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Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  4,998 Ratings  ·  374 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 (first published January 1st 2008)
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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…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)

Community 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
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
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.
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
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
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
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Because I'm dead inside.
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
Tatyana Naumova
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Отличная книга про то, что в проблемах в отношениях виноваты оба. Хотя и неприятно снимать белое пальто(
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
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
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.
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
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
I don't know how I discovered this book but it was pretty good. And as far as marriage books go and people struggling in their relationship this will be a useful tool provided that you actually want to do something positive in restoring the relationships. This book had plenty of scientific studies that showed the benefits of having a great marriage and partner. For example, having someone you can rely on for connection and support makes healing from trauma easier.

It also sounded like one of the
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
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
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest, this is not the kind of book I normally read, as it's far too close to a self-help book for me. Rather than write a panegyric about my parents for raising me to be able to be a "secure attacher" and not totally screwed up in relationships, especially since they are both on goodreads, I'll just say I couldn't even understand how people in the book could possibly be so negative, aggressive, and nasty to their partners. It gave me a perspective on how amazingly screwed up and toxic ...more
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Kim Winters
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Denise Young
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've been meaning to read this one for a while; I finally picked up the audiobook and have been listening to it on my commute. Most of it felt a little elementary and wasn't very new to me, but it was still really useful. Many interesting examples of conversations, turning toward each other as partners, ways to apologize effectively, ways to be more aware of attachment needs and to meet them with each other. Valuable stuff, and I will go back to some of the concepts.
Jessica Woodbury
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I think this is a fascinating book that describes how the attachment relationship works throughout life! I really enjoyed her easy-to-read style and use of examples from her couples therapy practice. A must read for anyone who is hoping to understand how we unknowingly sabotage our relationships. LOVED IT!
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
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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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“In insecure relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us.” 18 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.” 10 likes
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