Relationships

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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setting boundaries with friends

Setting Boundaries with Friends

By Alison Cook | April 15, 2020

Question: “Alison, can you give some tips for setting boundaries with friends after a painful experience? My best friend replaced me with someone else she likes better and has started talking behind my back.” (Brandy D.) Answer: Setting boundaries with friends can feel confusing. I empathize with your situation. It’s painful to feel “replaced” by...

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examples healthy boundaries in marriage

Healthy Boundaries in Marriage and How to Tell the Difference

By Alison Cook | April 8, 2020

Question: What are examples of healthy boundaries in marriage? How do I love my spouse, but still express my own voice and needs? (Barbara G.) Examples of healthy boundaries in marriage can be hard to identify. When things are working—whether in your marriage or in someone else’s—it just seems natural. On the other hand, examples...

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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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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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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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