Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

At our recent Hold Me Tight Couple (HMT) weekend, I was so deeply moved, when I witnessed couples going from a state of fear, panic, anger, resentment, and disconnection, to trust, connection, safe communication and intimacy. At our closing “forgiveness-commitment-appreciation” ceremony ritual at the end of the weekend, I felt that the energy in the room shifted and lifted.

It was like the butterflies were flying out of their cocoons and there yet again, I felt the magic of the work that is possible with couples:  Identifying the negative cycle we get stuck in, owning our moves in that cycle/dance that we get hijacked by, the power of forgiveness, talking about sexuality and intimacy, and renewing commitments through the power of rituals.

At the end of our recent Hold Me Tight couple’s workshop in Nevada City, we created a ritual where each one of the couples gave an appreciation and expressed gratitude to their partners, made a commitment and set an intention, for and about their relationship.

It was a touching moment; many eyes got tearful. It struck a cord with many of the couples. Dreams were remembered, hopes were rekindled.

In the end of her book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson, Ph.D., devotes a chapter to the idea of rituals and commitments, to keep love alive, and to maintain the benefit of the couples work done by reading the book, at the workshop, and in couple counseling.

Making a commitment to each other and setting an intention for the future of the relationship, are rituals most couples ‘do’ when they say ‘I do’…, however, I believe that there is a value in ‘re-committing’ as a regular, recurring ritual. If we don’t have positive rituals, we are vulnerable to creating negative rituals. Our unconscious minds need rituals—they are what we count on and day-dream about.

It was touching to hear couples reassure each other that ‘You Matter to Me,’ ‘I Am All In,’ I love you. It’s inspiring to see a couple start the weekend in conflict, believing there is love beneath the conflict, and then see them leave back in love. That happens because of the slow and guided steps into vulnerability.

Dalia Anderman, LMFT will be leading a two-day Hold Me Tight Couple’s workshop, with Owen Marcus, MA, Rolfer, (, in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Nov. 19 & 20. For questions call 208.265.8440.  For more information and to register for the workshop go to

photo by: adamkontor / Pixabay


It’s been said that 70 to 80 percent of our immune cells are located in the gut. This protective environment identifies and attacks a variety of threats, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, while distinguishing them from our own tissue.

Supporting your immune response can not only reduce duration and severity of colds and flues, it can lower the incidence of developing these in the first place. A healthy

system is one of the most important functions in the fight against cancer. It will remove dead cells and foreign substances from our bodies. It will also pick up and eliminate cells that have mutated or gone rogue.

There are several ways you can support and raise your immune response. We take antibiotics when our innate immunity can not keep up with an infection. Healthy life style choices, like exercise, will make your immune system stronger.

Getting enough sleep strengthens our immune system. Some disease fighting substances are released or created only when you sleep. Repairing and growing new tissue happens at this time. Even short sleep deprivation causes undue stress on the body.

During times of prolonged stress, our bodies produce too much cortisol which creates chronic inflammation. This can lower signals that are critical to immune cell response. Short term inflammation is one of the first immune responses in order to create a barrier against the spread of infection and promote the clearing of pathogens. This is helpful. But long term inflammation is destructive.

Avoid sugars and flour, especially when you are starting to feel sick. A clean diet that is rich in nutrients, minerals and antioxidants, like Vitamin C, is essential. You can also support yourself by taking a multivitamin. I suggest you pick one that has at least three capsules a day, ideally six.

Increasing dosages of other nutrients can also be supportive. Vitamin D3 has antimicrobial properties that help fight against pathogens. Vitamin C is a well know antioxidant and must be taken as the body does not produce it. This vitamin produces beneficial effects on virtually all of your immune system’s cells. Fish oil is another source of D and is shown to enhance the function of immune cells.

Vitamin A has a profound effect on your immune system, particular the surface of your digestive track and leads to immune tolerance across the gut lining. This is a key to being able to consume a wide range of foods and not react adversely. Zinc Citrate is an important component of the enzymes involved in tissue repair and may reduce the duration of a cold by 50%.

Probiotics support a healthy gut flora. This is a major defense against invaders and integral to the immune system. I consider probiotics foundational to optimal health. Beta glucans, like those extracted from mushrooms, are considered immune modulators. These activate without over stimulating your system.

Natural herbs can have broad spectrum effects against viruses and bacteria. Some of these immune boosters include astragalus, echinacea, green tea extract, elderberry, andrographis, and goldenseal.

Scott Porter is a Functional Medicine Pharmacist at Sandpoint Super Drug.

Photo: GLady / Pixabay


Maintaining a healthy, balanced intestinal microbiom is important to short and long term health. When our diets contain processed and sterilized foods, we become deficient in essential microorganisms. Oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and toxins can alter this balance. Beneficial bacteria, called, must be consumed to maintain their needed presence in our digestive system.

Probiotics support the immune system. This is important during seasonal colds and flu, as well for those with allergies. Constipation and diarrhea can be improved with clinically effective dosages of probiotics. Probiotics benefit those with more significant concerns, like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

Should I take probiotics with meals?

It is reasonable to take probiotics with food, but nothing hot. Food can buffer the stomach acid and reduce damage to the bacteria. Another option is to drink lots of water to dilute the acid and move the probiotics quickly into the intestines, reducing exposure to a harmful environment. Though, there is nothing definitive about these approaches and the industry remains divided on the topic.

Can I take probiotics when on an antibiotic?

Given that antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria, some individuals eliminate probiotics while on antibiotics. The problem with this approach is that it leaves bad bacteria not affected by antibiotics with the opportunity to grow quickly without opposition from beneficial bacteria. This can lead to diarrhea, yeast overgrowth and other problems. Taking probiotics while on antibiotics can reduce such symptoms.

You can minimize the damage to probiotics by taking them an hour before, or two hours after, the antibiotic. Include Saccharomyces Boulardii, a beneficial yeast, in your regimen to fend off aggressive pathogens like E. coli.

Why are some probiotics refrigerated?

Keeping probiotics in the fridge will keep them more potent. Most freeze-dried probiotics deteriorate over time, at room temperature this process is slow at the beginning and then accelerates over time. How fast this happens depends upon the individual strain of bacteria. Some spore based probiotics are 95% stable even after two years.

You can leave your probiotics out for days and weeks without much loss. But because survival is greater at low temperatures, you should refrigerate and avoid high temperatures that can cause these beneficial bacteria to die-off. Keep a desiccant in your bottle and the lid tight to reduce moisture, which can destroy probiotics even more than heat.

Do probiotics survive stomach acid?

Yes and no. This depends upon the strain of probiotic as each one has it’s own level of sensitivity. Lactic acid producing bacteria do not survive well in acidic or alkaline medium. You either have to take more or find a way to protect them during transit. Some companies offer protection through coated capsules, or by surrounding the microorganisms with plant extracts and fatty acids.

Scott Porter is a Functional Medicine Pharmacist at Sandpoint Super Drug.

photo  elizadean / Pixabay



couples, relationship, divorce, workshop, Dalia Anderman, HMT, Hold Me Tight, Sue Johnson, EFT, Emotional Focused Therapy

Dance me through the panic ’til I’m gathered safely in… (Leonard Cohen).

We are all longing for that “safety in connection — for that sense that we can let go of our anxieties and relax, knowing that we are held and witnessed. We want that feeling of “I am safe with you,” that when I need you, you will be there for me, and you have my back. We all need that.

We are wired for connection as part of our survival. For most of us, our sense of intuition will alert us to any emotional danger in our relationships, and any disconnect signals danger. We then want to protect ourselves, by prompting a protest, a fight or flight, or freeze 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.

Our infants and children know how to respond when they feel the danger of our disconnection: they experience separation anxiety. But when we have secure bonds with our children, we are quick to offer them comfort and reassurance. We all need that as adults, too.

We all long for that sense of being  “gathered safely in,” when we can truly let go, take a deep breath, lean in, and let our shoulders down.

Dr. Sue Johnson, the author of Hold Me Tight and Love Sense, and the originator or EFT (Emotional Focused Therapy), says:   “Our loved one is our shelter in life. When this person is unavailable and unresponsive we are assailed by a tsunami of emotions — sadness, anger, hurt and above all, fear. This fear is wired in. Being able to rely on a loved one, to know that he or she will answer our call is our innate survival code.”

When we sense that a primary love relationship is threatened, we go into a primal panic.  Underneath all the loud arguments and long silences, partners are asking each other the key questions in the drama of love: “Are you there for me? Do I and my feelings matter to you? Will you respond to me when I need you?” The answers to these questions, questions that are so hard to ask and so hard to hear in the heat of a fight, make the difference between emotional safety and emotional peril and starvation.

We can unlearn the survival response and develop skills of connecting. As much as we are wired to survive, we are wired to connect. In workshops, we see couples who were planning on separating rediscover the love they once had… and develop the tools to keep it. Because that’s the real challenge: learning the tools to keep that connection open.

Adopted from Dalia Anderman, LMFT blog.  To find out more about Emotional Focused Therapy and the Hold Me Tight couples work, please go to the website:

couples, relationship, divorce, workshop, Dalia Anderman, HMT, Hold Me Tight, Sue Johnson, EFT, Emotional Focused Therapy

Dalia Anderman, LMFT will be leading a two days Hold Me Tight Couples workshop, with Owen Marcus, MA, Rolfe, author, workshop leader and men’s trainer (, in Sandpoint, Idaho, on Nov. 19 & 20. For questions call 265.8440.  For more information and to register for the workshop go to  

photo by fsHH / Pixabay


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