Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson

Book Summary: Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson - Ryan Delaney

The Book in a Few Sentences

If you want a healthy, mature relationship, read this book. You will learn the cause of your conflict and how to nurture a secure bond for a lifetime of love. Dr. John Gottman calls Sue Johnson "the best couple therapist in the world."

Hold Me Tight summary

This is my book summary of Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson. My summary and notes include the key lessons and most important insights from the book.


Part One: A New Light on Love

Love—A Revolutionary New View

Love and Adults

A Wealth of Evidence 

Where Did Our Love Go? Losing Connection

A Primal Panic

The Demon Dialogues

Key Moments of Attachment and Detachment

Emotional Responsiveness: The Key to a Lifetime of Love

The Beginning of EFT


This emotional responsiveness has three main components: 

The Seven Conversations of EFT

Part Two: Seven Transforming Conversations

Conversation 1: Recognizing the Demon Dialogues

Demon Dialogue 1—Find the Bad Guy

Demon Dialogue 2—The Protest Polka

Play and Practice

Demon Dialogue 3—Freeze and Flee

Play and Practice

Conversation 2: Finding the Raw Spots

Recognizing When A Raw Spot Is Rubbed

Let’s break down what happens when a raw spot gets rubbed:

  1. An attachment cue grabs our attention and turns on our attachment system, our longings and fears.
  2. Our body responds. Each emotion has a specific physiological signature. When we are afraid, blood flow increases to the legs; when we are angry, blood flow increases to the hands.
  3. Our intellect, sitting behind our forehead in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, is a little slow. Now it catches up with our emotional brain, our amygdala, and goes looking for what all this means.
  4. We get set to move in a particular way, toward, away from, or against our lover.

Sharing With Your Partner

Conversation 3: Revising a Rocky Moment

De-Escalating Disconnection

  1. Stopping the game.
  2. Claiming your own moves.
  3. Claiming your own feelings.
  4. Owning how you shape your partner’s feelings. 
  5. Asking about your partner's deeper emotions.
  6. Sharing your own deeper, softer emotions. Although voicing your deepest emotions, sometimes sadness and shame, but most often attachment fears, may be the most difficult step for you, it is also the most rewarding. It lets your partner see what's really a stake with you when you argue.
  7. Standing together.

Conversation 4: Hold Me Tight—Engaging and Connecting

What Am I Most Afraid Of?

What Do I Need Most From You?

The Neuroscience of Harmony

Conversation 5: Forgiving Injuries

Small Events, Big Fallout

Six Steps to Forgiveness

Conversation 6: Bonding Through Sex and Touch

Sealed-Off Sex

Solace Sex

Synchrony Sex

Resolving Sexual Problems

Conversation 7: Keeping Your Love Alive

Creating A Future Love Story

Part Three

The Power of Hold Me Tight

Locking Up Feelings

Turning to A Loved One

Trauma’s Echoes

Saying Isolated

The Biggest Obstacle

Ultimate Connection—Love As the Final Frontier

A Wider Circle

Love Between Lovers, Love In Families

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