"You'll feel so secure and deeply connected. This workshop is a must for all couples!" -T. & J. S.


 Experience Hold Me Tight® Chicago with Joshua Marder, LMFT 

"I felt like I was on vacation!"

When you explore the core challenges of your relationship and you're laughing and smiling at each other along the way, you know you're in the right place.  

When the two of you are able to share your hearts with each other and say, "It feels like I'm on vacation," welcome to Hold Me Tight Chicago!


"The best thing you could do for your marriage!" - D.D.


Hold Me Tight® is a product of over 30 years of research in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, a leader at the forefront of Couples Therapy in our generation. Research has guided the HMT workshop to offer exactly what you and your partner need to be able to explore and enhance your bond. The material facilitates the tools you need to get there, to understand yourselves and each other at the core. 

 "This workshop was very helpful for us to see beyond the surface issues to the deeper, vulnerable parts that lie behind our connection. The workshop helped us deepen our understanding of ourselves, our partner, and our relationship. We look forward to building a closer relationship with the tools you have given us."  

Reserve your spot today

Relationship Tools Acquired at Hold Me Tight Chicago:


Recognizing Demon Dialogues

Couples learn to identify the negative and destructive pattern they are in.  We begin the process of getting to the root of the problem and figuring out what each other is really trying to say.

Finding the Raw Spots

 Each partner learns to look beyond immediate, impulsive reactions to figure out what raw spots are being hit.

Revisiting a Rocky Moment

Couples establish a platform for de-escalating conflict and repairing rifts in the relationship along with building emotional safety.

Hold Me Tight Conversations

This is the  heart of the program.  These conversations move partners into being more accessible, emotionally responsive, and deeply engaged with each other.

Bonding Through Sex and Touch

Couples find how emotional connection creates great sex, and good sex creates deeper emotional connection.

To keep love alive, we must be deliberate and mindful to maintain and build our bond.

Therapists love HMT Chicago!


It's an honor and pleasure to share the beauty and wisdom of Emotionally Focused Therapy (the foundation of the HMT workshop) with mental health professionals. Their accolades are a testimony to the depth and beauty of the content being offered and how everyone can benefit from it both personally and professionally.  

Dr. Danielle Dragon, PsyD

 "Josh's warmth and wealth of knowledge creates a safe space to learn a new language of closeness in a marriage." 

Dr. Jeff Gersten, PsyD, Director of the Gersten Behavioral Center

   "Josh has such a calming style and helps to create a safe space for any couple, whether together for one year or fifty, to deepen their connection and recharge their relationship. I found the workshop stimulating, informative, engaging, and the opportunity to explore my own marriage to be refreshing." 

Jennifer Larson, LCPC, NCC, Gottman Level-3 Couples Therapist

 "Attending the Hold Me Tight® Chicago workshop helped me learn additional ways of understanding both my husband's and my deepest emotional feelings... I walked away with a warm sense in my heart and the foundation to continue to have more Hold Me Tight conversations with my husband.  Joshua brings a warm, inviting presence to his instruction while also sprinkling the day with fun and humorous soundbites... Thank you!" 

Ready to experience the warmth and refreshing experience in your relationship?

Accolades for Dr. Sue Johnson's Hold Me Tight


John Gottman, PhD, bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Relationships Work

 “At last a road map through Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with its creator. Dr. Johnson’s superb science, humor, and clinical wisdom are finally accessible to all of us. I couldn’t pick a smarter, warmer and more real guide for this journey.”

Daniel J Siegel, MD, author of Mindsight, Parenting from the Inside Out & Brainstorm

 “Wonderful… Hold Me Tight blends the best in research findings with practical suggestions from a caring and compassionate clinician. Hold Me Tight will be of great benefit to couples trying to find their way to better communication and deeper, more fulfilling ways of being with each other. Bravo!”

Harville Hendrix, PhD, author of Getting the Love You Want

 “A much-needed message to all couples and therapists, and I recommend it to all.”

Boston Globe

  "There's something appealing about this book's honest, no-holds-barred approach. By creating complete emotional safety and by willing to be fearless about it, it seems to me, not only can real love be kept alive, it can flourish" 

 "Hold Me Tight®" is a registered trademark to Dr. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. 

About Joshua, the Facilitator

Couples Therapist


 As one of the first ICEEFT certified Emotionally Focused Couples Therapists in the midwest, I feel a responsibility to share the beauty of EFT with the greater population.  Besides working exclusively with couples in my private practice, I offer the HMT workshop regularly, serve on the Chicago EFT Board, run the North Shore EFT peer consultation group, and offer regular trainings and supervision for therapists learning EFT.  



My wife and I have been married for over 15 years.  Along with her regular job, she's the mother of our rambunctious bunch.  We strive to work regularly on our relationship, enjoyed a Hold Me Tight workshop together, and I'd love your help in trying to convince her to come run these workshops with me. ;) 

For more information about Josh, click here.

Fun Facts


  In high school I thought I was going to be an Olympic rower.  In college I studied to become a Biblical scholar.  After I got married, I decided to study Couples Therapy.  The latter seemed to stick.  I still want my chance at the Olympics... 

I'll have to be satisfied with bringing more love and connection into the relationships of the world.  Personally, I think that's better than a gold medal. 

Give a day to bond with the one you love.

More Testimonials


 "Excellent workshop! Thank you, Josh! Really appreciate all the content and learning. Opened my heart to sharing with my partner. Thanks, again!!" 


 "Whatever stage you're at in your relationship, you will absolutely benefit from this workshop!" 


 "Josh was very encouraging and comfortable." 


 "The overall structure and format provided a well paced workshop. Loved the humorous videos. Laughter was so helpful for learning the new material and integrating it."


 "It was a great workshop with concrete, applicable tools for relationship intimacy building as well as non-pathologizing ways to understand one's own attachment needs and history. Excellent exercises and video examples were also helpful in learning during the day. Thank you, Josh!" 

"It's always scary going back to your vulnerable spots. This is a very safe and fun way to go back a

Space is limited!

reserve your space

Hold Me Tight® Chicago Couples Workshop Common Questions:


Who is the HMT Couples Workshop for?

 This workshop was created to help couples who would like to incorporate cutting edge research-based understanding and positive change in their relationship. Whether your relationship feels shaky and you want to feel more secure or you guys are doing great and just want to take your bond to the next level, the HMT Couples Workshop will help you get there.

Is there anyone the workshop is not for them?  Yes, if one or both partners are actively having an affair, actively pursuing an addiction (sex, drugs, gambling, etc), or is strongly considering leaving the relationship. Those factors that will prevent the secure bond the HMT workshop kindles for couples.

We are a religious Christian / Jewish / Muslim couple.  WIll the workshop be comfortable for us?  Yes!  And I would be happy to go over any concerns you may have.  A number of religious couples have attended my workshop and practice of all different types of backgrounds and felt comfortable.

I'm a therapist. Is this workshop for me?

 Of course! The HMT Chicago workshop is a great way to dive into the concepts of Emotionally Focused Therapy in a comfortable experiential way. Many therapists come out of the workshop feeling much more equipped with their couples in the practice. Plus you can get 6 CEs! 

Are the 6 CEs included?

 No. You will be sent a link to sign up, and there is an additional charge of 29.95. 

What should I expect at the HMT Couples Workshop?

 Through slides and videos, you will learn about couples' dynamics and how it happens when distance replaces closeness, defensiveness replaces openness, and even loneliness replaces connection. You will learn what it takes to change those dynamics. Through the presentations, videos, and fine-tuned relationship development exercises done privately, you, as a couple, will develop a deeper understanding of yourselves, your personal dynamic, and how to adjust to a dynamic of your choice. You will experience your relationship in a more secure, connected, and comfortable light. That is ultimately what creates a new space for connection, intimacy and trust. 

Is Hold Me Tight® researched? Is it proven to be effective?

 After over 30 years of research proving the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Therapy from which the Hold Me Tight® program is based, three research studies have found relationship satisfaction increased significantly after completing a Hold Me Tight® program. The latest study also showed a significant increase in family functioning. 

Do we end up speaking about our relationship issues in public?

 All the exercises are done privately. There are periodic check-ins throughout the day where people can share about how it's going for them. Sharing is optional and limited after the exercises. No one is expected to share any of their personal challenges or revelations. 

Got more questions? Fantastic! Contact Josh for answers at josh@mardercouplesandfamilytherapy.com.

Experience the beauty of a deep and lasting bond in your relationship.


Registration per Couple


Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

The next Hold Me Tight® Chicago Couples Workshop will be:

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

8707 Skokie Blvd

Skokie, IL

Space is limited.  Register today!

Want to see a schedule of upcoming HMT Chicago workshops?

Click here to see upcoming HMT Chicago dates and to reserve your space