What are specific responses in intimate exchanges make for tender loving bonds between adults?
Quoting psychologists, Linda Roberts and Danielle Greenberg of The University of Wisconsin,
"A typology of conflict...but no road maps for positive intimate behavior."
Based on years of watching couples reconnect in therapy that deliberately builds bonds, author and couples specialist, Dr. Sue Johnson offers us her solutions. Dr. Johnson calls the intimate interactions, "Hold Me Tight"
conversations and offers some guidelines towards communication.
- Tune in to and stay with their own softer emotions and hold on to the hope of potential connection with the loved one.
- Regulate their emotions so they can look out at the other person with more openness and curiosity and show willingness to listen to incoming cues. They are not flooded or trying to shut down and stay numb.
- Turn their emotions into clear, specific signals. Messages are not conflicted or garbled. Clear communication flows form a clear inner sense of feared danger and longed-for safety.
- Tolerate fears of others response, enough to stay engaged, and give the other a chance to respond.
- Explicitly state your needs. To do this they have to recognize and accept their attachment needs.
- Hear and accept the needs of the other. Respond to these needs with empathy and honesty.
- React to the others response, even if it is not what is hooped for, in a way that is relatively balanced and, especially if it is what is hoped for with increased trust and positive emotions.
The most intense and attachment focused Hold Me Tight conversations build tangible safety and connection, even in secure happy relationships.
Dr. Sue Johnson ~ Hold Me Tight