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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vulnerability and Intimacy as vital ingredients to life and relationships, 24 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships (Paperback)
Dr Sue Johnson is part of a movement in self-help books that are based on sound science and evidence. You could spend ages trawling through the plethora of self-help or start with a scientifically verified approach. Dr Johnson gives you that.

Dr Johnson starts with the science of love and intimacy, referring to evidence that people who are in loving relationships have lower stress hormones and more resilient immune responses and are less at risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. She writes, " Contact with a loving partner literally acts as a buffer against shock, stress and pain. The people we love...are the hidden regulators of our bodily processes and our emotional lives" (pg 25). Lovingly secure relationships are vital to our health. At the heart of our well-being is an adult attachment need for loving connections akin to a child's attachment need. Our attachment need is fundamental to our psycho-physiological nature; we are social creatures.

Dr Johnson focuses on first helping you to evaluate and become aware of the dances or patterns that maintain hurt between couples. She then supports your becoming curious and compassionate about your "raw spots" or "emotionally vulnerable" parts. Our vulnerable raw spots are the flashpoints that trigger irrational rows and deadening distance in our relationships. Getting to know our own and our partner's raw spots is the starting point for building a strong relationship. In awareness and compassion for our own and our partner's vulnerability, lies the building blocks of our strength.

Dr Johnson leads you through various chapters on building love and closeness in various facets of your relationships, both emotional and sexual. She presents the process of learning about each other and growing together as a series of conversations suggesting that change can be ordinary and do-able, like a conversation, if you give it time.

For some couples there may be an additional complication to overcome, namely the consequences of trauma. Dr Johnson dedicates a chapter to this, to help couples consider the additional challenges that healing from trauma brings.

This book will offer vital sound advise and knowledge, but the trouble with all self-help is how to apply it to yourself and your relationships. Whilst Dr Johnson's readable and touching style goes a long way, for some this may be easier than others. What Dr Johnson highlights in this work however, is that healing and thriving happens through relationships. If you are struggling to apply the ideas in the book, it may be worth considering the caring support and professional guidance that a professional relationship with a trained therapist/psychologist can offer to you and/or your partner.
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