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Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  13,289 ratings  ·  746 reviews
Heralded by the New York Times and Time as the couples 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 Emotionally Foc
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Little, Brown Spark
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Vanessa Hi, I know I'm a bit late here but just wanted to say that yes, I do think it's good if you're single and exploring your attachment issues. Now I unde…moreHi, I know I'm a bit late here but just wanted to say that yes, I do think it's good if you're single and exploring your attachment issues. Now I understand why I react and behave the way I (and others) do -- wish I had known this in previous relationships. It really gets to the root of things. Hope this helps.(less)

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 ·  13,289 ratings  ·  746 reviews

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Matt Evans
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am going to start this review with two contradictory statements: this is an amazing book for laypeople and therapists alike, a total revolution in how we look at romantic partnerships, and very engaging and readable. And I did not finish it.

When I added this book to my "to read" shelf, it was primarily with the hope of being able to help counseling clients to understand their romantic attachments, but when I finally picked it up to read, it was in the hopes of improving my own rocky relations
Olivia Kienzel
Sep 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
London Mabel
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Janet Ferguson
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
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.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Because I'm dead inside. ...more
Sep 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: life
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
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
My husband and I have a tradition in which we buy a book on relationships/marriage, read it together, and discuss the concepts. We don't necessarily agree with the approach in the book, but it's a good way to re-assess how things are going, and perhaps we'll gain something useful from the book.

This book was mainly a great eye-opener in how poorly some people apparently communicate, and that it can lead to really insidious relationship issues. We already prefer to sit down and talk when we feel
Jasmine St. John
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If I had to summarize the lessons I’ve learned from all these couples, they would look like this:
• Our need for others to come close when we call — to offer us safe haven — is absolute.
• Emotional starvation is a reality. Feeling emotionally deserted, rejected, or abandoned sparks physical and
emotional pain and panic.
• There are very few ways to cope with our pain when our primary needs for connection are not met.
• Emotional balance, calm, and vibrant joy are the rewards of love. Sentimental inf
Renée Roehl
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I read many books to see if they could be beneficial to my clients. I'm a big believer in attachment theory and Johnson's Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy incorporates this theory of thought within, so I thought this book might be good for the lay person looking for couples relationship help.

Too bad it's yet another book that should have been an article. Another way the publishing industry forces authors to write an extra 250 pages of word glut to get their ideas out there.

This book could be
Morgan Blackledge
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love EFT. But Johnson's over use of alliteration (e.g. Daemon Dialog, Solis Sex, Sealed Off Sex, Synchronized Sex and much more) nearly killed me! Im no literary critic. But geez! Enough already! I know it sounds like a petty gripe, or trivial thing to focus on given the uplifting nature of the subject matter, and perhaps it is. But like I said, this book is loaded with corn dork phrases and it really disrupted my engagement with this book.

There is literally 0% chance I would ever use that typ
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Austin S.
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Terri R
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Salman Israr
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Extremely fascinating. Helpful. Enlightening. While this book is aimed at couples (not just heterosexual couples but any), this would be deeply helpful in deepening emotional connection in any close relationships, especially friendships (except for 1 or 2 conversations maybe). Wonderful.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a few relationship books over the years and this is the first one I would recommend for all couples. Those just starting their relationship. Those who just got married. Those who are doing well. Those who are not doing well. And even those who are single. It has such a unique approach that really resounded with me and I think everyone can appreciate.

Most of therapy today is focused on the learnings of Jung/Freund and trying to understand you, the individual. But in couples therapy,
Jeff Diamond
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it's not the most well-written book in the world, the message is invaluable. And universal. No matter how unique, bizarre, or exceptional you (or your relationship) may be, I guarantee there's something in this book that applies to you and is important for you to be aware of. The person who recommended this book to me (who also happens to be a psychologist) suggested this should be required reading in high schools. I'd go a step further and say copies should be left on everyone's doorstep ...more
Jared Bird
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended by my wife's uncle, a teacher/couples therapist, who recommended it as one of the best books written about relationships. Having read through the whole thing, I can agree, in my limited experience. I found many intriguing insights in the book that offer good looks into my own psyche and my wife's. I enjoyed reading through the scenarios who were in situations that I find myself in in my own relationship, and the lessons learned were deep and moving. At the same time, Th ...more
Austen to Zafón
Jan 19, 2010 marked it as to-read
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
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2009 rated it liked it
The main insight I took from this book is that adults, just like children need love and caring. Many think that it is dysfunctional to need others, that adults should be able to stand on their own two feet. But we don't just have brains, we have hearts and close relationships bring us peace and happiness. I think the author's seven conversations are too complicated to be practical but it was helpful to be shown how easy it is and the many ways we can misunderstand and be misunderstood by those w ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An eye-opening account of the science of relationships and attachment. This book explains the fundamentals of relationships -- why we need them, how they function, develop, and how we can shape them -- and illustrates these concepts through vidid and relatable examples from the author's rich experience as a therapist. Hold Me Tight is said to be the best book on relationships there is, and despite not having read any others I can see why one would claim that. ...more
Jenny Le
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
5 stars for the content - very important and useful for all couples, family relationships, and counselors.

Minus stars for repetitive and simplistic examples - I had to force myself through the second half of the book.
May 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
Cheesy title, but good insights into how an awareness of attachment theory can improve romantic relationships.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an interesting and pretty accessible book for people looking for marriage guidance or couples therapy. It's something you can read with your partner. Or you can just read it for yourself pre any marriage or committed relationship. It takes Bowlby's attachment theory and expands on it for adults and their relationships. There is approximately twenty years of extensive research into EFT at hand here. I happen to think EFT is a great couples therapy, but I still like to use behavioural meth ...more
Christina Despain
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s for anyone who’s ever loved or been loved by anyone, and wanting to get better at building loving relationships. It is dense and can’t be read quickly. I had to think about and sit on, over time, these ideas and concepts. I needed to journal and grow with it a bit and that took months. Reading this book has been a spiritual activity for me and a journey inward. I gained a lot of insight about how I love, how I need to love better, what healthy love really ...more
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought that this book would be more about attachment theory and how the attachments of our childhoods affect our adult relationships. Attachment theory was mentioned only briefly as a jumping off place for moving forward with some pretty basic relationship material. I was going to try and skim it fairly quickly, but ended up spending a little time with it, especially the first section.

This book reminded me quite a bit of "Crucial Conversations" and had some really good practice scripts to hel
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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

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Believe it or not, we're halfway through 2021! As is our tradition, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial team burrows into our data to...
41 likes · 19 comments
“In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us.” 28 likes
“If I appeal to you for emotional connection and you respond intellectually to a problem, rather than directly to me, on an attachment level I will experience that as “no response.” This is one of the reasons that the research on social support uniformly states that people want “indirect” support, that is, emotional confirmation and caring from their partners, rather than advice.” 21 likes
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