In July we held the first Hold Me Tight Workshop for Therapists and their partners completely in Italian.

It was a wonderful, moving and enriching experience.

These that we publish are the words of one of our colleagues who participated in the course, Maria Luisa Gargiulo, and whom we thank so much!

“This past weekend my partner and I participated in the “Hold Me Tight®” course organized by EFT Italia and led by Giulia Altera and Andrea Pagani. This edition of the course was specifically reserved for couples in which one of the two was a therapist.

I found it a very useful experience, well-conducted and absolutely enjoyable. Personally, the theme of improving my relationship as a couple is very important and is part of the continuous search for self-improvement that I care about as a human being and that, moreover, I feel committed to pursuing as a mental health professional since I think that the way I “function” is one of the tools that I make available to my patients.

When I heard about the possibility of participating in this course for couples designed specifically for therapists in the community or otherwise pertaining to the EFT world, I immediately thought that my need to find a serious context where I could feel free to explore our functioning as a couple, and my functioning in the couple, together with other couples, under the guidance of professionals who are experts in the field could be fulfilled.

At that same moment, I immediately recognized that I had always harbored this need, and so I welcomed this opportunity as something useful to be able to pursue it. I felt the need to have a protected environment i.e., designed specifically for “colleagues” that could simultaneously be so for their partners as well. For them, being paired with a/one psychotherapist represents at the same time both the advantage of being able to proceed on their journey as a couple with a person who is perhaps professionally competent in the field and, at times, the difficulty of not feeling quite “equal” in understanding certain mechanisms and situations.

During all two days of “Hold Me Tight” I completely forgot about the theory of this therapeutic methodology dedicated to couples. For me this meant that I was able to find the freedom and genuineness that any participant can feel, and that was what I needed!

Throughout I felt equal with my partner, who participated enthusiastically making me feel clear and strong that we were really doing this course together.

Giulia and Andrea were a secure base for the two of us and we did not feel fatigued or burdened at any time during the course even though we were engaged all the time and for many hours doing all parts of the course fully and with concentration including the exercises and conversations.

During all phases of the workshop we felt taken by the hand to follow a path and this was a source of a sense of reassurance that made us feel comfortable. Although it was a group course where each couple needs its own space and time (for exercises, insights, and sharing) our couple’s work time was respected and we, as individuals, were listened to at the appropriate time and when we needed to by Giulia and Andrea (both individually and together). Not being alone as a couple also made this experience more enriching; the presence of another couple was very helpful and meaningful for us.

The online modality that allowed this to take place remotely during this Coronavirus period, objectively did not allow us to feel physical closeness nor share the extra-course moments (we were told that the course was scheduled to take place in a facility with a spa where we could relax and be pampered after the course hours) but on the other hand, it allowed us to value the intimacy derived from the tranquility of being able to isolate ourselves for couple work at the most opportune moments safely in our familiar environment, yet without feeling excluded or abandoned when we needed it.

I took this course to be a better partner and to give our couple useful tools for their lives and well-being. However, I indirectly believe that I also gained professionally.

Thank you!

Maria Luisa Gargiulo