Book ReviewMarch Book Review: Hold Me Tight: The Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

Craig Toonder, MFT. Oakland Couples Counseling

March Book Review: Hold Me Tight: The Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

Hold Me Tight: The Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

By Dr. Sue Johnson

Sue Johnson is the founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Her studies on healthy adult attachment have created a new model of love and a powerful way to help couples overcome conflict. Her work enables couples to create a deeper sense of intimacy, more accessibility, and stronger trust with each other.

Part One of Hold Me Tight explores Sue’s model of love, and the science backing it up. It explains how humans are neurologically wired for connection and how healthy dependence on others is not only biologically advantageous, but affects health and healing, stress management, pain tolerance, and longevity, as well. The first chapter’s explanation of love alone is enough to give couples a whole new perspective on why they fight.

Part Two of Hold Me Tight walks couples through Sue Johnson’s model for change. The first chapter explains how arguments between couples have a circular nature, in which each person’s attempt to solve the problem ends up triggering their partner, making the situation worse. The second chapter helps couples refine their understanding of each other by exploring more specifically what each person’s trigger actually are. (This knowledge is essential if you plan on spending your life with someone.) The next three chapters guide couples through re-visiting rocky moments in their relationship and having a new dialogue that enables the couple to deepen their understanding of  one another, heal wounds from the past, and strengthen their connection with each other.  The final two chapters help couples talk about how to strengthen their sexual connection and create a shared dream of the future together.

I think Sue’s work is extremely important helping couples understand each other and assisting them in developing healthy relationships. I recommend this book almost all of the couples I work with.

I find SUe’s work so beneficial to helping couples strengthen and heal their relationship, that I  teach an eight-week class that guides couples through the book. The class consists of lecture / group discussion about one chapters per week, watching videos of couples demonstrating the skills described in each chapter, in-class exercises allowing couples to practice the skills with each other, and in-between class homework exercises to reinforce the relationship skills. For more information, please visit my workshop page, or feel free to contact me directly by phone at 510 499-7137 or e-mail me at ctoondermft [at]