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Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  1,737 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Heralded by the New York Times and Time magazine as the couple therapy with the highest rate of success, Emotionally Focused Therapy works because it views the love relationship as an attachment bond. This idea, once controversial, is now supported by science, and has become widely popular among therapists around the world. In HOLD ME TIGHT, Dr. Sue Johnson presents Emotio ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2008)
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Matt Evans
Dr. Johnson's book easily wins the "World's Worst Title Ever" award. "Hold Me Tight" qua self-help book title evokes, in this reader, all the wrong associations. Much as does the scent of patchouli oil and as does the sound of gauzy-eyed adults whispering for their inner child to come on out for a good old back rub, "Hold Me Tight" evokes (again, for this reader) scary New Agey associations. For example, "Hold Me Tight" made me recall against my will that Kenny Loggins dumped his first wife in o ...more
The application of attachment theory to adult romantic relationships is genius. According to Johnson, the need for attachment underlies the conflict involved in the pursue-withdraw dance that couples often get locked into, a dance she aptly metaphorizes as the Polka. Her work provides tools for couples who want to stop dancing the Polka and start doing a Tango, her language for a relationship that allows for deep connection.
Londonmabel Mabel
Hands down the best relationship book I have ever read. A paradigm changer--it felt intuitively right from the first chapter, yet I also see the world in a different way. It took the core values I held about life, and showed me how to really live them better. Of course, starting with the relationships closest to me.

There are no complicated rules here, what you need to do doesn't feel like an overwhelming amount of work, and what Johnson says makes so much sense it's not hard to remember. By chap
This was much better than the kitschy title led me to believe. The premise is that a love relationship is an "attachment-based" relationship and has all the same hallmarks as that of a parent/child attachment relationship, with additional complexities. In the end, you need the security of knowing that no matter what happens, you can rely on your spouse for comfort and support. Most relationship issues arise because of miscommunications regarding how the need for that comfort is shown and respond ...more
Olivia Kienzel
amazingly barfy language used to convey truly fascinating and revelatory concepts regarding interpersonal relationships and the dynamics you find within them. i was able to get past the awful self-help style and diction and get to the heart of what she's saying--basically applying bowles' attachment theory to adult partnerships, and putting forth the idea that it is not only normal to need other people (esp your partner), but it is actually healthy. the book actually helped me understand every r ...more
Terri R
This is the best book on relationships that I have ever read. The writer is clear and non-judgmental and stays away from too much psychological analyses and language. Hold Me Tight is designed to help partners gain insight about themselves and one another and to enhance their communication, whether or not it is broken. The writing style creates topics that are easily discussed between partners and the book is filled with exercises that allow one to practice better communication and understanding ...more
Jennifer Chin
wish I had read this book years ago... everyone should read it to learn how to be more compassionate to the people who care about you.
Janet Ferguson
Best book about human relationships EVER. In a relationship? Read it. Not in a relationship? Read it. It's written for everyone. And you don't need to be a psychology student to "get it." Dr. Sue Johnson will go down in history alongside Freud and Jung as a pioneer. Her approach, Emotionally Focused Therapy, has been proven to help 86 percent of couples become happier in their relationships. This is compared to most other forms of couple therapy that achieve a 35 percent success rate. Endorsed b ...more
Austin S.
Mar 19, 2009 Austin S. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in an intimate relationship
This has replaced all the other books on relationships as the number one must-read book. It delves below the more superficial layers of content and process addressed by other authors (e.g., Gottman, Hendricks, Hendrix) and finally gets to the heart of the matter: attachment, safety, and emotional presence/engagement
This book was an interesting counterpoint to How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It: Finding Love Beyond Words, which I read immediately before it. Both books seem to agree on the basic principle that both men and women want to feel connection, and the pain of lacking that is the heart of the problems in a relationship. However, this book offers the opposite solution: talking your way through it. It basically offers a model of seven conversations that can heal and transform your r ...more
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love is primarily focused on helping couples who are going through a rough patch, but it is so much more. Not only can it help a relationship between two people (be it a spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend or other love relationship) but it can help a person individually when they're associating with people on a deep relational level.

Sue Johnson has cred in that she actually practiced what she is preaching in this book. Granted, it's from the other s
Austen to Zafón
Why: Because a friend of mine said about it: This book is FABULOUS! The premise is that we are so emotionally caught up in the minutia of our romantic relationships because of our associations and links to our past relationships with our parents. We long for that same closeness, the opportunity to be who we are completely, permission to be needy and longing for affection from our spouse (as we had from our parents). Once we understand this and can allow for it (and can show/speak to our spouse w ...more
Aug 22, 2013 Tamra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone in a committed relationship
Recommended to Tamra by: Kim Blackham
Great book. It puts love in a whole new light, but that newness is somehow familiar and common sense as well.

I loved it. My husband and I have a great marriage, so we don't need much "advice." Plus, we've been married long enough now that when we hear advice we think either, "Duh," or, "Whatever." This book was less about advice giving and more about explaining why we do the things we do so we can figure out a better way. Rob and I instinctively found that better way, for the most part, so it w
Kim Winters
Finished re-reading this book in preparation for my EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) Externship in April (which is the first step toward EFT certification)! : ) Since reading the book the first time and applying the theory in real life, I am more convinced than ever that Sue Johnson is onto something when it comes to developing intimacy that lasts. If you are in need of couples therapy, this book will be a good supplement to your visit with an EFT Certified therapist. The theory is not Christia ...more
Presents an attachment-based view of adult romantic love and relationships, based on the author's own Emotionally Focused Therapy... a lot of great info on working with emotions in your relationship, and not getting caught up in the same patterns up conflict that plague pretty much all of us. However, I think that the attempt at putting the highly interactive and experiential (not to mention effective!) therapy into book form was not a complete success, if it is even possible. Read the book, see ...more
Denise Young
I have always read books on how to improve my marriage and relationships but I really liked this one as it really helps you examine your bad habits that could be causing problems.
I do think it is easiest to do this kind of work on your relationship when there is not big obstacles. I felt it was easy to bring things up with my husband and follow the book.
I do know a couple that was having big issues and went to a counsellor using these principles and they managed to turn things around so I do b
What an amazing book on emotional connection. I grew up in a home were there was a lot of gospel principles but very little emotional connection. I was always the naughty daughter who refused to clean her room. This book has a wealth of information on establishing healthy relationships. It focuses on the marriage relationship but I find 6 of the seven conversations with all my relationships only the intimacy conversation is with your spouse only. I can see my daughter do the protest polka and kn ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Wow, I want to give this book out now as wedding gifts! I had to read it for my internship, and loved just about every minute of it. Now that I have seen the principles from this book used in couples counseling, used them myself, and helped clients to use them, I love it even more! An easy-to-read book that will greatly enhance the relationship of anyone who reads it and truly does the activities and follows the principles.
It was hard to get through, some chapters I skimmed through them. I can see how it could help some couples who are in serious trouble but I'm not sure just reading this book could help them. I think the details and suggestions she offers here would best be served in a counselor's office where the counselor could be a mediator and guide the couple through the rough spots.
This is such a great book for almost any relationship. It gave me a whole new perspective about being emotionally available and compassionate with those I love and care about. A must read for anyone who has been or is in a relationship regardless of how healthy the relationship is. Great book!
Sue Johnson explains why attachment and past experiences shape who we are with our romantic partners today. She helps individuals understand themselves and their partners in a new way and offers enlightening conversations to have with one another that will help strengthen intimate bonds. I would highly recommend this book to all couples who are dedicated to understanding their partner more and improving all relationships in their life. I read it out loud with my partner and it took us a long tim ...more
This brief but perceptive book gave me new insights into my own history and personality and helped me understand the dynamics of our marriage more cllearly.
Jay Cosnett
Hands down the best book about love and relationships I've ever read. Finally, scientific research proves what many of us have always believed: that it is not necessarily codependent to need the love, attention and support of your partner. Humans are wired to depend on each other by millions of years of evolution. Johnson's extremely well-studied approach doesn't grudgingly acknowledge this as some kind of weakness that we need to overcome in order to be emotionally health. Instead, she places r ...more
Jan 04, 2009 Lisa is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Great book for couples. Explains how attachment challenges from childhood may affect your marriage conversations/struggles today.
Christie Manes
Lot of good stuff in this book. It's a great primer on EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) and attachment theory. I sometimes got frustrated with Johnson's overly poetical waxing on the "true nature of love." I think this is probably a better read for counselors/clinicians than for clients, mostly due to the long-winded writing style, but also because some of the interventions would be difficult to pull off without an objective third party. Having said that, there were plenty of tools and ideas in ...more
This book focused on the technique of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, which helps develop more secure relationships. In this book, we focus on seven types of conversations that define moments in which you can create bonds instead of pulling away. There were many examples from couples of arguments and strides that had lasted for years, leading up to possible divorce. This book showed how to break some very common patterns that these couples had and help build a secure attachment, something th ...more
This is an excellent book for people who are committed and willing to work together to repair a relationship and/or to build a much stronger relationship. This means more than just saying you are willing. It means stepping up to the plate, listening, self-reflecting, admitting fault, expressing need and more.

This is not a good book for those in an abusive relationship or those who are lazy.

The strongest point of this book is the instruction (imparted as 7 "conversations") on learning to recogniz
Christine Baese
If you are open to learning how to better communicate with your partner, this is a good book. It's not preachy and doesn't give 'the' answer, but it thoroughly details steps that we may understand with heads, but have a hard time handling when our emotions get the best of us. It focuses on our bad communication habits and cycles, how to recognize and get out of them, how to better apologize and ask for what we need. Without being pithy or judging, the book focuses on how we communicate, not what ...more
Jamie Roach
Granted I have not read that many books on marriage, however this has been my favorite and most helpful. The author takes us below the surface to the root of what it means to be human; our relationships. To live is to be connected to others. Most arguments and fights take place because either or both involved are feeling insecure, fearful and isolated, no matter what the topic of disagreement is. The solution is found in forming and nurturing bonds of love, connection, intimacy, trust. This book ...more
Deborah Day
I have read more marital books than I can count and this was refreshingly different. The author identifies important aspects of relationships that often are not addressed in other marital books. She addresses the deep wound that is being hurt and how to identify it and heal it in your relationships. It is a book that requires some thought and commitment to the process. Attachment needs are normal and she attempts to help couples unravel what is getting in the way of them having healthy attachmen ...more
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  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
  • How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving
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  • A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development
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Dr. Sue Johnson is a world-renowned expert in the field of couples therapy. She is a clinical psychologist,researcher, professor, best-selling author. Topics Dr. Johnson addresses include: attachment and bonding, the science of love, interventions to repair relationships, and forgiveness. Dr. Johnson is the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a highly effective, research-backed ...more
More about Sue Johnson...
Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy: Creating Connection GrandLoving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren 	 The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy: Creating Connection Dolls' House Wedding Book, The

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“In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us.” 4 likes
“When love doesn’t work, we hurt. Indeed, “hurt feelings” is a precisely accurate phrase, according to psychologist Naomi Eisenberger of the University of California. Her brain imaging studies show that rejection and exclusion trigger the same circuits in the same part of the brain, the anterior cingulate, as physical pain.” 3 likes
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