| Jeff McKillop |
Originally published in 2008, Dr. Sue Johnson’s book Hold Me Tight is a wonderful resource for any couple looking to improve and enhance their relationship.
Her book and therapy approach is grounded in attachment theory. Attachment theory argues that the need to have a strong emotional bond with another person (a caregiver when we are young and a romantic partner when we are older) is biologically hard-wired and is as important as food or shelter for survival.
Although attachment theory was controversial when it was first developed, it has now become the standard perspective we use to understand human connection. Attachment theory is both simple and powerful.
The core of Dr. Johnson’s approach is reflected in the acronym ARE. ARE stands for accessibility, responsiveness, and engagement. Put another way:
Accessibility: ARE you truly available to listen to me?
Responsiveness: ARE you truly willing to recognize my emotions?
Engagement: ARE you truly focused and value what I am feeling?
In her book, Dr. Johnson provides a comprehensive number of exercises intended to help couples enhance their connection with each other. I strongly recommend her book.