Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

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


Many people struggle with a partner to recreate what was there when they first fell in love. We have great hopes when we start out… then things seem to fall apart. We might start out blaming another, only to realize that we are also part of the problem.

There is another cause; for many this is THE cause. It’s that we inherited a model that is limited, and we have no tools to build a better one. Who was taught the skills of connecting? Who had parents that modeled those skills?

A second problem comes from how boys are raised. Since fathers left the farm for the factory, boys were instructed how to be emotional from a feminine perspective. Women stepped up to do what they had to do. The consequence is that men lost the masculine perspective of emotionality.

As men, we want to succeed. We listen to our mothers, teachers, girlfriends and then wives on how to show up emotionally. We try our best, only to keep failing. Men give up. Women give up. We blame each other and ourselves.

The blame is not with us; it’s with our models of how to connect and how to be emotional as a man. But the responsibility to change what’s not working lies with us. We need to find a model that works and become proficient at it.

Through the work of people like Sue Johnston, Ph.D, we discovered a simple way to learn the skills of connecting. With these skills, we see failing relationships become passionate love affairs. The first step is understanding how, when under stress, we revert to our survival behaviors that protect us.  They might protect us, but they certainly will cause disconnection. Then, you need to risk being vulnerable to rekindle connection, which begins to turn around a struggling relationship. From there, you hone the skills and come up with a plan to reinforce them.

In 2005, I asked eleven men to join me in forming the Sandpoint Men’s Group. As of today, more than  200 men have participated in the group over the years. We have four current, active groups. We were featured in a documentary film. There’s a book about how to start your own group.

We found a model that works. This model is spreading around the world, teaching men Masculine Emotional Intelligence. Men in these free groups teach each other what none of us had taught to us as boys.

Start today, slow down, take a risk and connect. Tell your partner how you appreciate her or him. Even if you feel you don’t, start with something you at least did appreciate. Stop disconnecting around conflict and start connecting around what’s good.

Men, check out our free groups – We welcome new men. These groups are amazing—and a lot of fun. Many marriages were turned around because a man learned what was never taught to him.

Owen Marcus, MA, Rolfer, men’s trainer (, and couples workshop leader


To read the previous article, visit our blog:

Sandpoint has an amazing array of healthcare providers, from physicians to holistic providers. Many moved here after having successful practices in large cities. The best way to find what you are looking for is to ask—ask people who have gotten well. There is a lot of good information on the internet. It’s easy to see who is more interested in selling rather than educating. Here are some reliable sites:

Don’t be confused by all these names: Alternative Medicine, Functional Medicine, Holistic Medicine, Natural Medicine and Integrative Medicine, essentially they are the same. Every so many years a new term is created to make it seem that the new practitioners are better. There are subspecialties like homeopathy and Oriental Medicine (acupuncture). Then from there you get into an endless list of body, movement, and exercise therapies along with herbal, nutritional and psychological approaches.

Don’t think you need to find the perfect therapist doing the perfect therapy. The best approach is multi-disciplined. Start with a good referral. If you like the person, try them. If you don’t like them or their therapy isn’t giving you what you need, try someone else. Use the previous articles to guide your path to being strong. You are your general contractor. Hire your subs to do particular tasks.

Often you will “fix” one problem then become aware of another pending issue. Keep going. Let YOUR experience be the judge. If after a few sessions you don’t see an improvement, find someone else. You are only risking money and time. With alternative therapies, you are very safe. If for some reason you don’t feel safe, don’t do it.

Nothing is a panacea. If someone tells you he will cure everything, you may want to think about not using him. Certain therapies will be very good for particular issues and others. For example, Rolfing is best for issues related to stress, structure, and soft-tissue. Outside of those issues, you should see someone else.

Take One Action

Take charge of your health. Be willing to try something different if what you are doing is not working. Invest in your health, it’s the best investment you can make. Don’t use the excuse that if my insurance doesn’t pay for it, I won’t do it. Know, if you don’t make this investment, you will be the one paying sometime in the future.

Here is a short list of proven therapies that have excellent practitioners here in Sandpoint.  Try one: acupuncture, holistic nutrition, massage, cranial-sacral therapy, Rolfing, biofeedback, mindfulness stress reduction, Pilates, super slow weight training, yoga, homeopathy, naturopathy, PTSD therapy, somatic psychotherapy and men’s groups. I have benefited from all these therapies and have studied a few of them. I consistently recommend clients to these therapies—I want everyone to have a higher level of health.

Owen Marcus, MA, Certified Advanced Rolfer, author of: Power of Rolfing, – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

photo: ladala / Pixabay


To read the previous article, visit our blog:

How Empty Carbs Will Sabotage Your Health

There is a growing list of studies showing that when we remove the empty carbohydrates (grains) from our diets and replace them with organic meats and vegetables, our body’s transform themselves.[1] Good supplements providing the needed micronutrients are a good investment. Don’t waste your money with them if you are still eating the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.).

I continue to see clients who just eliminated bread, cereal, and other grain products from their diets who lost weight while eating more, eliminated their allergies, and other whose chronic gut problems healed themselves. In spite of what we grew up being told, it’s not oil and fat that make us fat—it’s the carbs.

Inflammation is now seen as the cause of many diseases.[2] Carbs are proven to be the cause of inflammation.[3] Carbs become an irritant to the body, much like scratching your skin would be. Over time your tissue becomes inflamed. With constant irritation and inflammation, your body develops an auto-immune response; it starts fighting itself. Rather than rebuilding, your body is in a constant stress situation. You aren’t getting the nutrients you need to rebuild; you are getting the irritants that are injuring your body.

There are many “diets” that people advocate as the best no-carb diet. When you study them, you realize there is very little difference between them. Don’t fret the details. Find one that you like and follow it. Here are a few of the more popular ones: Paleo, Bulletproof, Ketogenic, and Primal. Conceptually they are based on what our genome was designed to eat. 10,000 years ago since we left the cave or genome has only changed .01%. Our bodies changed a lot less than our diets. The caveman was not hanging out at Mc Donald’s.

Meat Is Good

For decades I see clients where their major symptoms can be attributed to the lack of animal protein in their diets. There are clients who I will not work with because they are so protein deficient that I would be wasting their time and money.

Another misnomer is that meat is bad for us. True grass fed cattle and cage free poultry will have less of the contaminants and more of vital nutrients such as Omega 3 oil.[4] For rebuilding tissue, there is no nutrient more important than protein. You can’t build new tissue if you don’t have its building blocks.

In our next article, we’ll discuss the best resources and therapies mentioned in all the articles.

Owen Marcus, MA, Certified Advanced Rolfer, author of: Power of Rolfing, – call if you have questions: 265.8440. 





photo: skeeze / Pixabay


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