Hold Me Tight® Portland Couples Workshops for a Lifetime of Love

Hold Me Tight is the work of Dr. Sue Johnson, the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. The curriculum is based on decades of research and proven methods for strengthening relationships.

Hold Me Tight Portland will help you break old destructive patterns and develop a new way of relating to each other that is marked by understanding, empathy and a deeper connection.

Trained EFT Therapists, Laurel Marshall, LMFT and Carla Canfield, LCSW facilitate lively discussions and provide safe spaces to begin having connecting conversations with your partner. You will also be supported by two additional trained EFT Therapist helpers who will be available for the duration of the retreat.

Upcoming Dates:

Due to COVID-19, all 2020 workshops have been cancelled. Please check back for 2021 dates.

“In the two days, I feel like we gained so much insight into each other, our roles, our cycle, how to diffuse, how to claim it and call it, feel it and heal/repair. This was very, very beneficial”

A 2-day, non-residential weekend couples retreat in Portland, OR

Each workshop is designed to help you break free of the old cycles of fighting, retreating, feeling alone and unheard. And give you the tools so you can heal old wounds and find a new feeling of intimacy.

Over the course of this program:

  • You’ll find and nurture a safe place with each other to rekindle that spark, the old feelings of love, and a deep sense of connection.
  • You’ll identify and begin repairing old patterns and attachment wounds.
  • You’ll see how you’re not alone in what you are feeling and experiencing.
  • You’ll experience it for yourself with the guidance of trained EFT therapists.

“Most amazing transformative couples experience I could imagine. Better than 6 months of marriage counseling. We didn’t just resolve a few problems, we have the framework and tools to deal with all future relationship problems”

Strengthen and Deepen Your Relationship

It’s not enough to physically be there in the same space as a couple. Yes, that even goes for “date nights.”

Mere presence and familiarity doesn’t build love and intimacy.

But the subtle experience of safe connection does.

We’ve seen it happen time and time again with our couples. Some even express surprise when they find out they’re not alone in how they were feeling. They just didn’t have the tools to express it and feel truly heard.

As one couple put it:

“I have spent years ignoring or stuffing my feelings. This workshop opened me and my partner to a whole new way of connecting with each other, that actually felt real!”

Small, Intimate, and Supportive

We limit the number of couples to 12 per workshop. That’s so that each participant gets to fully practice the tools and interactions in a safe and supportive atmosphere with trained EFT therapists.

Join us and experience it for yourself, while bringing home the tools to continue these results in your daily life.

Therapists can Earn 14.75 CEU’s

And if you are a Therapist – earn 14.75 CEU’s for attending if you also register for the continuing education units. Register for $50 after you purchase your ticket. Bring your partner and go through the same deeply felt experience to bring the tools and practices of Hold Me Tight to your work with your clients as well as your own relationship.


Workshop Details

“Hold Me Tight®” is a registered trademark to Sue Johnson.

Each workshop is held over two days, and does not include lodging or meals. Includes beverage service and healthy snacks, including coffee and tea.

All orders subject to cancellation fees. See bottom of this page.

1 Ticket Per Couple

* Hold Me Tight® Portland is an educational workshop not meant to replace couples or individual therapy. Participants not in a relationship crisis and free of mood or addictive disorders will benefit most.

If you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of this workshop for your partnership please feel free to contact Laurel Marshall @ 503-298-9219 or Carla Canfield @ 503-446-6228 for a consultation.

Event Schedule

We’ll start at 8:45am and go until 5pm. We will break from 12:30 – 1:45pm for a lunch break and will take short breaks during the day. You will have the evening to enjoy downtown Portland. Nearby restaurants are available for lunch and dinner.

We’ll start at 9 AM and go until 5pm. We will break from 12:30 – 1:45pm for lunch.

Lodging and Food Options

For those who live out of the city, this may be a good opportunity to spend a little time away and enjoy Portland’s food, nightlife, and neighborhoods. Portland has a wealth of options to explore!


Workshops are held at the Historic Overlook House, minutes from downtown Portland or the airport and right near the max stop.

About the Historic Overlook House

The Historic Overlook House is a handsome brick and stucco Tudor residence built in 1927; the house sits on more than an acre of beautifully landscaped grounds with views of the Willamette River and Portland’s West Hills. Inside, the charm of the original woodwork, beveled glass, tile fireplace, plentiful windows and access to a deck overlooking the grounds offer an intimate environment. Mature trees and lovely perennials frame the garden.

The Historic Overlook House is minutes from downtown Portland or the airport and right near the max stop.

Your Facilitators

Laurel Marshall, MA, LMFT

Laurel Marshall is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience and training working with couples using Emotion Focused Therapy since 2010. Laurel has a private practice in Portland, Oregon where she works with couples to identify and heal relationship dynamics that cause them distress, deepen vulnerability, intimacy and foster a secure and sacred connection with each other.

Carla Canfield, MS, LCSW

Carla Canfield is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 10 years experience helping couples find their way back to closeness. She is led by her belief that healing occurs in relationship, and that we all long for loving connection. In her clinical practice, Carla supports couples and individuals to rediscover their human need for deep connection, and to dismantle blocks that get in the way. She is inspired every day by people who take emotional risks in order to create deeper, richer relationships with their loved ones.

Due to COVID-19, all 2020 workshops have been cancelled. Please check back for 2021 dates.

Frequently Asked Questions for Hold Me Tight® Portland Workshops

How long does your workshop last?

We meet on Saturday from 8:45am-5pm. We finish on Sunday from 9am-5pm. We move around a lot during our workshop.

Is this a residential workshop?


Where is the workshop held?

We will be holding our Hold Me Tight workshops at Historic Overlook House, which is located at 3839 N. Melrose Dr., Portland, OR. 97227 and can be found online at www.historicoverlookhouse.org for more information. We have private space to hold our workshops to create a safe atmosphere.

Is parking provided?

There is plenty of street parking next to the Overlook house.  Please be respectful of neighbors by not blocking driveways

Do you provide food/drinks?

We do. Coffee/Tea/Soft Drinks/Water/Munchies are generously provided. We take a generous lunch break on Saturday and Sunday, which allows everyone to partake of the many restaurants near the venue. Mississippi Ave is a 10 minute walk or a short drive and is a Portland hotspot for restaurants and shopping..

Does Hold Me Tight Portland use EFT? What is EFT?

Yes. EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples is a highly researched and empirically validated couple therapy approach. EFT has been shown to be effective with over 70% of the couples who seek it out. EFT combines experiential emotion focused work with family systems. Grounded in Attachment Theory EFT produces change through corrective emotional experiences which unblock vulnerable hidden primary emotion in a safe, measured and progressive manner. Follow-up studies of couples who partake of individual EFT therapy demonstrate couple satisfaction at 3 years post therapy.

What style of workshop does Hold Me Tight Portland conduct?

The heart of the HMTP workshop revolves around 7 experiential private couple breakout sessions. Each session is professionally facilitated by Laurel and Carla, who are highly trained EFT couples therapists. Our HMTP workshop also utilizes, a lively mix of PowerPoint discussion, video demos, and safe group process and discussion. No death by PowerPoint.

Does HMTP use the methods of Dr. Susan Johnson, the primary creator of EFT?

Yes. As highly trained EFT practitioners with thousands of hours in EFT training and clinical practice we largely base our workshops from the original HMT workshop designed by Dr. Johnson. We have made enhancements over the years we have offered the workshop.

What is the satisfaction rate of couples who partake in the workshop?

Self- Evaluations from the couples that have completed our workshops have demonstrated a satisfaction rating of over 85%.

Are workshop participants asked to process confidential matters in a group?

No. But many participants do share poignant lessons they experience during the workshop. Sharing is completely up to the participant.

Will participants be required to do much writing?

No. But many of our participants take generous notes in provided workshop booklet, or in their own notebooks.

Is HMTP appropriate for couples in crisis?

Every couple is different. Every couple crisis presents different challenges. If you feel like you are in crisis, we recommend that you call us and describe your situation. Only with a good assessment of your current challenge will we be able to fully assess the fit of the workshop for you. We may suggest an intensive session before coming to the workshop to better prepare you to gain the maximum benefit the workshop can offer.

Is HMTP appropriate for same sex couples?

We strongly believe so. Many same sex couples have progressed through our workshop. Studies show that causes for negative interactions between partners cross sexual, gender, race, and ethnic lines.

Is HMTP appropriate for couples with an active addiction (behavioral or substance) or domestic violence present in their relationship?

No. Partners that are struggling with an active addiction or domestic violence in their relationship need professional help to create safety before working on creating intimacy.  We would be happy to talk with you about your situation and provide appropriate referrals.

What is the level of training of the facilitators?

Laurel Marshall, MA, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist since 2010 with experience and specific training working with couples using Emotion Focused Therapy. Laurel has a private practice in Portland where she works with hundreds of couples each year to reduce relational distress and increase intimacy.

Carla Canfield, MSSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker since 2011.  She is trained in Emotion Focused Therapy, Gestalt Therapy and AEDP. Carla has a private practice in Portland where she helps both couples and individuals move towards healing, building intimacy and reducing relational distress.

What therapeutic follow-up to the workshop is available?

If couples would like to continue with counseling after the workshop, they have the option of beginning couples therapy with Carla, Laurel (based on room in our practice) or our assistants who are trained EFT therapists.  Attendees will also be giving a therapist referrals list for the greater Portland area.

Can participants pay on installment?

We are sorry to say we are not able to provide installment plans. However, we do accept credit cards through Eventbrite for the purchase of your ticket.

Refund Policy

Cancellations will be subject to the following fees:

$150* Non-Refundable fee on any cancellation.

$250* Non-Refundable fee on any cancellation made between 27 & 14 days before workshop date.

All workshop fees become non-refundable if made 13 days or less before the workshop date.

* Plus Event Processing Fee of $30.92 ($9.95 Event Brite Fee + $20.97 Credit Card Processing Fee).

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