Hold Me Tight

Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships

Recommended by Shelley Whitehead

This remarkable book offers a window into the mode of marriage counselling developed, taught and practiced by Dr Sue Johnson, a therapist working in Canada.  She considers a range of poor relationships, largely by analysing the dialogue between couples that occur within therapy sessions.  In brief, her central thesis is that many failing partnerships can be saved and renewed through what she calls EFT – emotionally focused couple therapy.  This a process that enables each partner in a marriage to recognise their deep emotional attachment to his or her spouse.  Accordingly, conflicts are an unacknowledged articulation of vulnerability and the need to create and develop emotional bonds.  This is achieved by identifying aspects of negative communication between partners that are potentially transformational in cultivating a loving adult relationship.  The book consists of an introductory section, which I found a little slow, followed by seven representative dialogues and Dr. Johnson’s analysis of them, which were fascinating.  A valuable book for anyone in a relationship and especially for those working in a therapeutic role.