Relationships

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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boundaries-with-mom

Boundaries with Mom and Why It Matters

By Alison Cook | July 10, 2019

Does setting boundaries with mom really matter? You may love her dearly, but your relationship can also drive you crazy. Maybe you can relate to the following story. “I love my mom, and I want her to be a part of my kids’ lives,” Nicole told me during our first counseling session. “But I feel...

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healthy-distance

Why healthy distance is so important in relationships

By Alison Cook | July 3, 2019

My mom always used to say, “some people are loved best from a distance.” I never really understood the idea of healthy distance until I started working through my own boundaries issues. As a young adult, I didn’t know how to hold others responsible for their behaviors, nor did I even think it was important....

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lashing out

Losing it with your loved ones? Try these 2 things.

By Alison Cook | March 1, 2019

Are you losing it with your loved ones? Maybe you’re yelling at your kids. . .Or you’re bitter with your spouse, and it’s coming out in sarcastic digs. Sometimes you might just be swearing to high-heaven inside your mind – muttering words under your breath you’d never let anyone hear. When anger festers, it doesn’t...

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you can break free

When you or someone you love is self-destructing

By Alison Cook | February 12, 2019

On a hot summer day, Margaret marched into my office sporting a black, long-sleeve sweatshirt with an image of a giant middle finger on it. I liked her immediately. I’ve learned that the bolder the armor, the more tender the heart. Twenty-two going on forty, Margaret worked two jobs to make ends meet. She wanted...

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Authentic connection

A simple tool for creating authentic connection

By Alison Cook | December 12, 2018

How are you doing? Whenever somebody asks me this question, I tend to get very deer in the headlights. A flurry of words dance through my mind. Typically the first one I land on is Good! followed by panic as my English teacher mom’s voice surfaces. . . .or is it Well? which never sounds...

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Controlling others or confident leadership?

By Alison Cook | October 3, 2018

Would you rather lead by controlling others. . .or by empowering them? The answer to this question is pretty obvious. Controlling others gets a bad rap, and for good reason. Controlling behaviors can lead to manipulation, abuse of power, and boundary violations. On the other hand, we do want to have “self-control” and we also...

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While Dr. Cook is a counselor, the content of this website and any of the products provided by Dr. Cook are not specific counseling advice nor are they a substitute for individual counseling. The content and products provided on this website are for informational purposes only.

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