Couples Testimonials for
Hold Me Tight Workshop
with Michelle & Sam

The Hold me Tight Workshop was unquestionably the single most helpful weekend my wife and I have spent together since getting married!

We both approached the weekend with some trepidation, and after driving more than five hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we were apprehensive that maybe it “wouldn’t” work for us.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While the weekend requires an honesty and willingness to try the new model, the environment and the philosophy behind the Hold Me Tight Workshop was comforting/challenging and spectacularly effective. There was enough support from those around us, and yet enough intimacy for us to feel completely comfortable.

We are now strong converts to the couples therapy and the scientific approach that Sam and Michelle lead, and we both give it the strongest recommendation possible. It would be hard to find a more empathetic, but knowledgeable team than Sam and Michelle. They are superstars in focusing the conversations for each couple. This is an incredible course for people who want a better relationship, pure and simple.

H and M

Los Angeles, California

We had the pleasure of attending the Hold Me Tight Workshop led by Dr. Michelle Gannon and Dr. Sam Jinich. I can say without any doubt that it was of great benefit to our relationship.

The Hold Me Tight Workshop combined teaching us about attachment, demon dialogues/negative patterns and cycles and most importantly, the time for the couples in attendance to have the deep healing/bonding conversations.

ALL couples would benefit greatly from the Hold Me Tight Workshop. For couples that are struggling or stuck, it is CRUCIAL.

The dynamic of human attachment is ancient “technology” which has helped mammals survive for millenia. In developing and sharing Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Dr Sue Johnson has shown us that what has always worked to keep mammal parents close to their babies is the same for romantic couples.

Fortunately for us, Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich make this powerful work available and easily accessible to couples at their Hold Me Tight Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Deep Gratitude for a GREAT weekend.


San Francisco Bay Area

We were co-managing roommates with three children-not lovers or devoted friends even. We were having regular breakdowns so when our therapist recommended we attend the workshop to add momentum to our couples therapy, we decided to come.

There were lots of poignant and funny visual aids and lots of time to really apply what we learned to our personal relationship specifically. We loved the engaging, nurturing, present and devoted attitude of Michelle and Sam plus all of the assisting therapists. I learned that my husband really cares about my biggest issues in our marriage, is deeply sorry and totally committed to making it great again.

I learned that we can bring back touch and physical intimacy and that adults have just as much need for touch and attachment as babies. In reaching out to each other with healthy interdependency, we lay the groundwork to heal the world.

Bless your hearts. This is sacred, fundamental and critical work.


Sebastopol, CA

We attended the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Sam and Michelle because we just read Sue Johnson’s book Hold Me Tight, and thought “Hmm, wouldn’t it be fun to take a Couples Workshop like this together to practice all this stuff?”

Before we participated in the Hold Me Tight Workshop, I did however, from time to time wonder whether there was a better way to connect even deeper through a communication style that would speak straight to the soul of my partner and feel an unearthly heavenly connection with each other?

Well, Sam and Michelle’s Hold Me Tight Workshop is just that- a safe place to allow us explore that connection that we all carry among us, but don’t know quite how to get to!

The way that Michelle and Sam formatted their weekend couples workshop was brilliant! We felt engaged every minute and wanted to take it all in without missing any important second. We also wanted to take both of them home with us just because they were so helpful, knowledgeable and personable. They are true professionals and compassionate and fun human beings!

We highly recommend anyone to attend the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam. Do not wait until your relationship is in trouble. You also owe it to yourself and your loved one to take your relationship to the height of connection that you most likely think is not possible right now!

I sure was proven wrong. Don’t walk, RUN to register for Hold Me Tight Workshop!

Lena & Felipe

Santa Cruz, CA

Thank you Michelle and Sam for your Hold Me Tight Workshop this past weekend. Your knowledge, skill, sincerity and caring clearly come through in how you present EFT and how you work together.

Thank you for being so accessible – in how you responded immediately to my emails and questions prior to the Hold Me Tight Workshop, for holding the workshop in the City on a weekend – at a price that made it accessible to us, and for presenting the material in a way that made the concepts and steps more accessible to us – great video clips and cartoons!

Thank you for being so responsive to our questions and to our needs during the weekend.

Thank you for being so engaged in the material and working with us to put it to use in improving our relationship. Thank you for the way both of you and the other EFT therapists engaged with couples like us throughout the workshop – this assistance was critical to helping us break through our pattern and reach each other in a way we haven’t before and so needed to do. Thank you for creating a safe place in which we could take such risks with each other.

I learned a great deal and have much work to do, but now have a way to move forward together with my spouse – with a theory based in science, a common language and some positive experiences from the workshop (hard as they were) that we can do this! – providing us the needed hope and optimism to continue.

As a man, I appreciate your clarification that emotional intimacy and physical intimacy work both ways and are equally important to being connected.

In addition to ordering Dr Johnson’s new Love Sense book, we are ordering the EFT Workbook for Couples and are committed to keep going and maintain the momentum we gained from your workshop. If we need assistance, we will reach out to an EFT Therapist.

These new moments of engagement with my spouse during the workshop, and the promise of being accessible, responsive and emotionally engaged with each other again – or even better than before is a life changing experience for us. Thank you so much.

Jim & Rose

Alameda, CA

After four years in a relationship, I knew we needed to learn more and go deeper in our understanding of both what was working and what wasn’t. Michelle and Sam’s Hold Me Tight Workshop helped us do that and have conversations with each other that we hadn’t had before. I would wholeheartedly recommend the weekend investment to any couple that wants improve their relationship.


San Francisco

We decided to explore the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam as a pre-marriage growth experience. There wasn’t necessarily anything that needed fixing, but we learned a lot about ourselves and each other, and are much closer as a result of the weekend. We recommend the Hold Me Tight Workshop to any couple, whether things are great or whether you need a tune-up or are at an impasse. Not only were Michelle and Sam terrific, but the group of EFT-trained therapists that joined the weekend provided a lot of value and comfort. It was a very positive experience and a very safe environment. Thank you!

Almost Newlyweds

San Francisco, CA

Lindsay: I never thought of myself as overly independent, but an amazing experience occurred to me during the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam that touched me in a way that I feel an enormous sense of freedom: I became aware of how to foster “healthy interdependence”.

I felt the liberty to ask my husband, Louis for help and express my deepest, most vulnerable emotions. I never knew I was afraid to do this. I became aware of an inner dialogue to myself that glorified independence and the part of me that was terrified, but had the longing to open and share a deeper part of my heart. Sam and Michelle’s Hold Me Tight Workshop held in one weekend inspired this phenomenal transformation.
Louis: I cannot express well enough in words how the seven Hold Me Tight Workshop Conversations and Daily Gratitudes have released such an extreme amount of emotional baggage; I’ve made room for more magical events to occur in my life. This Hold Me Tight Workshop has allowed me to see a side of myself that was not afraid to share and be real, and the magic was in the depth that Michelle and Sam allowed me to go by providing such a secure and supportive environment. At times, I felt as though my wife, Lindsay and I were the only ones in the room.

Lindsay and Louis:

Together we have more fun, more emotional depth and intimacy. We used to say to each other, “I don’t understand.” Now we cannot stop telling each other how much we empathize! Sam and Michelle’s experiential Hold Me Tight Workshop normalizes our need for connection through humor, creativity, compassion and security. We both feel that we transformed in a weekend.

Thank you Michelle & Sam SOOOO much.

Lindsay & Louis

Providence, Rhode Island

On the outside it looked like we had shared 43 years of a great marriage. We have even spent the last 30 years helping engaged couples prepare for marriage.

However, in the second year of marriage, an event happened that I could not forgive because I felt that my husband saying ” I’m sorry” really meant, ” I’m sorry you feel this way.”

Years of psychoanalysis, conventional marriage therapy and two years of weekly couples therapy with an excellent EFT therapist still could not get us beyond our feelings of abandonment and shame.

We had both read the Hold Me Tight book and knew our negative cycle, but neither of us could be the first to let down the walls and to be vulnerable to the other. We were exhausted and stuck and things looked bleak. Our couples therapist encouraged us to fly across the country and attend the Hold Me Tight Workshop in San Francisco with Psychologists, Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich.

We are so grateful that we did.

All of the volunteer EFT Therapists at the workshop were extremely insightful, upbeat and intuitive. We would have been satisfied returning home with a deeper understanding of our negative cycle and how we each contributed to it.

We never expected that Michelle’s walk with us through the Forgiveness Conversation would help us to begin to profoundly heal. Mark became fully aware of the depth of Linda’s pain. He had blocked out Linda’s feelings of abandonment and rejection.
And the “event” is now a memory; it no longer ignites us.

We actually see and feel each other trying to show the love we’ve had in our hearts all these years.

The Hold Me Tight Workshop is for couples of all ages and all stages of a relationship. We encourage all couples to attend now and do not wait as long as we did.

Linda & Mark

Pittsburgh, PA

The Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam was recommended to me by my therapist and I am so glad that I went. It was a truly transformational experience. I have done many workshops so I have experienced this sort of thing before, but this was the first time my partner had ever done something like this, and the first time I had done a couples workshop. As my partner is less comfortable than I with sharing his deepest emotions, it helped so much to have a room full of other couples, all being open and vulnerable with one another. This created such a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment for my partner and me to really share deeply.

Michelle and Sam presented the Hold Me Tight material in such a dynamic and accessible way with lots of videos and movie clips to which we could really relate. It was easy to identify with different characters in the different clips. They also presented very valuable information about the science of love and attachment and the results of various studies that really allowed it to hit home how important human connection is for our survival. They gave us the perfect amount of lecture and explanation, as well as private time for us to go off with our partners to work on the different exercises and conversations. I really wouldn’t have changed a thing with their format. It was so nice to know that there were EFT Therapists there if we needed the support. We were able to work through all of the questions with ease and we really deepened in the process. By the end of just these two days, I saw my partner expressing and reaching out in ways that I have not seen him do before. And since the workshop ended, he’s been greeting me each morning with a message of gratitude which has been so wonderful!

The Hold Me Tight Workshop really did allow him to access a deeper side of himself and in turn taught us how to connect with each other from that deeper, more vulnerable place. I am so thankful that we will now have these tools to carry forward in our relationship. I would highly recommend this workshop to any couple that wishes to deepen their connection and have greater intimacy, regardless of their circumstances.


San Francisco

We attended the San Francisco Hold Me Tight Workshop this past weekend with Michelle & Sam. Our marriage of 35 years had been in peril for the last two years due to many strenuous challenges that we somehow began facing alone rather than together, and our cycle of arguing over anything and everything left us feeling worse with no resolve. The weekend was my last attempt before filing for divorce. Thank God we followed through and participated! From the second we walked into the room, our anxiety of what to expect dissipated. The video clips, break-out sessions, humor, and the workbook were expertly presented by Sam and Michelle. They both made it safe and comfortable to talk honestly and openly (and at the same time privately) about very uncomfortable and hurtful situations. The Inside/Outside voice demonstration in the Raw Spots Conversation was a big eye opener for us, as was the Forgiveness section. Having the extra EFT-trained therapists on hand was comforting and not invasive. We felt supported and respected throughout the whole process. I strongly recommend the Hold Me Tight Workshop. It has had a profound impact on us and we are most grateful to Sam and Michelle for their devotion to truly making the world a more loving place, couple by couple.

K and S

South Lake Tahoe, California

We are an older couple who have been partners for 13 years. We each have had 2 former long term relationships. Although we read Hold Me Tight, we realized we were still stuck in destructive patterns we could not emerge from on our own. We wanted to re-engage in the wonderful relationship we had wished for.

We now have a new journey that is uplifting, lighter, and positive. Aside from the easy flow of the 2 days, the availability of EFT Trained Therapists in the room was key to getting right to the core issues. All we had to do was flag down a therapist, and that therapist immediately began working with us. We each had several “aha” moments that were game changers.

All of a sudden, we were communicating from our hearts with the ease and emotion we began with. We left the Hold Me Tight Workshop knowing how precious and fortunate we are to have one another. Before the weekend, we knew that in our heads. We now know and embrace one another in our hearts.

Take the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam!


Berkeley, California

After 11 years of marriage and 2 kids, we had lost connection as lovers and had become more like working friends. We then had a crisis in our relationship which led to a breakdown in trust and much pain. This eventually led us to a wonderful couples therapist where we were given Sue Johnson’s book, Hold me Tight and began working in the EFT model to rebuild a “new marriage with each other.”

The Hold Me Tight Workshop was a gift that we gave each other for Christmas. By Valentines Day, we were doing much better and wondered if we should just spend the time vacationing and spending time together in California.

We were so incredibly happy that we participated in the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam. It took our work to a deeper level. The presentations made us laugh and cry. The therapists we worked with were all very effective and nurturing and we found the deeper communication and work we did over the weekend to be very connecting and healing. We have talked so many times about how powerful it was to have other couples around us going through the process on a similar deep level. Yet, we felt privacy and did not know others’ stories, but could tell the powerful transformations happening around us.

We wish we could tell couples at all different stages of relationships just how powerful, healing and connecting this workshop and the Hold Me Tight work can be. We feel so grateful we found this Hold Me Tight Workshop and we know our relationship is deeper and stronger because of the work we are doing. Thank you for the most meaningful Valentines day weekend of our lives.

A & A

Oklahoma City

We attended the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Dr Michelle Gannon & Dr Sam Jinich. They really are a great team, well organized and excellent presenters. Michelle and Sam are both very competent, knowledgeable and skilled. Their presentation is seamless, full of compassion and humor. The clips from movies and other entertainment genres really helped make the points very clear.

We are seniors and therapists ourselves with our own struggles within our relationship. We found the Hold Me Tight Workshop to be very beneficial, personally and professionally. We laughed, cried, learned and enjoyed the entire weekend. We were able to have our own healing conversations. Sometimes we needed the help of the EFT Therapists as we held our conversations. Sam and Michelle and their team of assisting therapists were very approachable and accessible.

Couples of all ages, ethnicities and sexual orientations, dating, engaged, married and unmarried attended. All of our conversations were private with each other and not shared with the group.

We strongly recommend that all couples attend one of their Hold Me Tight Workshops. You will find it enlightening and healing!!!

Jim & Ann

Southern California

Thank you for a great weekend at Hold Me Tight Workshop. This Couples Workshop with Michelle and Sam was the perfect environment for us to work on issues we have been dealing with for years. The workbook exercises, conversations, tools and insights were key.

We had been distancing ourselves from each other over the last nine years and while couples counseling helped a little, we really didn’t have the tools to regain a meaningful connection. Your Hold Me Tight Workshop was a godsend and really did help.

We are so grateful for the insight and examples that you provided to help us better understand the material in the “Hold Me Tight” book by Sue Johnson. The Hold Me Tight Workshop Workbook exercises were hard, but David and I were both able to have meaningful Forgiveness and Hold Me Tight conversations that really broke a logjam for us.

At the end of the workshop, David was overcome with the realization that he had never really acknowledged his stroke and that bit of insight, though painful to go through, was very cathartic for him. He shared deep emotions with me. Imagine all the grief that he had bottled up the past 9 years. We both appreciate everyone’s help with these conversations.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us start on the road to a happier journey.

Carol & David


As a newly dating couple, we looked on the Internet to find a Couples Retreat like yours because we deeply want to form a secure relationship. We feel that your Hold Me Tight Workshop provided us the tools to ensure a beautiful future of harmony & security that we both have been yearning for but could not really create on our own. We are Truly Thankful!

Ernie and Rickie

San Francisco

The Hold Me Tight Workshop, as gracefully facilitated by Sam and Michelle really touched us in the deepest way. It’s as though we did a graduate level study on US. After 30 years of marriage,we wanted to celebrate and dive deeper into relationship. Like many people, our earlier role models weren’t the best, but they provided a clear picture of what works. We had found our way by trial and a lot of error (:-), but this workshop gave us the particulars of building and maintaining loving bonds. Sam and Michelle created a warm and safe environment for all the diverse couples that attended. Thank you for a wonderful weekend. We learned a ton and feel more equipped to turn toward each other…and deepen our bond.

Jane and Kevin

Cape Cod

Hold Me Tight Workshop showed me a new side to my husband of 25 years. For so long, I was pursuing him and saying- Let me in! In response, he would withdraw and be even less emotionally available. In this San Francisco Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam, my husband who thought it was distasteful to show needs and even admit that he has needs…was able to look in my eyes with tears in his eyes and tell me he loves me and will be there for me. For the first time, we have hope for our relationship again.

Laura and Gary


We feel like we have a pretty good marriage and on our 15th anniversary, we decided we would take a Couples Workshop every year as our Anniversary Gift to each other to help insure that our relationship keeps getting better.

The Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam was really helpful. It allowed us to see patterns of communication that interrupt our ability to be in touch with our love for each other, and ways to get back on track when those old patterns rear their ugly heads.

We left the Hold Me Tight Workshop feeling so very connected to each other. We are armed with some new tools to maintain that level of deep connection. Dr Michelle Gannon & Dr Gannon are warm and accessible, and they do a great job of presenting the material in a way that is entertaining and thoroughly engaging.

We highly recommend the Hold Me Tight Workshop to any couple wishing to enrich their relationship.

Kate & Peter

Redwood City

Being a gay couple, I was a bit reluctant to attend thinking that we would be the only LGBT couple at the workshop. However, my partner encouraged me to attend and I am very glad we did. My experience was completely opposite. Not only were other LGBT couples in attendance, but it was apparent to me that Michelle and Sam designed the workshop to be very inclusive.

A good deal of the presentation materials pictured LGBT couples dealing with the same issues as straight couples. I also appreciated that even in a group setting, I was completely able to focus just on my partner and I, and how we deal with the challenges of coupledom. We also found the supporting therapists very helpful and their assistance enabled us to reach deeper communication.

I wholeheartedly recommend the “Hold Me Tight Workshop” to other LGBT couples who yearn for deeper love and communication in their relationship. This workshop is totally inclusive and supportive of our community!

Joe & Jim


I did not want to waste a valuable weekend off when I could be re-energizing for the upcoming workweek. I did not want to do a couple’s therapy retreat. Boy, did I change my mind.

The Hold Me Tight Workshop was amazing! Michelle and Sam were amazing! I cannot say enough about our experiences. As a same sex couple being vulnerable in a setting of many diverse couples is hard to comprehend, but it worked. I felt safe, I felt myself open up immediately.

There was an intimacy between us and the leaders and therapists that I thought not possible. I cried,

I laughed and I opened my heart to a new way of relating to my wife.

We have already put into action several of the things we learned. I can’t thank you enough!

L & S

Salinas, CA

I am so glad I attended the San Francisco Hold Me Tight Workshop led by Michelle Gannon, PhD and Sam Jinich, PhD with my husband, We had been feeling disconnected and out of touch, and this workshop helped re-establish our connection and provided invaluable tools to ensure we stay connected into the future. Michelle and Sam are amazing facilitators and I also appreciated their support and expertise as we navigated the steps of emotionally-focused therapy. This workshop itself has so much to offer, since not only are Sam and Michelle available, but lots of great volunteer therapists, available if you want, but no pressure to work with them. We loved all the videos, some emotional, some funny, all informative, as well as all the anecdotes shared by Michelle and Sam. I have translated much of what I learned into my other family and work relationships. My husband was completely unfamiliar with therapy and had no idea what to expect, so he attended really to support me, not because he thought he would get a lot out of it. I was thrilled that he not only participated actively during learning sessions, but brought his 100% authentic self to our couples work, and was one of the first “reluctant partners” to share in the full group how useful he found the workshop at the end of the two days. So I truly can’t say enough and highly recommend this workshop for all couples, at whatever stage in your relationship you might be!



The Hold Me Tight Workshop for Couples led by Michelle Gannon, PhD & Sam Jinich, PhD is a fantastic experience. My wife and I attended with the simple hope of spending a weekend becoming closer and more connected. We found not only that, but a wide range of tools, language and understanding that continue to help us today. The workshop is both experiential and cognitive and the support from Sam and Michelle and their team of EFT Therapists is grounding and heartfelt. I can’t recommend it highly enough to other couples.


SF Bay Area

The Hold Me Tight Workshop is exactly what my girlfriend and I had been looking for without knowing it. We read the book, Hold Me Tight and and the thing that stood out the most for us was having the ability to talk about very difficult topics without being caught up in historical details, negative cycles or as the book calls them, demon dialogues.

Since the workshop we have had a number of difficult emotional conversations that have gone vastly different than our past attempts. They have all ended in greater emotional safety for each of us, giving way to increased courage to have deeper conversations about the emotional injuries from the past.

For me personally the Hold Me Tight Workshop has given me a greater sense of my “real” emotions rather than the reactionary ones that I have always displayed. This saves lots and lots of apologies and heartaches.

I truly believe that our time in your workshop gave my beloved and I the thing we had almost lost….. hope. Now we have hope, faith and excitement about our relationship and our future!

Robert J.

San Jose, CA

My husband I have been married for 35 years but still felt the need to communicate to one another in a way that we felt we were being understood and heard. We navigated deep waters with the help of our workshop leaders and therapists while feeling safe and secure. A high point was when they distributed HEART Cards that we could take home and give to one another on a regular basis to express our love and caring. Thank you!


Los Gatos

Being in a relatively new relationship we were a little unsure of attending a “couples workshop.” We did not consider ourselves having big issues or problems. However, someone I trust told me the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam was more about new ways of communicating with each other. So we took a leap and were absolutely blown away with the workshop. Over the weekend we investigated our communication with one another and how we fall into patterns due to our own insecurities. We learned how to get out of these patterns and begin talking to each other about our insecurities which has helped us gain a closer and deeper relationship with each other.

For us, this Hold Me Tight Workshop transcended our 2 year relationship and helped us investigate relationships with friends and family as well.


Mill Valley

My husband and I had been stuck in excruciatingly painful no man’s land of blame, retreat and living worse than only roommates, each afraid to continue, because the thought of just making it worse, kept us stuck for over 10 years. I reached out to my pastor to see whether there was anything he recommended to trigger change and despite resistance to the bitter end, we made it to the Hold Me Tight Workshop led by Michelle Gannon and Sam Jinich, PhD.

Michelle and Sam’s presentation, with the help of the EFT Volunteer Therapists there, created an atmosphere of compassion and safety, based on their own vulnerabilities shared, to allow us, as participants, to dig deeply into our own selves, to blamelessly and very openly confront very difficult history and emotions.

For the individual exercises and conversations, I didn’t even see anyone else in the room, other than my husband and the EFT Therapist assisting us.

Presentations by Michelle and Sam were funny, thought provoking and very helpful, ranging from videos, images and skits, to illustrate how quickly we react from our defenses instead of allowing our vulnerabilities and our “inner voice” to be heard. Lifelong deep wounds were exposed and cradled and cared for in love and safety. My husband and I haven’t talked, let alone talked openly, about our emotions that are behind those wounds ever! We both realized how many raw spots we have, and how much of the success of having a conversation about our emotions behind the reactions, depends on the safety we provide for each other. That’s HUGE!

The two things that really stood out for me were that empathy requires us to stand next to the person hurting and reach down into ourselves to “re- experience” their feelings with them, without trying to make it better or offer solutions (very hard for a direct fixer like me), and that the extent of our willingness to be vulnerable determines the extent we can feel any emotions, good or bad. Fully embracing vulnerabilities is scary and counter intuitive, but the only pathway to finding intimacy and love. Every human being is worthy of and deserves to love and be loved wholeheartedly.

My husband actually thanked me that I didn’t give up on getting us to the Hold Me Tight Workshop. Regardless of whether our marriage will continue or not, this workshop was extremely valuable for me, and I am planning on giving it as a wedding present to each of my children.

I was encouraged that my husband also saw the value, and I think gained some new insight into his part of the puzzle.

Thank you so much to Michelle and Sam and all the people there who helped us. The weekend has been a game changer! The love and compassion of all of the staff there was clearly felt and deeply appreciated.



The Hold Me Tight Workshop led by Michelle Gannon, PhD & Sam Jinich, PhD really helped us to feel closer and understand each other more on so many levels.
We really liked that we had a structured and guided workbook to help us to understand each other more. Figuring out what our “raw spots” are or triggers made a lot of sense. Knowing what each other’s raw spots are helps us to be more aware of how we talk to each other. It was very validating to watch video clips, see examples and hear that other couples argue over similar things and in similar ways.
We especially love the HEART Cards created by Michelle and Sam and we have been using them a lot since the weekend. The HEART Cards are a great way to express feelings and needs without pointing blame. I feel much closer to my partner after this workshop and feel that I understand him and his triggers and his needs in a much deeper way.


San Jose

I first met Dr. Michelle Gannon when my husband and I took Hold Me Tight Workshop with her and Dr. Sam Jinich about 2 years ago. The Hold Me Tight Workshop with them was nothing short of amazing. I can honestly say that I don’t think we would be together right now if it hadn’t have been for that weekend. Beyond the efficacy of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Dr Sue Johnson’s work, Michelle and Sam had an easiness about them, an approachability and emotional supportiveness that made leaning in and doing the hard work less scary. There was a seemingly strong support system in place and they were not going to let us fall. The results have been lasting as well. We just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary and we both wrote in our cards that things are better than ever.

Then I learned that Michelle Gannon was also leading Rising Strong Workshop based on the research of Brené Brown with her colleague, Beth Jaeger-Skigen. Details at

Prior to attending Rising Strong Workshop with Michelle and Beth, I had read several of Brené Brown’s books. Her viral Ted Talks lured me in. There is such a crossover between Sue Johnson’s and Brené Brown’s work. I found it fascinating and was looking for something more. I didn’t want to just read about it, I wanted to “work on it”! Serendipitously, I logged on to Facebook one evening and saw that Michelle & Beth were leading Rising Strong Workshop based on the research of Brené Brown in San Francisco! I researched it and immediately signed up at the first opportunity. Here was this work that fascinated me, being held in my favorite city, being led by an incredible woman who had already helped me make lasting change in my relationships. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that it was going to be good. The weekend exceeded my expectations. The group of women that attended were some of the most fascinating, kindest, nonjudgmental, authentic, strong, supportive and emotionally articulate people that I had ever spent time with. The space that Michelle and Beth created facilitated a sense of safety where true vulnerabilities could be shared and raw connections for growth could be fostered. I had so many “aha” moments and shared so many insightful conversations, even outside of the seminar, I can already feel the trajectory of my course shifting in my daily life now that I am home. I really believe that there is no greater gift that we can give to ourselves and the people that we love than the ability to learn how to be truly, vulnerably, authentically wholehearted. Our life is not going to be perfect and it will most definitely not be easy, but when you can learn how to pick yourself up from the trials and failures and Rise Strong, you will have lived a life that is beautifully admirable.


Los Angeles

The Five Day Hold Me Tight Workshop at Esalen, Big Sur led by Michelle and Sam was excellent. I thought the presentation style of media clips mixed with speaking and opportunities to share was wonderful. It is obvious that a lot of thought and practice has gone into this workshop. Over the week, I learned that I have needs and emotional needs. I thought that my partner was the “needy one” and I was “low maintenance”. I learned this is B.S. I also have needs. I need my partner to understand me. I need her support. I need her to accept me and accept all of my faults (real or perceived). Thank you Michelle and Sam for a wonderful week!


Seattle, WA

Dr Michelle Gannon & Dr Sam Jinich are extraordinary teachers who bring gifts of compassion and insight, in equal parts, to the participants of this amazing Hold Me Tight Workshop. We learned how to “take the elevator down” to the ground floor of our emotions, and how to recognize when we must be vulnerable which is a difficult yet vitally important lesson for any couple wanting to keep their relationship healthy. Thank you!!!

Andrea K.

Kansas City, MO

When we decided to take the Hold Me Tight Workshop at Esalen, Big Sur led by Michelle Gannon, PhD and Sam Jinich, PhD, neither of us felt our relationship was bad- we just wanted to make a good relationship better. We had never seen a therapist before or been to any workshops.

My wife really did not want to attend a Couples Workshop so I told her we could just enjoy Esalen and not go to the workshop if we did not feel comfortable or helped after the first day.

We are both so very grateful to learn tools, techniques, and have names for our emotional reactions. I realized that for probably my whole life I’ve been consciously turning off my emotions that I didn’t feel served me. If I was upset about something I would rationalize that I shouldn’t be that sensitive and usually I wouldn’t bring it up unless I reached a boiling point and would explode over something and then apologize for my tantrum and let it all happen again.

Now for the first time, both of us are talking about our ‘raw spots’. It feels so good to have empathy for my partner and for us to share our feelings with the love and understanding we both have needed this so much. We now have developed a safe place for one another to share our feelings without defensiveness, blame or shame, and prior to the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam, we weren’t 100% safe with each other, therefore we also weren’t vulnerable with each other so our communications about our own feelings were an unknown weakness.

We are now both committed to everything we learned at the Hold Me Tight Workshop and both of us feel our future is brighter than ever.

I want everyone I know to learn these tools and conversations because I see how empowering being safe and vulnerable is. On the drive home, I started thinking about who in my life do I also emotionally shut down with that deserves my vulnerability? I thought of my mom. I called her and told her some of what I learned and my feelings of rejection from her because I’m no longer a practicing Mormon which led to me withdrawing from her and I could see now what I was doing all these years and she wasn’t getting my natural good self, but my defensive guarded self and this was now going to change. She accepted my feelings and saw why I would feel this way and now we can see our cycle as the enemy not each other.

I can’t thank you both enough for this knowledge and experiences you shared with us. This is a powerful model and with practice, we are both determined to become gurus of each other’s emotions and heal our raw spots with time.

Benjamin & Maureen

Carson City, Nevada

The Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam is for all couples regardless of the length of time you’ve been together or the issues we all have. We learned how to share our vulnerability with our partners – expressing those deep fears & needs safely for each of us to feel heard & connected. We loved that you two were organized and worked as a balanced team- you have a special relationship that is open, authentic and approachable. Your interactions with each other modeled so much for us. Your choice of videos and openness to share input from your participants was genuine and helpful. Your mixture of interpersonal discussions, written reflections, and your multiple modes of delivery of information spoke to us in many ways that were meaningful. You both paid keen attention to the group needs and the balance of play and work helped to lighten the bumps. You gave us so much.

What a powerful workshop for us as it spoke to something we related to and believe we will follow through with ~ because it makes sense to us. We are so grateful to have been a part of the group experience that has left us hopeful and empowered. Thank you for using your gifts so selflessly. Our week with both of you at Esalen Hold Me Tight Workshop had profound effects.

Nancy & Scott

La Quinta, CA

We have been married for almost 33 years and never have we done such deep work as we have at the “Hold Me Tight Workshop” with Dr Michelle Gannon & Dr Sam Jinich in San Francisco Bay Area. We traveled across the country (from Massachusetts) after recommendation from friends about how this workshop positively affected their marriage. We both feel it was so worth the trip!

The “journey within” we both encountered was very eye-opening. We learned new things about ourselves and about each other. Michelle and Sam are a great team, and the group of support personnel they had to assist us was skilled and professional. We have added some great “tools” to our toolbox! We would highly recommend the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam for any couple, young or old, who is committed to going deeper and being more vulnerable with each other!

Karen and Justin

Orleans, Massachusetts

We already have a good marriage and what we both considered a good connection. However, in the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam, we gained a deeper understanding of what emotional connection really entails and how to do it on a daily basis. It was so helpful to realize our own opposite tendencies when trying to connect. I pursue and he withdraws…and this leads to neither one of us feeling as close as we need sometimes. The private practice sessions you gave us made it feel safe to discuss very personal issues. I loved that you offered couples the chance to have some assistance with a therapist if they felt the need. You gave us lots of practical and helpful tools to take the learning and apply it at home. I think our favorite tool was the HEART Cards, and we will definitely will be using them. Thank you Michelle and Sam. You gave us the opportunity to affirm our love and take it to the next level – from Good to Great!

Sue & Jim

Dallas, Texas

My wife and I were invited by family to go with them to the Hold Me Tight Workshop led by Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich in San Francisco. We both agreed and blindly signed up for the workshop not knowing in advance what kind of experience it would be. We knew that we were there first and foremost to support family and we figured we could learn something to improve our 28-year marriage. From the very start, we both could tell the Hold Me Tight Workshop was going to be extremely enriching for our marriage. We were (and are) particularly grateful to Dr. Michelle Gannon for her perceptiveness and professionalism. During one of the more difficult conversations in the workshop, Dr. Gannon saw that we were struggling mightily. Dr. Gannon came over and very delicately helped us work through the issue together — a difficult conversation that had gone nowhere for years in our marriage. Thank you Dr. Gannon for reaching out to us when we needed it most! A big thanks also to Dr. Sam Jinich for making the Hold Me Tight concepts easy to understand and apply.
At the end of the workshop, we were asked “what we got” from the workshop. The only thing I could say (tearfully) was that I “got” my bride back. Thank you so much for helping us to renew our relationship over the weekend. It was an extraordinary workshop to strengthen our relationship.

Bob & Sandra

Los Angeles

We were not sure what to expect from our “Hold Me Tight Workshop”, but had heard good things about Michelle and Sam and the “Hold Me Tight” program. It was great to get away to San Francisco Bay Area and focus just on the two of us and learn new ways to refresh, invigorate and mend our marriage. The workshop was very well executed. Michelle and Sam found innovative, creative ways to teach us about the negative cycles we inevitably encounter and even more importantly, how to move forward by acknowledging feelings and learning how to truly listen. We have tools to avoid the difficult times and more tools to navigate when we find ourselves stuck. We also appreciated having other private time with therapists throughout the workshop. Thank you for shining a light on what is good about our relationship and giving us hope for the future. We appreciated your wisdom and commitment to the process. It was a great weekend!

Julie & Jeff

Portland, Oregon

We cannot recommend the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam enough for all couples no matter what state your relationship may be in.
It should be known that I was extremely reticent to participate, especially given that I am conflict avoidant. After encouragement from my partner and truly realizing that our relationship needs some guidance, I reluctantly attended.
I was so pleasantly surprised throughout the weekend. I expected it to be working to resolve conflict after conflict, but as it turns out for me, it was a journey of acceptance and finding the loving, achievable determination to better my relationship.
Michelle and Sam are wonderful, wise facilitators, extremely knowledgeable and caring. They conduct the weekend with the right balance of research and examples with keen insight into the humorous side of the human condition. It all comes together so naturally and productively.
If you are seeking to reignite your connection, need to work through injuries or simply keep your secure connection trending upward and are seeking tools to help you live a better, more loving life together, this is a safe and sensible seminar that can truly help you transform!
Thank you Michelle & Sam!

Tom & Martin

Marin, California

Thank you Michelle and Sam for your commitment to Emotionally Focused Therapy and the Hold Me Tight work. My husband and I were reviewing – how was it that we were able to get so vulnerable and teachable so quickly and in a way that we have not been able to in the past. It occurred to us it was the way the conversations were presented in a safe, encouraging, warm and humorous atmosphere. My husband initially questioned why he had to learn about attachment theory, but he soon realized that the attachment theory was a necessary “build up “to the difficult work we embarked on this weekend. So, long story short, we really appreciated the flow of the weekend and the breakthroughs we got as a result.

All of the therapists who assisted us this weekend were so kind and non-judgmental, and along with the entire Hold Me Tight Workshop experience, we were both able to heal and forgive each other. I know we will both be forever grateful for the experience we had this weekend. Thank you!

C & J

SF Bay Area

We really benefited from the Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam. It provided us with tools that will really help us deal with the difficulties of being a couple.

As a same-sex couple, we had some concerns about a “mixed-group” but felt perfectly welcome and safe. The structure was helpful and respectful. Thank You!”

Nancy and Cathy

San Francisco Bay Area

The Hold Me Tight Workshop was transformative. Even though my husband and I have read the book, “Hold Me Tight”, and have been in couples therapy, the Hold Me Tight Workshop made the principles come to life. We didn’t re-hash history. We were able to do the exercises in a positive way, moving forwards and closer to each other. It gave us hope that the principles work when we can slow down and turn to each other. The humor, the vignettes, the video clips, the scientific data all added to help quiet the little voice in us that says “yes but….”

Both Michelle and Sam were kind, real, approachable and made an otherwise awkward situation feel comfortable, warm and welcoming. As if that wasn’t enough to help us, they selected a host of other warm and caring therapists who were constantly with us; Walking over in an unassuming and respectful way, gently steering us back to our partner.

Though our conflicts etc. are not solved or resolved, we realized it is possible to be together in a loving and connected way.

My husband and I really saw each other by the end of the workshop and knowing that it IS possible, makes us keep trying.

Thank you!

Uma and Jason

San Francisco, California

For the first time in our 3 year relationship and the first time in my life (47 years old), I feel hopeful that I can have a happy, securely bonded, healthy and fulfilling relationship. This is a BIG Deal.

We got so much out of the Hold Me Tight Workshop in San Francisco with Michelle and Sam. We just started working with an EFT therapist and this workshop helped to lay out a framework to work within and a strong foundation on which to start our work. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!


San Diego, California

I am married to a therapist who uses Emotionally Focused Therapy in her practice so I had some familiarity with it when I began reading the book “Hold Me Tight” to prepare for the workshop. The book spoke to me, but as the workshop approached, I began feeling somewhat out of my territory. I felt anxious for a week before the workshop and especially driving to San Francisco on the day of the workshop.

On arrival, we met other couples, the facilitators, and a few of the therapist-helpers who were there to provide support and guidance, and we started on time—a piece of structure that calmed me a little. What helped even more was “getting” the concept of the Negative Cycle, the dance in which my wife and I followed well-rehearsed arguing and blaming behaviors and found ourselves communicating with a third entity, our negative cycle, instead of one another.

One of the most important things I learned at this workshop was how to recognize that I was not having a discussion with my wife, but was caught in a well-worn script in which I was not listening to what she said or sensing how she felt, but waiting for her to stop talking so I could go on blaming or criticizing. For me, catching myself in the “cycle” helped me to slow down; once I slowed down, I started to listen to her and to my feelings, which led me to lower intensity and greater empathy.

Another thing important to me in this workshop was the sense of safety I felt from working among other couples who were also working on their relationship at the same time and place. I didn’t feel so vulnerable or in the spotlight because others, too, appeared to be experiencing deep and difficult feelings. And I very much appreciated the expertise of the facilitators, Dr. Sam Jinich and Dr. Michelle Gannon and their pacing, which allowed for thoughtful questions and discussion after each segment of the workshop.

It has been about four weeks since we went to the workshop and I continue to feel confident that even though we still get into our negative cycle at times and we can not prevent it from ever happening again, I have learned in this workshop that it is possible to find a compassionate way to mend and re-connect after injuries to the relationship. I would not hesitate to recommend this Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle & Sam to others who are interested in growing their connection with one another.

Bill and Lindy

San Mateo, California

We recently attended the “Hold Me Tight Workshop” facilitated by Michelle and Sam in San Francisco. We have been married for 40 years and decided to give this workshop to ourselves as an anniversary present.

We recently retired and had time to move from our working relationship to something deeper. We were stuck in some old patterns and wanted to have a fresh approach. We certainly got all that and WAY more! We each had some AH HA moments and appreciated the new more loving and less threatening shared language.

The workshop built in a logical, organized way giving us new relationship skills at every step. The workbook that we used separately and together, the examples from other couples, the enlightening video clips, and the personalized 1:1 time was invaluable.

To us, this was a great jump start to a deeper more emotionally connected relationship.

A few days before the workshop, I found that I needed to have surgery which would be five days after the “Hold Me Tight Workshop” ended. I thought that “opening up a potential can of worms” so soon before the surgery might be MORE stressful, but after a phone conversation with Michelle, we decided to proceed. It was a very safe place to work on things and we are much more emotionally connected than we have been in years. This feels like the best decision we could have made at this time.

We would recommend this to any couple at any stage of their relationship!

Mary and Peter

Woodside, California

Being married to a psychologist and having been together for 15 years, we “process” subject matters on a regular basis. In fact, there are times that I have to politely respond to my partner that we have processed the subject matter enough and need to move forward. Having said that… I was reluctant to give up an entire weekend to spend inside in a couple’s workshop. Picture a cat going to a vet for his/her yearly visit, seeing the carrier and having the human guardian trying to force him/her into it is a fairly accurate representation of how I was feeling on the car ride over to the event on day one of Hold Me Tight Workshop!

However, at the onset of the workshop, Dr. Michelle Gannon and Dr. Sam Jinich provided a loving environment to the point that I felt comfortable being vulnerable and being completely open and honest with myself and my partner. I could feel the resentment walls that I had built around me coming down brick-by-brick within a short period of time.

I learned that many of my confrontations with my partner, albeit had merit, had a common underlying trait — abandonment and loneliness occurring from childhood trauma. Wow. Two very powerful emotions. Also, I learned that my partner’s emotions during conflict were triggered by events that occurred also in his childhood. For the first time ever, he told me that he felt I would not love him when there was conflict. Well, that just broke my heart and I felt like my brain synopses were being rewired and rerouted. Rest assured, we both will be handling conflict in a completely different manner going forward because of the “Hold Me Tight Workshop.”

I can’t impress upon anyone who is questioning whether or not they are willing to give-up a weekend and make an emotional and monetary sacrifice… that you will be astonished with the positive and long-term takeaways so sign up and take a risk!

Daniel and Greg

San Francisco, California

We have been married for 14 years and have been together for a total of 23 years. While we have always felt we had a “happy” relationship, we realized that we were at a point where our relationship needed a “tune-up”. Having a child and busy work schedules can get in the way of being close with your partner, and for us, that was certainly the case. We knew we loved each other, but we didn’t always feel it from one another.

The “Hold Me Tight Workshop” was truly a wonderful experience for us. We know a weekend isn’t going to change things completely, but we have the tools and language to work with one another when we feel disconnected. With the guidance of Michelle, Sam and the team of psychologists present, we were reminded of our deep love for each other, and we felt safe to practice new ways of talking to get to the heart of things. A few concepts that have really stuck with us are: Inside/Outside hugs, taking the elevator down a few floors, and truly listening to your partner and allow them the space to express how they feel without being defensive.

Thank you Michelle and Sam for your warmth and care. We look forward to coming back again, because it feels so good to regain that loving connection with each other! Thank you both, once again!

Erika and Scott

San Francisco, California

Thank you so much Michelle & Sam for bringing to us all your professional expertise and help. We learned so much. When our present and past emotional/attachment injuries are triggered, it is extremely challenging for us to make sense of the emotional storms that follow because they defy logic. Your Hold Me Tight Workshop provided the structure, guidance and personal assistance needed to reach out to my partner during such a storm and create an emotionally safe place from which to start healing those injuries. This is allowing us to grow the love in our relationship and create a healthy and crucial relationship attachment security. We thank you very much.


Windsor, California

The Hold Me Tight Weekend Workshop was a rewarding experience for us individually and as a couple.

The workbook, material layout and pacing were expertly facilitated to cover the seven conversations. The materials and examples were inclusive of all types of relationships including gay couples like us. The environment was supportive and welcoming, and the material applied to us as a gay couple. We are both very grateful for the EFT Therapists who helped us talk through the hard conversations.

Thanks to the Hold Me Tight Workshop, we were able to identify our conflict styles and develop skills that bring us closer together. The seven conversations were easy to learn and apply. The Workshop gave us a common language, the opportunity to overcome the hurdles in our relationship, and has brought us closer together.

Thank you Sam, Michelle and Team!

Scott & Jeffrey

San Francisco

Hold Me Tight Workshop was 100% as good as I expected it would be. It really is the best of the best. Although the Hold Me Tight Workshop is challenging in some ways, the facilitators,Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich were completely respectful of our individual process. It was safe and the conversations remained private and not “out in the open” in front of the other couples.

I would recommend this workshop to anyone looking for help with their relationship.


Santa Barbara County

My wife and I had been married nine years when we participated in the Hold Me Tight Workshop. Although we had been in couples counseling for several years and had made some progress in improving our relationship, I had grown increasingly dissatisfied. While we were not on the threshold of separating, I did not anticipate how anything could change our relationship. We both blamed the other for not living up to what we had intended the relationship to be.

While I was grateful that my wife agreed to come to the workshop with me, I remained skeptical about any major contributions we would get.

At the very start of the workshop, Michelle and Sam made me feel comfortable and validated. The content and flow of the workshop quickly began to meet our relationship where it was and gave us access to reconciling our past and creating a new relationship with the partner I always wanted.

While we continue to have work to do as a couple I am experiencing a wonderful renaissance in our relationship. There were so many valuable points, insights and touching experiences during the workshop it would be impossible to recount them.

I think that one of the most important statements I heard was that no matter where you are in your relationship, no matter how bad it may have become, that state and that experience does not have to stop you from getting the full benefits and outcomes possible from participating in the workshop. To me that was a very bold statement and it turned out to be true for my wife and myself. Also, many others in the room seemed much closer after the workshop as well.

Thank you.



When I was told I was going to go to this workshop, I wasn’t too happy. But then I heard it was in San Francisco, so it gave me a boost. So, when I got there, I came with my little tool box of all the things I’ve learned and all the books I’ve read. And it is always good to do a review. BUT this was far from what I thought it would be. When they showed the clips about the baby monkey, I was very moved. I learned so much that I was really surprised. And the thing I was doing wrong all my life, was not knowing how to say “I’m sorry”. I belong to a men’s group and if we use any word that sounds like psychobabble, you’ll see eye-balls roll! But I was so surprised, and took a chance and told them how I learned how to say “I’m sorry”. It was well received. So your Hold Me Tight Workshop has reached out to more people than you think (macho men). Thank you very much Michelle & Sam! And I now have a lighter toolbox to carry around.


Santa Monica, California

I loved the Hold Me Tight Workshop weekend! It was experiential, informative and very creatively presented. There were carefully selected movie clips and cartoons… I noticed they focused a lot of time on the “dance” couples get into … and then, concentrated their time on how to really REPAIR the emotional wounds. Most couples don’t really know how to give genuine apologies to each other. Apologies where you really take responsibility for what you did to contribute to the hurt. I love the fact that I’m the source of the pain and the source of the healing! Well said! Great job. I will be back!


Santa Monica, California

We loved attending the Hold Me Tight Workshop. Even though we have already done couples counseling with an EFT therapist, we still got a ton out of the workshop weekend.

Dr Jinich and Dr Gannon are extremely warm, enthusiastic and knowledgeable (and they have a good sense of humor!). The way they present the material makes the process so clear and applicable. We really loved seeing all the examples (stories, videos of real couples, movie clips, etc) of how couples get into sticky places with each other. It made us feel less alone in our areas of conflict. The workbook provides a step by step process that we were able to practice over the weekend, with the support of professionals there to help as we needed them. We can continue to refer to and use the workbook as a guide in the future. At the end of the weekend we felt revitalized, closer to each other, and excited to keep working on our connection and love for each other.


San Francisco, California

My husband and I attended the San Francisco “Hold Me Tight Workshop”. My husband who is in the high tech industry felt comfortable and engaged and I appreciated his accompanying me so that we could grow closer. We have been married for thirty years and yet we still gained so much by participating. As a psychologist myself I was struck by the effectiveness of the leaders, Dr Michelle Gannon and Dr Sam Jinich and the other therapists that assisted them. These people were very warm, knowledgeable, and very committed so that the participants were able to go through the steps and experience at a surprisingly deep level the ideas being presented. We both enjoyed reading the complimentary “Hold Me Tight” book they mailed us. It provided a scientific basis of the concepts and a way to acknowledge the importance of feeling connected while heeding the land mines that are all too common in relationships. Just today my husband reminded me about “Inside Outside” which was a lovely take away from the workshop.

Thanks again for the wonderful experience.

Dee and Mark

San Francisco, California

I have been taking workshops at Esalen for 30 years and my partner has been taking them for 40 years. Honestly, we have taken every possible Couples Workshop here at Esalen and your Hold Me Tight Workshop is by far the BEST! This workshop is truly HEART-based and CONNECTION-focused. We hope you come back to Esalen and lead a five-day workshop in addition to a weekend one. Thank You!

Cynthia & Daniel

Monterey, CA

Esalen has always been on our Bucket List. For my 70th birthday, we decided to celebrate with a Hold Me Tight Workshop at Esalen. Sam and Michelle are excellent leaders! Good balance of lecture/discussions, video clips and break out times. Also, having time to enjoy the Esalen experience (outside of the workshop) was important. Overall, our relationship is in good shape, but there are areas for improvement. We both LOVED the Hold Me Tight Workshop and Esalen Institute, Big Sur.

After the workshop was over, we stayed another night in Pacific Grove to extend our weekend and on Monday, my 70th birthday, we stopped at the Santa Cruz boardwalk on the way home.

On Monday morning, I got the idea of riding the big roller coaster there as I had always been afraid of it and have never done it before.

We took the risk and considered it our “trust fall”. All went well and I survived our ride! Thank you all for an excellent workshop and great 70th birthday weekend.”

Kate and John

San Francisco

We had a profound and beautiful experience at Esalen Hold Me Tight Workshop and words can not express our gratitude. We have been able to bring the tools home with us as well.

We were in a rock-bottom place recently and our hope is restored and we are giddy around each other as if we just met all over again. Thank you so much! We know that marriage and long term relationships takes work, of course, and so we are excited to begin a new chapter with a new therapist who is EFT Certified in our area.

We will never forget you and all the lessons you taught us, your inspiration, and your help and support as we renewed our 10 year wedding vows rather spontaneously with all of you as our witnesses!

You have all changed and shaped and touched our lives. We hope to work with you again at Esalen, but for longer next time.

Thanks for making a difference in the lives of couples and all of the other lives that they come into contact with and for pouring your hearts into your work! With gratitude.

Katherine & Alan

Austin, TX

As a lesbian couple, moving into our 8th year together, we attended the Hold Me Tight Workshop at Esalen Institute, Big Sur on the recommendation of a dear friend and mentor.

We’re so glad we went! In a nutshell, the Hold Me Tight Workshop helped us uncover that we both keep churning around feeling unsafe and insecure because for each of us to take the *true risk* of leaping forward towards each other and towards safety is something frankly that each of us has never really done in a relationship before. Finding that edge was priceless. Our conundrum of my not really committing to stay in the relationship because I don’t feel met in my depth and intensity doesn’t meet her need for safety knowing that I will be here for her (ie not leave). So around and around we go… in the land of insecurities and not feeling safe with each other; what Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Hold Me Tight (HMT) are all about.

Now, we have to each negotiate taking the risk and deeply relying on each other to be there, even though our hearts both long and ache quickening at the suggestion.

Having the flexibility to work on our own throughout the Hold Me Tight Workshop with guidance in structured steps AND the other therapists’ availability to work with us when we got stuck during the workshop was a tremendous support. It provided us tools to use outside of the workshop and additional insights during the weekend.

Additionally, the retreat setting at Esalen Institute, Big Sur is also worth mentioning… Esalen is the perfect place to explore love and nurturance for yourself and your partner. Esalen is magnificent!

Michelle and Sam provided very skilled, compassionate leadership throughout our few days together… You can really tell they have a heart and passion for this work and that transmits to the couples and the work we came to do.

Thank you for the transformation and hope that love is alive again!

CC & Penny


We have been married 22 years and were in crisis. Despite three years of intense couples therapy, our physical intimacy had ended and we lived simply as roommates and caretakers of our children.

A close friend recommended the Hold Me Tight Workshop and we signed up. I must say, I was hopeful, but skeptical. After reading the book, Hold Me Tight, we both felt that the “Seven Conversations” might help many of our marital difficulties.

The Hold Me Tight Workshop itself is structured with some discussion, emotionally engaging and humorous videos, the science behind the research and one-on-one discussions.

Being given the emotional “cues” from the videos encouraged us to tap into our deeper feelings and hurt. Even with other couples all around us, we were able to be deeply engaged with one another and work through the different conversations.

I was especially nervous around Conversation 5: Forgiving Injuries as we have many unresolved hurts that have kept us apart. With the help of Sam and the other volunteer therapists, we were able to actually go through the entire process of forgiveness and heal some of our deepest wounds. Working on ways to connect through eye contact and touch gave us the opportunity to explore physical intimacy in a way we haven’t experienced in years. Finishing with gratitude and how to keep the love alive exercises allowed us to leave the workshop on a positive note.

We now have a framework for working through our past hurts and current disagreements and rebuilding our foundation of love. Instead of feeling defeated by issues we can’t resolve on our own, we’ve decided to “stick a pin in it” and bring it to a future workshop with Sam and Michelle. While challenging and difficult at times, the Hold Me Tight Workshop was incredibly beneficial. We both feel hopeful for the first time in years!


East Bay, CA

The Hold Me Tight Workshop weekend was a huge success for us! To be able to share on a feeling level the things that have been the hardest for us to discuss was truly a gift.

Michelle and Sam did an amazing job of drawing a map to guide us into those dark places, and making it all feel OK.

I think what was most powerful for me was that we were softened and opened up in a safe, non-threatening way that was also very entertaining and informative. It made exploring the difficult, easy. Thank you both!


Dublin, CA

The Hold Me Tight Workshop with Michelle and Sam was incredible!

We had taken Marriage Prep 101 before so we were excited to have another opportunity to reconnect with one another at a Couples Workshop, and the Hold Me Tight Workshop was the perfect opportunity.

We were impressed with the content, the flow and the overall delivery throughout the weekend with Michelle and Sam.

We were laughing, sometimes crying, but most often, we were listening and communicating in better ways. It was a great time to bring everything into focus, to appreciate our unique qualities and be grateful for each other.

The 2-day weekend format is just right with excellent attention to detail and guidance provided through each conversation. We highly recommend you attend the Hold Me Tight Workshop to invest in your relationship – Find out what it means to be A.R.E. + T. !

Anne & Shivraj

San Francisco

My fiancé and I attended the Hold Me Tight Workshop a few months before our wedding and found it to be a great experience which benefitted our relationship.

We learned about how to cut through negative patterns of communication and better understand each others needs.

We ended the weekend with a renewed feeling of appreciation for each other and the confidence of having a new tool kit to use during tough times.

We are thankful we gave our relationship the gift of attending the workshop and encourage other couples to do the same.


San Francisco

We couldn’t be happier with our experience at Hold Me Tight Workshop.

We are just a few months from our wedding date and in wedding planning crunch time. Before going to the Hold Me Tight Workshop we were desperate for some time together without any outside commitments getting in the way. We went into the weekend not knowing what to expect and we even considered backing out to spend the time just the two of us. We are so happy we made the choice to attend!

Hold Me Tight Workshop is like a combination of a Psych 101 course and Challenge Day specifically tailored to your relationship. The group setting reminded us that we weren’t alone and the one on one exercises shared between the two of us created the intimacy we needed to really open up to each other and understand and even nurture each other’s points of view.

We plan to give ourselves the gift of Hold Me Tight Workshop for our one-year wedding anniversary next summer! Thank you for an amazing weekend.


San Francisco

I am a clinical psychologist in private practice for over 20-years. I consider myself an expert in couples therapy and I have many years of post-doctoral training in couples work. I am also in a relationship and we have our own difficulties.

I take my husband to various different workshops for both personal and professional reasons. THIS WORKSHOP, with SAM and MICHELLE, is OVER THE TOP fantastic, amazing, magical. I think having Sam and Michelle is KEY though. They are simply so gifted and give so much in their workshops.

I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. I send all of my colleagues, friends, and clients.


Pasadena, California