Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

A.R.E. you there for me? (Accessible Responsive Engaged)

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

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