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Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hardcover – April 8, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 524 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A much needed message to all couples and therapists and I recommend it to all."―Harville Hendrix, Ph.D., author of Getting the Love You Want and Receiving Love

"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, Ph.D., bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and coauthor of And Baby Makes Three

"There's something appealing about this book's honest, no-holds-barred approach. By creating complete emotional safety and by willing to be fearless about it, it seems to me, not only can real love be kept alive, it can flourish"―Boston Globe

Sue Johnson [is] the most original contributor to couples therapy to come along in the last 30 years. This book will touch your heart, stimulate your mind, and give you practical strategies for improving your marriage. It will be an instant classic.―William J. Doherty, Ph.D., 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. This fabulous book 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, M.D., author of Parenting from the Inside Out

A truly revolutionary, breakthrough book... the most important, valuable book for couples published in the 21st century.―Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., author of Getting It Right the First Time

About the Author

Dr. Sue Johnson is a clinical psychologist and Distinguished Research Professor at Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. The developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, she is a recognized leader in the new science of relationships. Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous books and articles, and she has trained thousands of therapists in North America and around the world. She lives in Ottawa, Canada. For more information on Dr. Sue Johnson and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, visit www.eft.ca and www.holdmetight.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031611300X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316113007
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (524 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Shari Levine on May 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Hold Me Tight teaches couples how to hear their partner's deepest concerns, "are you there for me", "am I really important to you", "is our relationship secure and solid" when those concerns are expressed through criticism or content. It reminds partner's that all communications are attempts to connect, no matter how badly delivered. In this way, Susan Johnson teaches couples to read below the surface of a complaint down to the attachment need being expressed underneath. When attachment needs can be faced and processed directly, couples feel closer. Johnson offers couples in couples counseling an adjunctive support system in addition to the therapy hour. Hold Me Tight is also an excellent resource for couples working things out on their own. It provides a clear and solid guideline for repairing hurt and restoring connection. I am recommending it to the couples in my practice, and the reports coming back about how helpful and transformative Johnson's approach is have been glowing!
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Format: Hardcover
The problem with therapy and relationship books is that they are all the equivalent of medieval "medicine." There is no science, no data-driven outcomes, no predictive hypothesis testing and hence no real progress. Every practitioner has their own set of nostrums, some helpful and some absurd, just like every witch-doctor has his own set of feathers and fetish items. Step forward Sue Johnson. Although she has taken only baby-steps towards a true scientific model of attachment relationships, it's welcome progress indeed. Unlike the vast majority of her peers, she grasps that our behaviors have been fashioned by selection pressure over the millennia. She looks for why such behaviors should have adaptive value, and this enables her to side-step the mumbo-jumbo of co-dependence, inappropriate behavior, etc. and get right to the heart of what seems to be going on between couples when their relationship is in trouble.

For people who want confirmation that their partner is "too clingy" or "too cold" or whatever, this is not the book for you. Nor is it a "why you should be strong and suck it up" book. It is about our basic needs, our need for at least one other adult human being to be there for us when we need it. It is about why we're wired up to be that way, what kinds of behaviors result from this hard-wiring, how things can go wrong, and how things can be fixed. At the heart of the book is Johnson's vision of us as all needing at least one refuge, one place of safety and support in an otherwise indifferent and cold universe. Unfortunately, for most people, marriage or an equivalent domestic relationship fails to provide this refuge because we keep misunderstanding our partner's needs and impulses - and very often we misunderstand our own too.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife and I used to fight like cats and dogs (and she is born in the Year of the Dog). At one long drawn out stage, it seemed an unspoken understanding between us that this was the nature of our relationship and we were resigned to it - some highs and many unsettling lows. Then I read 'Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves' by Terry Warner. That's one brilliant book - it changed a lot for me, not only how I perceived my relationship with her, but also with my kids.

Hold Me Tight illuminates for me more clearly how changing myself in relation to her dramatically changed our relationship. I needed to be more Accessible, Responsive and better Engage (I'm not going to spoil it for you or the author - you do need to read the book to get a good feel of what she means by each). Reading this book on it's own is plenty good, though I strongly recommend you read Bonds That Make Us Free as well.

My wife doesn't do personal growth books (or non-fiction in general) and didn't read either. The most interesting part is how her responses towards me changed, without any direction on my part i.e. I didn't tell or explain any of the theory or mechanics to her. She was simply reacting to my new ways of interacting with her, as if we'd started dancing to a much better, in-synched set of steps. Now it seems like we're doing almost all ups or plateaus, hardly any down time. Very nice.

Cas, author of Cassius Cheong's Positively Quit Manual
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Format: Kindle Edition
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is currently in fashion among couples therapists, and Sue Johnson is one of its chief architects. In Hold Me Tight, which is offered as a guide (including exercises at the end of each chapter) for couples to work through EFT on their own, Dr Johnson presents "seven conversations for a lifetime of love."

When all of the clever labels designed to help promote the brand are stripped away--"the demon dialogs," "freeze and flee," "hold me tight"--the advice comes down to this: communication with your partner in which you can be vulnerable, risk showing your frailties, and make yourself emotionally available should open the door to reciprocity by your partner and communication of deep emotional intensity, an opportunity for sharing, bonding, and building trust.

Communication in which partners are closed and defensive, on the other hand, closes the possibility for genuine emotional connection and can set off destructive spirals of recrimination and defensiveness, leading in turn to feelings of alienation and separation and, in the most severe case, dissolution of the relationship.

Any of us who has ever done "work" on ourselves or on our relationships has heard this before, and we understand the fundamental wisdom of trying to get in touch with ourselves, with our feelings, and of having the courage to give our partner access to those inner-most, most intimate places, to be willing to stand before our partner emotionally naked, trusting that they will not take advantage of our vulnerability, that they will not reject us, that they will, in a healthy relationship, embrace us.
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