the side. I got tremendous insight, not only into my pain and struggles and my girlfriend’s, but tools on how to repair emotional injuries and connect better.

    The book is composed of seven conversations that are aimed at encouraging a special kind of emotional responsiveness described as the key to lasting love for couples. This emotional responsiveness has three main components with the acronym “ARE:”
    Accessibility (Can I reach you?);
    Responsiveness (Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally?); &
    Engagement (Do I know you will value me and stay close?)

    Johnson claims great success with therapy using the EFT model and I believe it. She describes three typical patterns that couples often get stuck in: (1) Find the Bad Guy; (2) The Protest Polka; and (3) Freeze and Flee. The first and third are pretty self-descriptive. Johnson describes The Protest Polka as the most widespread and ensnaring, involves one person reaching out, albeit in a negative way, the other person withdrawing and the pattern repeating. I immediately saw that I often play the role of the protester, trying to get a reassuring connection, followed by feeling worse when my partner withdraws.

    I’m now more than two-thirds through this book and am now finishing the chapter on the fifth conversation–Forgiving Injuries. Even if the remainder of this book is dribble, what I’ve read so far leaves me confident recommending it.

    On a side note, I’ve been trained in Marshall Rosenberg’s “Nonviolent Communications,” also known as NVC, or “Compassionate Communications.” Raised by two science oriented parents, I became a husband, father and attorney that was clueless regarding emotions. I believed that negative emotions were enemies and obstacles to higher living. When I stumbled across NVC around the age of 40, I suddenly learned, for the first time in my life, the very helpful role of negative emotions, and now consider them to be good friends, albeit still challenging. Negative emotions provide indicators of the needs that are wanting. NVC helped me tremendously and heartily recommend that as well.

    I have the 2008 version of “Hold Me Tight; Seven Conversations . . . ” by Sue Johnson

    Helpful? 50 0
  3. Wife seeking help

    Good start but may wish to finsh elsewhere

    I recommend this book for those who need a bit more perspective on why they get in such crazy fights, or who have a tendency to devalue their marriage: I am glad I read a fair amount and got my husband to read just as much but we did get bogged down after a while and did not finish it. We scored incredibly low on the ARE questionnaire (0 and 2) at first which was rather discouraging but we have improved since then: remember that a low score is not just a reflection on the recipient but on the overall quality of the relationship and the giver’s willingness to trust the recipient. (Another person may score you much higher.)

    After having this book for 9 months (and still needing help) I purchased a different one: Six Secrets of a Lasting Relationship by Mark Goulston: it finishes the job as far as I am concerned. Personally I liked the use of the acronym CREATE to organize the book:(Chemistry,Respect, Enjoyment, Acceptance, Trust and Empathy). It gets to the heart of what is most important quickly and can be read and used much more quickly than Hold Me Tight.

    In Six Secrets, each chapter covers its subject thoroughly with a variety of approaches to dealing with each problem and a good description of the most common array of difficulties. The organization allows you to skip to the areas of greatest concern as I did. Empathy is encouraged throughout but delved into more deeply near the end. If one’s spouse is resistant to marriage books then you can read it by yourself (like I did) and still find it quite helpful. It urges spouses who are getting disrespect (me) to stick up for themselves in a dignified manner while doing what it takes to foster their own self-respect, just what I needed: the examples help one to see how much this can improve the situation while giving perspective as to why we may be stuck. The chapter on empathy showed how to provide empathy when needed but also how to stick up for oneself. I had already taken some measures but this helped me finish the job: it works.

    The Six Secrets book not only helps one confront disrespect but also helps one to confront one’s own character defects which may be leading to disrespect. The book gives a good list of such defects: I could easily see how I had played a role in my disrespect and how my spouse played a role in my disrepect of him. Seeing these causes spelled out made it much easier for me to address them.

    I loved the following passage from Six Secrets of a Lasting Relationship on p286 to be used after a husband comes home in a foul mood from work and the wife uses empathy to help him get a grip: He should not be given a free pass no matter how compassionate your empathy makes you feel. After you’ve defused the situation and made him feel understood, look him in the eye and say, “You know, when bad things happen at work, I’d really appreciate it if you don’t take it out on me. I’m on your side.”

    My only complaint is that Six Secrets lets those who disrespect their spouses off the hook too easily, saying they should just leave if they can’t come up with such respect, when in some cases their values seem quite skewed. I think he could have questioned those values more, in such a case I would definitely recommend the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson because it lays out much more clearly what one stands to lose.

    Hold Me Tight might also help if there is some unresolved pain from the past but Six Secrets of a Lasting Relationship may get to the same place more quickly. I do think that both books could cover gender differences more thoroughly, especially the differences in style when it comes to apologies, but I had already had those differences covered by a counselor and was very ready for these books which place far less emphasis on gender differences, my husband and I both probably have high testosterone levels, so chemistry wasn’t a problem but fighting was. We are also reversed from the norm when it comes to focus vs. multitasking so the gender focused books did not have a great deal of appeal. I especially take issue with those which imply that women do not need respect as much as men.

    Six Secrets shows that eventually disrespect will rebound on a spouse so if men do need more respect they had better not be dishing out disrespect. It divides up the respect issue fairly well between the sexes with examples of disrespect in both sexes and it was easy to see myself in the disrespected person’s shoes regardless of gender. It could probably use a few more examples of women behaving badly in the trust department since that seems to be tilted against men but I’ll admit that I haven’t read the whole thing yet and in any case, it does cover the measures which may be needed to restore trust (while not guaranteeing its restoration).

    Helpful? 48 0
  4. jaylark

    Practical, useful and proven approach for couples

    Touching, helpful, heart-warming and practical, Dr. Johnson has at last put words to the latest research into happy marriages for the average person. Reading it is not intellectual: each time I pick up this book I feel like I could not only understand my spouse’s behavior in a deeper way, but also my own.

    I can’t recommend this book enough. I read the first few chapters, bought three more copies (one for my spouse), and gave the other two to friends who were in stressful moments with their own spouses. One couple now reads from the book to one another each night, and (like I did) recommended it to two other couples before they got through the first 3 chapters. The other couple bought a 2nd copy so that they could each have it available to them every day, and are now each avidly reading on their morning commutes.

    In short, readers seem to find Dr. Johnson’s book incredibly helpful, almost immediately. Dr. Johnson’s clear, from-the-heart style seems immediately comprehensible to anyone who has ever been in love, or wanted to be. And rest of the book was even better than the beginning.

    You know you’ve got a winner when you give a book to two friends, who each immediately give it to their two friends, and so on. Don’t suffer needlessly: give this one a try for under $20!

    Helpful? 37 0
  5. YesIHaveAnOpinion

    easy read, but the practice is not for amateurs...

    I think I was looking for something more clinical – a more technical text book. As it turns out, if you’ve got a real struggle, trying to facilitate these 7 conversations with out that neutral 3rd party is nearly impossible. For those of you who don’t know, this is the basis of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy in a nut shell. The book is an easy read with lots of clinical examples – people you can relate to. However, we don’t end up in relational troubles because we are GOOD at managing our selves. We get there because we are not. That’s where the counselor can help. They call us out on our bull, and correct assumptions.

    Helpful? 29 0
  6. Michelle M.

    Good information, but not enjoyable to read

    No one actually talks like the people in her scenarios- at least no one that I know. That being said, it has some really useful material in it if you really take it to heart and try to implement it. Unfortunately the book is 80% scenarios and becomes difficult to read especially towards the end and you’re reading about yet another couple arguing in the same manner as all the others.

    Helpful? 12 0
  7. Jacob

    The relationship book all men & women should read. You will learn something about yourself & your partner.

    This book will really help you understand yourself and the person you are trying to connect with. I read this book when me and my wife were having some very troubling times in our marriage. It helped me discover why I was doing and saying the things I was, and it also helped me understand what issues my wife was having. Now this didn’t really help her that much because she didn’t read the book, but just knowing the reason’s why was very helpful as it made me realize that I was not the sole reason for her issues. This book will also help you communicate better to other people as well as it’s main focus is not on what is being said but the emotion connected to what is being said. It is that emotion that you really need to focus on, so that way you can respond in a way that they feel connected to you. If you have ever had a conversation with your wife and she is explaining something to you and you are like yeah I get it. Then she responds no that’s not it maybe I am just explaining it wrong. Well she is explaining it wrong because she is not explaining her emotional attachments to the events that transpired. She is merely explaining the event. For us men to understand what most women want they have to explain the emotional attachment, that is the only way two people can connect properly. Most women don’t want us to solve the problem they just want us to recognize their emotional need and address that need. This book helps you pick on those ques and also teaches you how to express your’s.

    Helpful? 11 0
  8. Pseudopal

    the science/data is VERY good and there are some great examples of "types/styles" of ...

    It takes a bit to get used to the voice on this one. I don’t care for the voice acting at all. The “conversations” in this book are well meaning up play out unrealistically- as if relationships on the brink of divorce can be fixed in one conversation with a simple tweaking of listen and choice words.
    HOWEVER, the science/data is VERY good and there are some great examples of “types/styles” of couples and individuals to help you identify which you are and which your partner is for better understanding in listening and talking to one another.

    Helpful? 10 0
  9. inlori Customer

    Beautiful summary of the technique of love

    For the geeks, the Polyvagal theorem connects attachment theory to physiology so the ideas in this book rest on very solid scientific ground.For the rest of us, the book is affirmation of what all the great lovers teach about any relationship:1. Put Emotional Safety first for everyone2. Take responsibility for growing emotional safety3. Learn to repair violations of emotional safety”And the greatest is love” — St Paul

    Helpful? 9 0
  10. inlori Customer

    Excellent

    This book saved our marriage. I was in the process of looking for a new place to live. I was convinced our marriage was coming to an end. A friend suggested this book. I suggested to my husband we give it a try. What did we have to loose? The transformation is amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it was A LOT of work. It was brutal, we wanted to give up. But, we stuck with the book through to the end. We are now happy and secure in our love for each other and now we know we can get through anything together. Thank you Sue Johnson! You are a miracle worker.

    Helpful? 9 0
  11. Kimberly Blackham

    Marriage really can be a source of comfort and joy!

    As a couples therapist, many people ask me if I can recommend a marriage book for them. Without hesitation, the book I continually refer to is Dr. Sue Johnson’s Hold Me Tight. Dr. Johnson is an international leader in the field of marriage and family therapy. Over the last several decades, she has pioneered significant research into what creates secure loving connection in adult love relationships and understanding how it goes wrong.

    Hold Me Tight is different than other self help books in that it is not just “good advice” or a gimmicky approach to understanding men and women. Rather, it is a book designed to help you understand yourself and your partner on a much deeper level. Using vignettes from other real couples, she describes the negative patterns of interaction we all can get stuck in.

    Many couples return to me and say, “She wrote our biography,” or “I can’t believe how similar we were to that one couple. Their fight was almost word for word what ours looks like.” Hold Me Tight is not about fixing the content issues in your relationship. It is about much more than that. It doesn’t really matter what we are fighting about: finances, in-laws, parenting, etc. we do it the same way every time.

    Hold Me Tight helps you understand what that pattern looks like and why you do it. Because there really is a good reason why we do the things we do. Unfortunately, it usually isn’t really helpful in building connection. Once we understand why we blame, criticize, shut down, withdraw, or defend, we can then understand how to fix it and find the safety, connection, and joy that we long for in our relationships.

    Helpful? 7 0
  12. Plume

    A must read if you are married or thinking about it

    This is not a “Christian” marriage book, but no matter what your faith, unless you are not human, you need to read it if you care about your marriage.
    All churches that insist upon marriages lasting forever, or at least until you die, ought to put their money where their theology is and make couples read this book prior to walking down the aisle.
    No matter how much in love you may be at the onset, life happens. And it is in those events, when you need that caring, supportive, understanding and connected spouse, that marriages are made or fail.
    This book gives you the tools to make a great marriage. One that fulfills our expectations of romantic love, one that is built on love and emotion, rather than commitment and sacrifice.
    Marriage should not be horrible, tough-it-out prison that so many Christian counselors and authors insist it be for the sake of keeping the vow and creating an attractive facade. It should be the closest thing to heaven on earth, but it takes work, and lots of it. It requires each spouse have an open mind about emotional needs and how we achieve connection with each other. Without those connections, we are just co-habitating.
    Johnson’s observations are absolutely right on when I look at the failures in my own relationship. For example, “When marriages fail, it is not increasing conflict that is the cause. It is decreasing affection and emotional responsiveness … The demise of marriages begins with a growing absence of responsive intimate interactions. The conflict comes later.”
    And this astute observation about a couple she uses as an example: ” … or does he minimize his need for her and instead focus more on distracting tasks and toys?” Oh my, that hit me right between the eyes, for I had done that for years as the emotion slipped away.
    Forgot the seminars, DVDs and retreats. Both you and your spouse need to purchase a copy of this book, take the weekend off, settle into bed and read it, practice it. Then move to another great book, “Passionate Marriage,” once the emotional bonds are in place.

    Helpful? 7 0
  13. syeda abeer Naqvi

    best book I have ever read.

    The best book I have ever read in my 35 years. I wish I could have read this book sooner or when I started to be in relationships. This book breaks down the different levels and times of every connection. This also proves you some tools to work with as well. This is only looking to make your relationship stronger, not just with your partner but also with family relationships. Read this book with your partners to get the best and full results.

    Helpful? 6 0
  14. play more golf

    A more profound way to connect and improve the relationship with your partner.

    An excellent book that not only explains, but demonstrates how to identify and alter the destructive cycles so many relationships have. What seems obvious, so often isn’t and this book, based on years of investigation and heartful desire by the author and her colleagues to help people see those obvious destructive cycles (demon dialgoues as identified in the book) and ultimately succeed in their relationships.

    The book takes the reader through the various phases of the process in a very descriptive and identifable manner. The author uses numerous real case examples from her practice to illustrate the various topics and frequently has incorporated work sheets or lessons to be used by the reader to assess their own feelings, fears, desires with respect to their relationships.

    Ideally, the book would be read by both partners so that the lessons can be experienced together. Like the best resources in the relationship / self help genre, the most effective results can be gained when the reader(s) are open to exploring their own innermost feelings, fears and emotions and the causes of them – while willing and honestly sharing with one’s partner ideally.

    I wish I’d known of this book long ago, perhaps I could have avoided the current situation by better understanding why my wife responds / behaves the way she does and understanding the impact of my own response / behavior had on her. It takes two obviously to create and resolve issues and my sincere hope is that it isn’t too late to have a postive resolution of that situation, as I Love my wife but have not understood how to express it to her in a way she would feel connected.and secure in our relationship.

    Helpful? 6 0
  15. G.N.

    Good material, poor format.

    Sue Johson is fantastic, however I was dissapointed by this CD for two reasons, firstly I was unable to sync it to my MP3 player so I could listen on the go – I can only listen to it on my computer or risk scratching the original CD in my car CD player. Secondly the woman reading it has a terrible voice. Just like the Gottman’s CD (although that’s even cheesier!). If you can get over that though it’s full of good stuff.

    Helpful? 6 0
  16. Luppy Lander

    Emotional body armor

    I am a disabled vet with ptsd. For a longtime even after my retirement I have been wearing emotional body armor, disconnected inside. I started reading this for my marriage, and in the process it open a deluge of trapped emotions. I have never been so overwhelmed with raw emotions, and thier onset are so rapid my mind cannot adjust or prepare, it is sometimes overwhelming, that it strikes me with sorrow. I am trying to connect with her and God knows it will not be over night, but there is a connection and we are communicating on levels we had not for years.

    Helpful? 5 0
  17. B. Lagman

    Remarkable. Highly Recommend.

    What a great book. Not quite done yet, but I really feel this is ground-breaking territory for couples who can’t seem to find a way or have forgotten how to connect emotionally. Makes me wish I hadn’t given up on a past relationship as that feeling of dire hopelessness was probably not as bad as we both made it out to be simply because we didn’t understand what the other really was asking for. If you are in a relationship, be it a marriage or otherwise, and at your whit’s end, sick and tired of arguing and bickering and finding little hope for a reconnection and starting to look forward to the end, buy two copies. If both partners are willing and want nothing more than to recapture the feelings they once shared and find renewal, I would be willing bet the success rate is really high. Oh yeah and find a couples’ therapist who specializes in EFT. Emotional Focused Therapy.

    Helpful? 5 0
  18. Shannon Hunt

    Many good lessons to learn

    A.R.E. Is a groundbreaking method for anyone trying to learn how to communicate effectively with their partner. EFT is another tool to let the healing and understanding begin. I recommend this book. I found several methods beneficial for me. Thanks Dr Sue, for the escape ❤️

    Helpful? 4 0
  19. Joe Bonanno

    Real Clarity

    Much of what passes for wisdom in the world when it comes to the intersection of love, personality and happiness never made sense to me. This book makes the case for love in a way that jives with my experience. I found the clarity herein very inspiring.

    Helpful? 4 0
  20. inlori Customer

    Finally understood what I struggle over and suffer for in relationship

    Since I’m not one to argue or fight with my life partner, I suffer (instead) by not thinking critically enough to set boundaries (require some change on his part) and explain myself well. I eschew jargon especially in the area of psychology a soft science. While this might have some in terms of promoting one theoretical basis for relationship, it’s also true that this single book gave me the reason for my present and life-long relationship suffering that always comes about: I’m trying to get closer, not farther away from my partner! Now I “get it”! Changed the entire way I approach today’s relationship challenges, problems, and my serious to severe internal turmoil, and helped me begin to set boundaries (check out Dr. Lerner’s The Dance of Anger and Gemma Hartleys Fed Up, two books that go side by side), open up, and get some resolution despite the anxiety of not knowing how he will respond. Now I know it’s my attempt to not only just get him to ‘hear me’ but mainly to get him to draw closer to me in relationship and life partnership because I love him (and vice versa applies). Takes some therapy to get there and to learn how to communicate, but this basis of our dynamic dance solved most of the issues of this process for me. Highly recommended.

    Helpful? 4 0
  21. I.B.

    Good book if you're new to intimacy in marriage

    Good book if you’re new to intimacy in marriage. If you’ve read more than 1-2 books on marriage, this book may not have anything revolutionary for you in it.

    Helpful? 4 0
  22. Ms. Hancock

    👏👏

    Wonderfully written good for almost any age. I, personally, gained from this reading experience in more ways that one!
    Definitely recommend.

    Helpful? 3 0
  23. Sarah E Murray

    fundamental tools for loving and living

    Ever wonder why your closest relationships – whether with siblings, parents, lovers, friends or colleagues – blow up at times and seem unbearable? This book holds the keys. As human beings, we often forget we are animals first – physical beings, mammals, built to be social, connected through touch, voice and shared experiences. But we are, and how we relate to ourselves and others is fundamentally shaped by our early experiences of attachment to our parental figures. This book is a wise and practical guide to building loving relationships that work, based on 25 years of experience as a therapist helping couples move from conflict to reconnection and deep bonds of love.Read it, apply it, live it!

    Helpful? 3 0
  24. Suzanne B.

    NARRATION IS AUTOMATED!

    HORRIBLE NARRATION! Make sure you listen to the audio sample before getting that version. I didn’t, and regret it. I am sure the content will be worth the read, but I purchased the audio version and it’s like listening to SIRI – I believe the voice is automated. Hoping to get refund on the audio version I purchased and will buy the actual book. UGH!

    Helpful? 3 0
  25. Karl S.

    Teaches you how to read between the lines of: the 'argument of the moment' and get at the real issues in your relationship.

    This one could save your relationship w your spouse/fiancee/bf/gf/mistress/cabana boy… but seriously the book talks about the fundamental things we are looking for in our relationships (safety and support mostly) and how to identify when the subject of a specific argument might not be the actual problem. This book can help when we get stuck in repeating patterns of emotions or behaviors and the associated arguments and fights over those issues w our significant others. It focuses on getting at the root causes of these recurring behaviors/incidents/feelings instead of trying to deal with the he said she said back and forth you would expect at the average marriage counselor’s office. No focus on conflict resolution which makes some sense because my relationship is not a hostage situation… I know how to solve my problems, I just might not be identifying the right problems to solve though and that’s where this book can and has helped me and my fiancee.

    Helpful? 3 0
  26. bookreviewer

    Great approach

    A great approach to relationships that includes nurturing without shaming it as being childish or parental-ising. At times I did end up thinking to myself that what was being explained was very obvious to me already but I guess for some people, and the author, it really is something they have needed to learn. That’s why the four stars. If you have some level of emotional intelligence it not going to blow your mind, regardless, I think it still offers a framework to bolster what some of us intuitively know.

    Helpful? 2 0
  27. Greg Hamlin

    The Paradigm Shift That Can Transform Your Relationship

    Well-written, packed with relatable examples and stories, and research based. It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m a couples therapist and psychologist. This is my primary go-to book to recommend to couples.

    Helpful? 2 0
  28. Ben

    A reference manual to revisit

    The author transmits a lot of priceless wisdom succinctly and clearly. Positive relationships are not just about negotiations as some psychologists wrongly believe they are about emotional bonds of attachment. Attachment theory is presented as a skill that each of us can master to improve our relationships and widen our hearts.

    Helpful? 2 0
  29. Jen44

    Worth the time and money

    This book helped me personally sort out many of the feelings that I have been struggling to identify in my relationship. I understand where my strong emotions are coming from and have learned thet they are normal . I think this book can really help couples who are committed to improving their relationship make real progress.

    I did not give it five stats because I can’t get my boyfriend to committ to listening to it because he says its too long and after listening to the first DVD, he says it is too repetitive when making points. I agree it that it is very thorough but I am the type of person who likes details. If you aren’t, however, you may find yourself frustrated to move on to the next point in the first chapter or two but if you hang in there, it is worth it.

    Helpful? 2 0
  30. C. Corcoran

    The one go to book for couples in trouble

    As an EFCT couples therapist this is the one go to for all couples I work with. I usually recommend the book the very first time I talk with the couple by phone. By the time they see me in my office we are on our way to better understanding their negative cycles and how they lose each other. What I find is one partner, the more logical and possibly skeptical one, tends to feel comfortable with all the extensive research that supports Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and are left with the sense that this is definitely not junk science. The other partner, who may not be so technical, reads section two and sees the couple’s patterns right there on the page, helping them normalize their situation. “Whew!! We aren’t the only ones with these problems and I can see our cycles!!” Something I have heard again and again as couples read ‘Hold Me Tight’.

    Because it is so helpful and informative, the couples I see devour the book and usually keep it on their shelves as a resource or ‘bible’ for concerns moving forward and even after the therapy is finished. Whether working to deepen your relationship in couples therapy or needing a boost to help keep your relationship on track, you cannot go wrong with this book and the pearls of wisdom found on the pages.

    Helpful? 2 0
  31. Degalisto

    different perspective

    I love this book…I have read tons of books on relationships…searching for anything to improve mine…Most books seem to be gathered in say the right field and along comes this book and you are in the left field..an entirely different perspective.In fact it does function more in the right brain area of relationships…it isn’t the best written book but the ideas in this book are well worth the purchase. Or look up Emotionally Focused Therapy on google…that will give you the gist of where Sue is coming from…In the book there are lots of examples of how couples disagree and argue to give you something to relate too and see how to put the principles into action.I think the info is invaluable…my husband even thinks so too…and he is an old-fashioned macho ranch guy! LOL I gave it 4 stars cuz it could have been more succinct.

    Helpful? 2 0
  32. Azia Tisdale

    Great concepts

    I read this book as someone studying to become a marriage and family therapist, although it was meant for couples. I can see this book being useful for couples!

    Helpful? 0 0
  33. Carlye

    The best!

    The best read for anyone and everyone! Set aside time to really be able to thoroughly absorb the information provided in this book.

    Helpful? 0 0
  34. Brahna M Pastorini

    Great insight!

    I couldn’t put this book down. Read it in 3 days and it helped my relationship immediately. Gives you great insight to communicating from a healthier perspective

    Helpful? 0 0
  35. Sarah paris

    great read for all

    This was such a good read, I have learned so much ! Great for any relationship, even great for healing !

    Helpful? 0 0
  36. inlori Customer

    Good book for couples to read

    This book has tremendously helped me with my relationship with my wife.

    Helpful? 0 0
  37. Ladeitz

    Very insightful information

    My Girlfriend and I read this book together, it allowed us to mature and develop in our relationship in so many ways. It is an eye opening books, with practice questions, that allow for conversation starters to open up a productive dialogue about what each other needs are, and it assists with each other’s perceptions of the relationship.

    Helpful? 0 0
  38. shandra_e

    Love this book for couple communication

    This was recommended by a marriage counselor and is a great book. Wonderful to start thinking about how often conversations become reactions and how to realize a better way to communicate and protect your loved ones. Really can apply to any family member or close friend.

    Helpful? 0 0
  39. Leigh Servigon

    Must read for all couples

    Wonderful resource for couples… and parents of teens. Emotionally Focused Therapy, Attachment Theory. How to identify and change the destructive patterns of engagement that keep us emotionally disconnected. Loooove. Buying extras to gift to clients in my private practice.

    Helpful? 0 0
  40. Allison Groff

    attachment theory in adult romance

    This book posits and incorporates research about how adult attachment in intimate relationships is crucial to success of the relationship. Secure attachment is the goal and it can only be accessed if partners can create a dialogue that reveals their vulnerabilities and those vulnerabilities are viewed empathically (and not defensively) by the partner. With the right relationship, this can be so helpful. However, I believe the book is overly simplistic in describing how couples with deep seated problems get to the point of having these conversations. This is a great approach for a healthy relationship where the partners do have baggage or have had challenging pasts.

    Helpful? 0 0
  41. Paul Racines

    Getting ideas

    This book was recommended to help with communication. It’s worth a read to get ideas on how to better yourself and your relationships.

    Helpful? 0 0
  42. Olivia B

    Cannot recommend this book enough

    I’ve only made it through part 1 and already feel transformed. I purchased this after a break up where I felt completely secure in the relationship. Through reading this book I realized he was not, nor was I. This makes attachment theory and EFT feel attainable at the civilian level. The conversations discussed have helped me evaluate myself, not only my romantic relationships.

    Helpful? 0 0
  43. inlori Customer

    Know yourself better!!

    I have lots of books on love, marriage, relationships, trauma, shame, forgiveness. You name it. This is by far the best I have read! Gave me a lot of understanding in why I react and feel the way I do. My husband has not read the book. But we have been able to really draw closer and more trusting with each other and providing a safe place for each other just by me recognizing our Demon Dance, and drawing us in a different direction. I am also able to recognize that his comments were not necessarily meant the way I was taking them and when asking clarifying questions he is putting his guard down and we are moving toward each other. I recommended this book to everyone. Married or not. It helps you to understand and know yourself better.

    Helpful? 0 0
  44. Ben Rutter and family

    life-changing the first day in our 21-year marriage!

    I never write reviews but this book has improved my marriage so much in the first day that I can’t put it down! We’ve been married for 21 years with five children of which my wife homeschools and we own our own business. With this much stress in our life We didn’t realize how very bad our relationship had gotten until now! More importantly we are learning what is happening, how it is happening and how to change it for life! Thank you so much for your wonderful insight in this most crucial part of everyone’s life!

    Helpful? 0 0
  45. Mark Loaiza

    Chuck book.

    Chicken book.

    Helpful? 0 0
  46. sill345

    Not for me

    Read the first section and stopped. Simply not the book for me at this time. Therefore cannot give a fair rating.

    Helpful? 0 0
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