Hold Me Tight®

Western North Carolina (WNC)

Hold Me Tight® is an educational program designed for creating stronger, more secure relationships. 

Hold Me Tight® workshops are based on a book by Dr. Sue Johnson entitled Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. The core ideas presented in Hold Me Tight® workshops are based on the theory of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), designed by Dr. Sue Johnson. In our Hold Me Tight® workshops, we guide couples through a series of conversations that help participants discover the three components that are at the heart of a lasting love for couples: Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement (A.R.E.).


In a series of conversations, participants will learn to:


  1. Better understand romantic love.

  2. Better understand their own and their partner’s emotional responses and needs.

  3. Describe and control their negative interactions, the interactional patterns that create pain and distance.

  4. Create positive moments of reaching and responding, moments that will create a secure bond.


Our Hold Me Tight® workshop is a structured educational program for couples. It is designed to help couples work through the material in Dr. Sue Johnson’s book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. The primary facilitator, Gregg Blanton, is trained and certified in EFT. Using a group format, videos, and interactional experiences, we provide a safe environment in which couples can grow and change. Couples receive the training they need for establishing the base of a secure and strong connection. They then leave with the basic skills they need for creating a loving relationship.


This video is an introduction to Dr. Sue Johnson and Hold Me Tight®.

Overview of a Hold Me Tight® Workshop

  • The goal of a Hold Me Tight ® workshop is to help couples make sense of interactions and emotions and help couples restore secure connections.
  • The workshop is divided into several sections. Engaging your thinking brain and your experiencing brain, the workshop moves back and forth from didactic presentations to couple-specific experiential exercises (with individualized assistance as needed). Short lectures by Gregg, accompanied by slides and videos, teach the core concepts of Hold Me Tight®
  • The short lectures are followed by brief exercises that are conducted one-on-one with only your partner. These exercises will lead you and your partner through the conversations of Hold Me Tight®. Gregg is available for support during this time.
  • Each workshop, which includes a group of couples (maximum of 8 couples) is a gentle, yet structured workshop. We offer an engaging, safe, non-blaming, non-shaming experience for all couples in attendance.
  • A Hold Me Tight ® workshop is an educational experience, not therapy.
  • You are not required to share personal information during presentations or discussions.


Over the course of the workshop, couples learn and experience the following conversations of Hold Me Tight ®:


  1. Understanding how you and your partner get into negative patterns of interacting.

  2. Finding the underlying feelings that guide your negative patterns.

  3.  Learning how to reconnect after moments of disconnection or conflict.

  4.  Generating positive patterns of reaching for and responding to your partner.

  5.  Discovering ways to continue building a secure bond after the workshop has ended.

What is EFT?




Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is one of the most effective approaches for helping couples develop a secure and loving bond. Drawing upon recent research about relationship distress and relational satisfaction, EFT reveals the nature of love and the power of emotion.


EFT couple therapy was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s. This approach integrates the science of love with attachment theory. Based upon a substantial body of research, studies show that more than 7 out of 10 couples treated with EFT move from distress to recovery and 9 out of 10 show improvement. EFT offers clinicians a way of working that helps couples create a safe emotional connection.


Strengths of EFT


  • EFT provides clear concepts about relationship distress and adult love. These concepts are supported by empirical research on the nature of adult love and marital distress.
  • EFT provides a clear map for therapists to follow in route to helping couples become emotionally connected and responsive to one another.
  • EFT is collaborative and respectful of clients. It focuses not only on the individual but on interactions between the two partners. While emphasizing the present moment, it pays attention to each individual’s personal history. It is attentive to each person’s feelings, thoughts, behavior, and body sensations.
  • EFT has specific strategies and interventions for working with couples
  • EFT is an empirically validated model for couple therapy
  • EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.


Goals of EFT


  • To expand and re-organize key emotional responses.
  • To create a shift in partners’ interactional positions and initiate new cycles of interaction, through corrective emotional experience.
  • To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.


EFT is not recommended for couples where there is:


  • Ongoing and untreated substance abuse/dependency.
  • Untreated severe and persistent mental illness (schizophrenia, recurrent psychotic depression, bipolar disorder).
  • Ongoing, undisclosed affairs.
  • Ongoing violence or threats of violence.


Becoming an EFT Certified Therapist


  • Requires rigorous training in EFT.
  • Requires intensive supervision by EFT approved supervisors.
  • Requires the ability to demonstrate competence and mastery of EFT with couples.
  • Requires membership in ICEEFT (International Center for Excellence in EFT).