It’s no secret that I love movies… It is not only great entertainment, an enjoyable escape, and a way to engage the mind in something other than all the ‘to-do’ lists; it is also a fascinating projection of much of our own lives– stories, dilemmas, conflicts, fears, hopes, fantasies–on screen in a way that allows us to see them from a distance and different perspective.
During our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshops, I use film clips to help highlight, project, and explain– concepts of trauma, core wounds, betrayals, conflicts, dreams, apologies, forgiveness, intimacy, sexuality, and other issues.
I do this because at times it can feel safer to watch the drama unfold on screen and then reflect on our own painful and confusing experiences. In a way, it’s easier to identify with the protagonist or heroin in the film–there’s a bit of distance between us and our reality, and this helps us process our own dilemmas.
Recently I watched a TV series on Amazon Prime Video, called Mammals. In Mammals, Jamie, a chef, finds his world imploding when he uncovers secrets about his pregnant wife Amandine.
The official description (from Leisure Bytes) reads:
“In this darkly comedic drama from writer, Jez Butterworth, revelations and secrets come to light and the complexity of modern marriage and fidelity are exposed. In a world of eight billion, what happens after we’ve found ‘the one’? Can we stay true to the promises we strive to keep when, after all, aren’t we just MAMMALS?”
In a Los Angeles Times review of ‘Mammals’, questions arise about the meaning of love, commitment, monogamy, infidelity, and of course the art of films.
“If love is impossible, we must believe in the impossible,” Jamie and Amandine declare in a “manifesto” early in their relationship. “We must believe in magic.”
The title, of course, is a fairly blunt headlining of the same idea. It’s also worth noting the ongoing opposition between science and spirituality, and the question of when a surfacing whale is just a whale coming up to breathe, and when is it a sign from the universe.
At times, movies can make it easier to talk about difficult topics like infidelity, marriage, commitment, trust, and the meaning of ‘love’ because we get to watch these characters struggle in a fashion that may be similar to our own experiences.
I have mixed feelings about Valentine’s Day.
Being a relationship and a Marriage Family Therapist, I talk about relationships a lot. I feel honored to be in my office every day, to help couples figure out the mystery, the ‘impossibility’, and the magic of love. It just gets even more complicated when Valentine’s Day gets close.
On the one hand, I’m glad we’re celebrating a day of LOVE; it’s a celebration of a very important concept in our lives, if not one of the most important concepts in our lives! On the other hand, there can be many mixed emotions surrounding this holiday.
As soon as January rolls in, the shelves in the grocery stores, and the store windows, fill up with Valentine’s Day ‘goodies’… pink bears, heart-shaped chocolate boxes, chocolate roses, flowers, and cards… all reminding us NOT to forget our loved ones on Valentine’s Day.
But for many of us, Valentine’s Day is stressful! There are many expectations, and with them, the potential for failure. We may feel apprehensive, and we may experience old fears, such as memories of abandonment, betrayal, rejection, and disappointment. ‘Will I matter to you?’ ‘Will I get it ‘right’ ‘Will I ever be good enough?’
In a Forbes Magazine article, If You’re Not Happy During Valentine’s Day, You’re Not Alone, Bruce Y Lee writes:
‘Valentine’s Day is certainly a happy occasion for many. An opportunity to spend a day with that special someone or, for some, someones. A time to generate more memories, show your love or feel loved. But for others, it’s anything but…even if you are in a relationship. For a number of people, the commercially designated day of love can actually cause stress, anxiety, unhappiness and even depression.’
The reality is that relationships can create many stressors. Whether you’re worried about not having a relationship, are in one that makes you unhappy, or are happy and afraid of losing it.
As a couples therapist, I get to work with couples when their romance and relationship hits a bump. And I find it so inspiring when deal-breakers turn into game-changers. Many times in therapy, couples can turn a difficult situation into an amazing ‘turn-around’.
Whether we are dealing with infidelity, addiction, relapse, or any other breach of trust, it can be a shock to the relationship when attachment injuries happen. But, I have witnessed it in my therapy practice and in our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, how a transformative experience can unfold and a ‘Phoenix can rise out of the ashes’.
But let us not forget that Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love and relationships but about LOVE. The love between parents and children, love of friends and friendships, love of pets, trees, birds, Earth, Mother Nature, and of course, loving our vulnerable self.
Dr. Sue Johnson, explorer, researcher, trailblazer and author in understanding couples and relationships, tells us that:
‘We are wired for survival and for connections. For most of us, our sense of intuition will alert us to any emotional danger in our relationships, and any disconnect signal danger. We will then want to protect ourselves, by prompting a protest, a fight or flight, or freeze and flee response. It is when that safe love connection gets compromised, that our primary panic alarm sets us off, alerting us to the danger of disconnect from a loved one.’
At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, in a safe, intimate, private setting, we hold space for couples to become vulnerable and open to explore, experience, touch and talk through issues that have been untouched. It is time set aside to have these conversations that have been waiting for a long time to happen.
I am excited to announce that Owen Marcus, MA, author, workshop facilitator, TEDxTALK presenter on Masculine Emotional Intelligence, and co-founder of Evryman will once again be co-leading the workshop with me. Evryman is a space that helps all men get connected, vulnerable and find their tribe.
Owen brings with him decades of experience in leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owens presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop
Dr. Sue Johnson developed the Hold Me Tight program based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and her bestselling book, Hold Me Tight, Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.
Our Next Workshop:
Nevada City, CA
Date: April 15th – 16th, 2023
Price: $1045 per couple ($995 early bird pricing through 3/15/23)
At our Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop, you and your partner will learn and experience how to:
- Affirm strengths in your relationship by developing understanding and bonding
- Address negative cycle patterns, learn why they show up, and how to get out of them
- Learn how to repair and forgive injuries, and become vulnerable with each other
- Enhance your emotional, physical, and SEXUAL closeness and INTIMACY
Don’t miss this unique opportunity that has helped many couples find the way back to a secure connected romantic intimate relationship. We keep the groups small and intimate, sign up ASAP, all of our previous workshops have been Sold-Out!
To register please CLICK HERE
Our Workshops Are Open to ALL Couples. Please share this page with anyone you think will benefit from our work.
For more information about the workshop, questions or inquiries about the work I do, please contact me at:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (530)692 0680
In gratitude and love to all of you
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