When: October 15-16, 2022; Saturday 9am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm
Where: Smith College Conference Center, 51 College Lane, Northampton, MA
Instructors: Nancy Knudsen, LMFT and Sara Elinoff Acker, MSW, LICSW
Rates: Early Bird Fee until 9/24/22; Full – $695, Early Bird – $625

This program guides partners to become more attuned, trusting, and open with each other and to more easily handle day-to-day stress and conflict. Based on the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Susan Johnson, we will discuss key relationship concepts, watch demonstrative video clips, and do guided conversations designed to strengthen and deepen a couple’s emotional connection. All experiential exercises take place between partners in order to maintain personal privacy and provide safety. Since this is an educational program and is not therapy, an email screening will be done prior to enrollment.

Hold Me Tight® is a registered trademark of Dr. Sue Johnson.

Is this Hold Me Tight® program for you?

  • Would you like a closer relationship to your partner?
  • Do you sometimes get stuck in old repetitive patterns?
  • Would you like to strengthen the bond between you?
  • Repair an old hurt?
  • Deepen your sense of emotional safety and connection?

Open to couples of all backgrounds and persuasions.

All conversations will take place between partners with assistance from our highly qualified roving therapists as needed. In a weekend format, this couples workshop serves as a relationship retreat. Homework will be given on Saturday night, so it is optimal for couples to plan to spend time together without distractions.

Taking place at the scenic Smith College Conference Center, participants will have access to walks around campus during the breaks. Lunch is available for purchase at the Smith College Student Center or in downtown Northampton.

This will be an in-person event. Full vaccinations are required to participate. See Smith College’s COVID-19 Protection Protocol.



Nancy Knudsen, LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Northampton, MA with over 35 years experience in the field. She has used a family systems orientation over the years to work with individuals, couples, and families on a wide range of issues. Over the past 10 years, Nancy’s primary clinical modality has been Emotionally Focused Therapy. She first became a certified EFT therapist in 2011, then a certified EFT Supervisor in 2014, and served two years as the Assistant Director of the New England EFT Community. Nancy has taught a number of workshops on EFT for professionals. Historically, her areas of professional interest have been structural family systems, Bowen family systems theory, trauma, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Nancy has led a number of Hold Me Tight® workshops and enjoys being able to help couples strengthen their relationships in this safe group setting.

photo of white woman smiling with grey curly hair and black shirt with green meadow behind herSara Elinoff Acker, MSW, LICSW is a seasoned couples therapist in private practice in Belchertown, MA. She received her Master’s at the University of Connecticut in 1990. She has over 25 years experience in intimate partner abuse, working with both survivors and perpetrators and leading professional trainings and workshops across the country. Her book, Unclenching Our Fists: Abusive Men on the Journey to Nonviolence, was published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2013. In 2014, Sara shifted her clinical focus to supporting couples in building healthy relationships and completed extensive training in Emotionally Focused Couple’s Therapy. She has worked with dozens of couples  in her private practice and has assisted at Hold Me Tight® workshops. She loves helping couples strengthen their bonds and be able to overcome hurts they’ve sustained through vulnerable, open hearted and honest conversations. Sara has witnessed couples being able to make profound shifts in their connection through the two-day immersion of the Hold Me Tight® experience, and is thrilled to be co-leading the October workshop.

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