For having a strong, fulfilled and healthy relationship, there are some important conversations that every couple should have.
If you were to hear that a therapist’s method of helping distressed couples bond again had a seventy-five percent success rate (as opposed to the rather dismal thirty-five percent success rate of most of the other forms of couples therapy), wouldn’t you want to learn more about the methodology?
Psychologist and researcher Dr. Sue Johnson has done exactly that. She created a whole new way of helping couples cope with serious relationship issues that have proven time and time again to be highly successful.
Based on a validated science-based method of couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), Dr. Johnson wrote a book called Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love for the general public with all the information to move from conflict to calmness in your relationship. Hold Me Tight explains her process, clearly and in detail, for all to benefit from.
The Hold Me Tight relationship enhancement workshops, also created by Dr. Johnson, are formatted from the book and are held all over the country by local professionals. These workshops teach seven different conversations designed to help couples learn how to move away from negative patterns of conflict, increase their emotional responsiveness to one another, forgive old wounds, and rekindle their desire and affection.
This program educates couples through presentations, viewing videos of Dr. Johnson working with couples, and interactive experiences that couples do together. The couples soon begin to recognize the defining moments of their relationship and build new connections. All experiential, interactive work is done privately between the partners followed by group discussion. No one is required to “air their dirty laundry” so to speak with the group.
The seven conversations through which participants are guided are designed to increase the experience of emotional responsiveness, that sense of safety and closeness that addresses three primary needs:
Accessibility – Can I reach you? Do you hear what I need?
Responsiveness – Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally?
Engagement – Do I know that you will value me and stay close?
The theory is that these “A.R.E” questions are often buried, hidden just under the surface in most of our recurring arguments about issues such as sex, kids, personality differences, and money. If partners feel safe and loved, they can deal with differences and problems together. If not, relationship issues and fears get channeled into endless disagreements around practical issues of everyday life. By guiding you through seven transforming conversations, the program will show you how to create a safe, loving bond with your partner.
The first four conversations teach the participants to limit negative spirals that leave them both disconnected. It also outlines how to tune into each other in a way that builds lasting emotional responsiveness. The next two conversations demonstrate how couples can promote emotional bonding through forgiving injuries and sexual intimacy. The final conversation shows you how to care for your relationship on a daily basis.
Here are the seven key conversations that all couples need to have:
1. Recognizing Demon Dialogues
In this initial conversation, couples identify common emotional reactions that lead to negative cycles. Being able to identify the negative patterns is the first step to being able to step out of those patterns.
2. Finding the Raw Spots
Next, each partner learns to look beyond their immediate, impulsive reactions to discover the vulnerable feelings under the negative cycles.
3. Revisiting a Rocky Moment
This conversation develops a safe platform for de-escalating conflict, repairing disconnections, and building emotional security.