Couples Workshop FAQs

Hold Me TightWhat is a “Hold Me Tight®” Workshop?

Hold Me Tight® is an educational workshop based on the best-selling book by Dr. Sue Johnson, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. The structured curriculum used in this workshop is based on the theory and practice of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT).  EFT is a systematic approach that aims to reduce relationship distress and help couples create trust and intimacy.

In this private weekend workshop, you will learn how to identify and change the negative cycles that get in the way of intimacy, make sense of emotions, and restore trust and safety in your relationship.

The workshop is lead by certified EFT therapists Theresa Cohen and Julie Quimby who will guide you and your partner through facilitated conversations, video presentations, guided exercises and “one-on-one” discussions to help you reconnect and transform your relationship. Any group processing is at the discretion and comfort level of the participant.

Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson.

What is EFT?

EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples is a well-validated, structured approach that is designed to help couples understand each other’s emotions and respond effectively to each other’s needs. It is a collaborative model based on adult attachment theory and is widely heralded as one of the most successful approaches to creating loving relationships and lasting bonds.

In EFT, couples learn to identify their negative communication cycle, how to be with feelings together, reach towards each other, and be responsive in more loving and positive ways. When couples can clearly communicate and respond to attachment needs, it can create the safety, trust and support that couples long for.

Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples works from the following assumptions:

  • There is an inherent, universal need in all humans for a safe haven relationship where a loved one is experienced as accessible, responsive, and emotionally engaged.
  • A relationship is a series of powerful emotional feedback loops where each person shapes the other’s responses. One person cannot solely be “the problem”.
  • Feelings are often hidden, unexpressed, misinterpreted, or misunderstood.
  • All relationship responses are understandable and reasonable. Partners are not viewed as deficient or damaged – but instead viewed as struggling to find the best way they know how to manage painful feelings of disconnection and vulnerability.
  • Relational responses (such as acting out or withdrawing) are strategies to manage emotional distress and often work to some degree, in certain contexts. If couples are to understand their own and their partner’s responses, there is need for acknowledging the validity of these strategies and the emotions driving them.

What will we actually do at the workshop?

The heart of the workshop revolves around 7 exercises where you will practice conversations to create closeness.

The workshop leaders will present information about love and attachment to help you make sense of the cycles of disconnection in which couples often find themselves. We will also show videos of actual couples working through common cycles of conflict. At regular intervals, we will ask you to privately engage in structured conversations with your partner regarding your particular cycle. Workshop leaders, as well as other trained facilitators, will offer assistance with these exercises. At times during the weekend, we will assemble as a group and offer the opportunity to discuss your experience with the exercises. This group sharing is optional and no one is required at any time to share with the group.

The videos, lectures, and one-on-one exercises create opportunities to:

  • Recognize the negative patterns where ALL couples get stuck and discover what you are really trying to communicate
  • Understand what drives conflict in relationships
  • Explore the feelings and needs underneath your behaviors
  • Find forgiveness, heal past hurts and move forward
  • Create and nurture emotional safety and intimacy
  • Affirm strengths in your relationship
  • Improve your communication and have more effective conversations

Is this workshop right for us?

This workshop is appropriate for couples who want to create a more loving bond – married, unmarried, straight, gay, the long married, or the recently married – anyone who wants to work on their relationship. Only a few situations would indicate that this workshop wouldn’t be the best approach right now:  where there is violence in a relationship, where there is active untreated addiction, or where there is an active affair.

This workshop focuses on health and growth. It is geared for couples looking to understand their patterns of communication and improve their bond. Our goal is to help make sense of the strong emotions or distancing that happens when there is disconnection in your relationship. When couples get stuck in the same old fights, we compassionately view this as a wish for closeness, a feeling of being misunderstood, or attempts to manage the pain of loneliness. We are not trying to find out “who’s to blame,” but instead focusing on “how do we restore or deepen the connection?”

Who is this workshop not appropriate for?

This workshop is not appropriate for:

  • Couples engaged in domestic violence or where there is the threat of harm
  • Couples who are actively engaged with untreated addiction issues
  • Couples who are actively engaged in an affair

We recommend that couples in these situations seek couples therapy and other support before attending this workshop.

If you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of this workshop for yourself or your partnership, please contact Theresa Cohen or Julie Quimby.

What is the format of the workshop?

SCHEDULE

Saturday  8:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Sunday     8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

The 2-day workshop will consist of:

  • Short presentations by the workshop presenters
  • Videos to help illustrate the concepts of attachment
  • Private break-off sessions where each couple is provided with structured exercises
  • Individualized assistance offered by the facilitators during the break-off sessions

Is group participation required at the workshop?

This educational workshop is not group therapy and there is no requirement for group participation. There is no pressure or expectations for you to interact with other couples. We understand that many people are very private and can be anxious about being in a group. Please rest assured that we emphasize a warm and supportive environment, and you will not be asked to share anything personal beyond your comfort level.

When we are together as a group, the time is spent primarily with the workshop leaders presenting material or watching videos. Then couples spread out in the space to have private couple conversations. There is an opportunity to share experiences afterwards with the group, with some people choosing to do so. Any group processing is at your discretion and comfort level.

Who are the workshop presenters?

Theresa Cohen, LICSW and Julie Quimby, Ph.D will be leading the HMT workshop.  They are both  seasoned couples therapists.

Theresa and Julie work together to create a safe, non-judgmental space where participants learn about their relationship and experiment with new conversations. As the workshop leaders, they provide structure and guidance throughout the weekend as they honor each participant’s individual comfort level with sharing.

How much does the HMT weekend workshop cost?

The cost of the workshop is $695 per couple.

The registration fee covers the participation of both partners for the 2-day workshop. There will be lite snacks and beverages provided each day. Meals and lodging are not included. We encourage partners to purchase the Hold Me Tight book on their own prior to the event, but this is not required.

What is the cancellation policy?

If a cancellation request is received, a refund will be given (less a $100 administrative fee) up to 21 days prior to the workshop. If a cancellation is requested between 21 and 14 days prior to the workshop, 50% of the fee will be refunded. No refund will be given for cancellations less than 14 days prior to the workshop.

Where is the workshop and what about food/lodging?

This couples workshop is held in beautiful Maine. The location is:

14 Maine Street, Suite 309

Brunswick, ME 04011

Couples who live close-by may wish to go home overnight, but we encourage you to think about this as a weekend to devote to your relationship and to each other. Lodging is not included, but there are a variety of accommodations nearby.

How do I register or learn more?

Register online at psychologyspecialistsme.com/couples-workshops/

or by clicking  HERE.

Your registration is confirmed with receipt of payment.  If you have any trouble registering or you would like to speak in person, please contact Theresa Cohen by email or phone at 617-803-1399.

How should we prepare for the workshop?

We recommend reading Dr. Sue Johnson’s Hold Me Tight®:  Seven Conversations For a Lifetime of Love before the workshop to get the most from the experience. Reading Part 1 of this book will give you an overview of the science of love, attachment, and relationships. However reading this book is not required. The workshop is self-explanatory and will make sense even if you don’t get a chance to read it.

Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson.