Relationships

Church hurt

Church Hurt and 4 Steps for Healing

By Alison Cook | May 20, 2020

Have you ever experienced “church hurt”? As a counselor, I’ve seen the various wounds that people experience from unhealthy leaders while attending church. Here are some examples of church hurt: • A single mom whose church promised to stand by her, then disappeared after she got a divorce from her abusive husband • A kind-hearted...

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Signs of Bad Church Leadership

3 Signs of Bad Church Leadership

By Alison Cook | May 6, 2020

What are the signs of bad church leadership versus church leaders who are healthy? A church is like any family. It’s comprised of wounded people. The presence of wounds does not make or break a church or a family. It’s what we do with them that makes the difference. In healthy families, each member manages...

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effects of toxic parents

The Effects of Toxic Parents and 5 Steps to Healing

By Alison Cook | April 29, 2020

The effects of toxic parents take root in childhood. But, the problems aren’t always identified until well into adulthood. Toxic parents can create situations where a child is overly criticized, devoid of affirmation, explicitly controlled, or put in an unfair role of caring for the adults. You were hardwired to love the people who raised...

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Enmeshed Family

The Enmeshed Family and 6 Signs of Toxic Behavior

By Alison Cook | April 22, 2020

Were you raised in an enmeshed family? Here are some telltale signs. For example, were you taught that it was your job to keep mom or dad happy? Did you feel guilty if you weren’t constantly tuned to a parent’s needs? To this day, do you still feel pressure to do what other family members...

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how-to-forgive-and-move-on-in-a-relationship

How to Forgive and Move On in a Relationship

By Alison Cook | March 4, 2020

Question: People keep telling me that I need to forgive and move on in my relationship. I want to forgive, but does that mean I have to pretend like nothing happened? (Julie W.) Answer: I’m so glad you asked this question. How to forgive and move on in a relationship is often misunderstood. The short...

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Ask Alison: Will Setting Boundaries Make Me Seem Like a B**ch?

By Alison Cook | February 26, 2020

Question: I’m nervous that setting boundaries with other people will make me seem like a b**ch. What do I do? (Samantha W.) Answer: I hear this question often and it reveals a double standard that women face when it comes to setting boundaries. For example, when a man says, “No, thanks. I’m not interested.” His...

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Boundaries Bad Friends

Ask Alison: How do I find new friends when I say “No” to unhealthy friendships?

By Alison Cook | February 19, 2020

Question: I decided to stop spending time with some friends who didn’t reciprocate interest in me and my life. But, now I feel lonely. What should I do? (Irene B.) Answer: I’m so glad you asked this question, because your situation is a common experience for many women who start setting new boundaries. First, I...

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strengthening-your-love

How to Strengthen Your Love

By Alison Cook | February 14, 2020

Love makes the world go around. But, it can also make your world feel like it has come crashing to a halt when things are hard. That is why it’s so important to strengthen your love by working at it each step of the way. Almost every day in my work of counseling, the topic...

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healthy-relationships

The Surprising Key to Healthy Relationships

By Alison Cook | November 2, 2019

I was a deer in the headlights. It was the first time I had met with a couple as a counselor in training, and from my vantage point this conversation had gone off the rails. The couple sat back-to-back in my office with their arms crossed glaring at the walls. “I HATE when you talk...

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asking-for-help

The risk of asking for help and how to do it wisely

By Alison Cook | August 29, 2019

Is there really a risk in asking for help? Recently, I asked a question on Instagram: “Why is it hard for you to ask for help?” I couldn’t believe the number of responses I received, so I copied them into a document and categorized them. Here are some of the main categories that surfaced: Fear...

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how to forgive

How to forgive when no one’s asking for it

By Alison Cook | August 1, 2019

It feels uncomfortable to me when someone says, “Will you forgive me?” In most cases, you pretty much have me at the look in your eye. If you’re big enough to show up to talk about it: we’re good. It’s over. Let’s move on! It’s different for everyone, I know. In fact, Gary Chapman, author...

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parenting styles

3 parenting styles that impact your emotional and spiritual health

By Alison Cook | July 17, 2019

How did your parents nurture you as a child? Were they loving but firm or more firm than loving? Or were they absent, not nurturing you at all? No matter how you respond, the way you were parented has a profound impact on your emotional and spiritual health today. It impacts the way you regard...

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