The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.
Recently I was fortunate enough to be in Florence, Italy, and I went to see some of the most incredible works of art by Michelangelo and one in particular made me think of a couples relationship.
The brilliant Renaissance artist Michelangelo, was asked about the difficulties that he must have encountered in sculpting his masterpiece David. His reply was, “It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”
This is a metaphor I use when I work in my therapy office. At times, couples are stuck in their endless cycles of conflicts and fights, when what they really want is that precious sculpture, hidden in the marble slab. That deep connection whose potential is already present but which must be rediscovered continuously. Rumi also speaks to this truth in a personal way saying,
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
As we melt and remove the barriers and obstacles we have put up against love and connection, we have a much better chance of obtaining it.
Sometimes trauma, fear, or attachment injuries block us from wanting or achieving that which we most desire – Connection.
Old injuries reminds us not to want, not to reach, and not to expect so we do not get hurt, rejected, or disappointed.
As I stood there at the Academia in Florence looking at the powerful sculpture Pietà, I felt the meaning of the word Pieta, overwhelming compassion, in my body.
Recently I was visiting my homeland of Israel, where I was offering a training for therapists about Emotional Focused Therapy, and how to work with couples when one or both are struggling with trauma.
In a country torn by ongoing war (Israel just celebrated 75 years of existence, and 75 years of constant conflict), it becomes more obvious how much trauma can become an organizing force in our daily lives and shape our relationships.
Understanding how our dance of relationship is impacted by our trauma, is important when helping couples get unstuck from the negative cycle. What served our survival as young children, and even as young adults, can become a barrier when we try to connect with our partners. What once saved us, is now in the way.
Protecting ourselves is our primary survival instinct, so when our “Operating System” is telling us something is dangerous and we need to protect ourselves, much of the time we will default to our old coping strategies. These strategies may protect us, but they also keep us apart and alone.
These strategies often show up as danger detectors initiating our Fight-Flight-Freeze response, causing us to see our partners as coming AT us when they are really coming TO us. Even while under the survival mechanisms, there is a longing for contact and connection. We want our thoughts to be read, we want to share what is deep and painful.
Dr. Sue Johnson, explorer, researcher, trailblazer, and author in understanding couples and relationships, tells us: “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, and 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, be vulnerable, and find their tribe.
Owen brings with him decades of experience in leading and facilitating men’s groups all over the country, and helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight® Couples Workshop.
Our next couples workshop:
Nevada City, CA
Date: August 26-27, 2023
Price: $1045 per couple ($945 early bird pricing through 7/15/23)
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, so sign up ASAP. All of our previous workshops have sold out!
Our Workshops Are Open to ALL Couples. Please share this page with anyone you think will benefit from our work.
For questions or inquiries about the work I do, please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (530) 692-0680.
Here are some Testimonial from our previous weekend workshop participants
Safe environment to help grow and process. Great set of new tools for all relationships, not just relationship with partner. Truly insightful as to how I am, how I can improve and be more supportive while expressing my needs.
Dalia and Owen are caring, competent professionals with genuine ability to connect and with real Insight. The program, the process is effective in breaking through personal barriers to connection.
This workshop is life-changing – for both the couple and the individual. What you put in is what you will get out of it. The workshop gives you the structure, provides a concept, and an environment that builds a solid foundation for a healthy relationship.
I recommend this workshop to all couples, not just the couples in distress. The HMT method would have been beneficial in the beginning of our relationship. It would have saved us many years of turmoil. This workshop is something I hope to do year after year.
Dalia and Owen cover so much in just one weekend. It’s a productive space to understand your relationship patterns and work thru some issues. It is helpful to see how others navigate their hard stuff too. You’ll leave feeling more committed to the partner you want to be!
In gratitude and love to all of you,
Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark of Sue Johnson.