Protecting

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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When you need a rest from your inner task manager

By Alison Cook | November 21, 2018

A need isn’t always your personal call to action. My dad wrote this on a sticky note once and pasted it to his bathroom mirror. At the time, I didn’t really understand – I was a young kid. I just knew that my dad – a bastion of encouragement and helpful support – thought enough...

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Overcoming Perfectionism poppy flower

4 tips for overcoming perfectionism

By Alison Cook | November 14, 2018

If you struggle with overcoming perfectionism, please understand:  I know how hard you work to be good. I know that you have the highest standards for yourself. . . that you value excellence. . . and that for the most part you are harder on yourself than you are on anyone else. You are cautious,...

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When your shaming inner critic meets gentleness

By Alison Cook | November 7, 2018

What is the club you beat yourself with? Take a moment and consider your internal dialogue. Do you ever notice thoughts like these: You should be more like her. He’s so successful. If you were better, you’d be where he is. You deserve this bad thing that’s happened. You’ll never be as good as other...

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How to calm your worry

By Alison Cook | October 17, 2018

My, friend, Nicole, could not calm her worry. She worried about everything: she worried that if she didn’t marry, she would grow old alone—and that if she were to marry, her husband would end up cheating on her. She worried that if she stayed in her job, she would burn out—and that if she left...

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4 ways to shift from overthinking to courageous risk-taking

By Alison Cook | October 10, 2018

Are you guilty of overthinking? I’ve had a few nicknames in my day. Most of them felt loving, but in my early twenties one took hold that really stung— “Analison.” Get it? Analyze + Alison = Analison. Ouch! If a friend or loved one is pointing out your tendency to over-analyze, you might want to...

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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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The 5 signs that your desire to please others has become extreme

By Alison Cook | September 26, 2018

The desire to please others isn’t all bad. But when the desire to please becomes extreme, it keeps you from tending to a more vulnerable part of your own soul in need. When you focus always on the needs of others, you risk neglecting your deepest desires. You also may be avoiding your fears and...

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The 7 most common protectors that keep you from connection with others

By Alison Cook | September 12, 2018

You know the feeling. . .You’re at the dinner table with the people you love most, but you’re not really present. Your mind is a million miles away. Maybe you’re mentally scanning your to-do list or replaying the tape of that hard conversation you had with a friend earlier that day. Maybe you’re berating yourself...

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When Pleasing Becomes a Drug

By Alison Cook | February 15, 2018

Pleasing is a drug that can be lethal not only to your friendships but also to yourself and to your relationship with God. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24)....

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