7 Conversations That Will Save Any Rocky Relationship


If you heard that a therapist's method of helping couples in a distressed relationship bond again had a 75% success rate (as opposed to the rather dismal 35% success rate of other forms of couples therapy), wouldn't you want to learn more about the methodology?

Dr. Sue Johnson has done exactly that. She has created a whole new way of helping couples cope with serious relationship issues that has proven time and again to be highly successful. Based on a well-validated method of couples therapy called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Dr. Johnson has written 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. This book 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 7 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" with the group.

The 7 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:

  1. Accessibility: Can I reach you? Do you hear what I need?
  2. Responsiveness: Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally?
  3. Engagement: Do I know that you will value me and stay close?

The theory is that these questions are often 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, then relationship issues and fears get channeled into endless disagreements around practical issues of everyday life. By guiding you through 7 transforming conversations, the program will show you how to create a safe, loving bond with your partner.

The first four conversations teach the participants how to limit negative spirals that leave them 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 how to care for your relationship on a daily basis.

Here are the 7 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.
  4. Hold Me Tight: Now the partners can move into being more accessible, emotionally responsive, and deeply engaged, known as "A.R.E.," to strengthen and protect their emotional connection.
  5. Forgiving Injuries: Old emotional hurts can block intimacy and a secure connection. Knowing how to identify these injuries, and offer and accept forgiveness, empowers couples to strengthen their bonds.
  6. Bonding Through Sex and Touch: Here, couples learn more about how emotional connection enhances physical connection, which in turn creates deeper emotional connection—the best kind of cycle.
  7. Keeping Your Love Alive: The last conversation in the program builds on the understanding that a love relationship is a continual process of losing and finding emotional connection. It helps couples to be deliberate and mindful about maintaining that connection.

This workshop gives couples real tools to create a lifetime of love.

Marni Feuerman is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presenting the HMT workshop in the South Florida area throughout the year. For more information go to the website. If you are not in Florida and would like to go to a local HMT workshop, go to www.ICEEFT.com for other workshop listings.

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This article was originally published at www.TheTalkingSolution.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.