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The Cuckoo Syndrome

The Secret To Breaking Free From Unhealthy Relationships, Toxic Thinking, and Self-Sabotaging Behavior

By Andrea Anderson Polk,

Licensed Professional Counselor

National Licensed Counselor


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The Book

Is there someone in your life who tries to monopolize your time and consume your energy?


Or someone who leaves you feeling confused or misunderstood but you cannot put your finger on exactly how or why?


Is there someone you are unable to have a rational conversation with and things seem very complicated?


Maybe they are more of a taker than a giver or they are never satisfied, no matter how much you try to love, help, and please them?


Are you the one doing all the work in a relationship?

Is stress and underlying anxiety holding you back from obtaining success and happiness?


Do you feel stuck in a cycle of toxic overthinking interfering with your relationships and quality of life?


Is your fear of rejection and failure preventing you from living the life you really want? 



In The Cuckoo Syndrome, Andrea Anderson Polk, a licensed professional counselor, helps us fend off the cuckoos—unhealthy relationships, toxic thinking, and self-sabotaging behavior—in order to find our identity in God and discover new purpose, vision, and meaning in our lives.


We know the cuckoo bird as a colorful wooden figurine that pops out of a clock and chirps the hours of the day to the delight of children and adults alike. In reality, the cuckoo bird is a parasite—invading the nest of other birds, destroying the eggs already present, and fooling the family into raising an ever-demanding, never-satisfied cuckoo chick. 

Polk, a licensed professional counselor, compares cuckoo birds—nature’s infamous imposter—to the human experience, situations, and relationships demonstrating haunting confusion and unnecessary suffering. Cuckoos can invisibly sabotage our most intimate relationships, our ministries, and our careers—our deepest desires.


In The Cuckoo Syndrome, Polk gives us new insight and ways to fend off these cuckoos that invade our “nests” with their devious disguises. Cuckoos can take many forms. There is the cuckoo of avoiding emotion, the fear cuckoo, the stress cuckoo, the unresolved grief cuckoo, the perfectionism cuckoo, the counselor cuckoo, and probably the most insidious cuckoo of all: the religion cuckoo. 


Drawing from a depth of study in scripture, science, and psychology, Polk breaks us free from the cuckoo’s snare by teaching us to embrace the desires of our heart as we uncover the truth of who we are, who others are, and who God is. We can learn to establish great joy in our identity by committing ourselves to discover meaning in suffering and understanding how our pain is the genuine catalyst for purpose

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Published by Forefront Books, Distributed by Simon & Schuster.

Praise For The Book from Voices You Trust!

"Andrea intimately understands the human heart and the heart of God. As a follower of Jesus and with over a decade of clinical experience counseling hurting people, she powerfully integrates scripture, science, and psychology.  Andrea’s words, equally elegant and surprisingly provocative, demonstrates that by facing our deepest heartaches and identifying the lies we believe, that transformation and healing happen. You will be welcomed into an honest conversation with yourself, God, and others about your wants, needs, and desires. You’ll discover that what or who is keeping you stuck, is not what you think it is. The Cuckoo Syndrome is driven by the truth of John 8:32 that the truth will set you free. "

Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church, and New York Times best-selling author 

Why I Wrote the Book


For every person who has ever felt stuck or felt like something is wrong, but you can’t quite put your finger on it…


I hear you.


After treating thousands of men and women in my private practice, I’ve come to discover that the same issues arise repeatedly: shame and self-doubt, anxieties and fears, crippling perfectionism, escaping instead of feeling, ignoring our intuition, downplaying our heart’s desires, painful relationships that lack mutuality, obsessive overthinking, pleasing others and losing oneself, and a deep distinct cry to have a meaningful life.  It all became achingly clear – the apparent cause of our problems is rarely ever the real cause. 

What is holding you back and keeping you stuck is not what you think it is. My clients’ suffering is visible, but the source of their suffering is almost never apparent. Along the way, they’ve allowed someone or something to invade their lives – they cannot see the source of their issues even though it is right in front of them.

That’s what this book is for.

It’s the handbook to guide you into healing, wholeness, and breakthrough so you can be fully alive and not merely suffering through life. This is my owner’s manual to help you become the expert on your own life.


Filled with stories of people just like you who have gotten out of their head and into their behavior, so they experience healthy relationships and live out of their heart’s desires.

This book leads you through asking the difficult questions: “Who am I?” and “What do I want?” With every page, I lead you to discover the answer for yourself as you unlock the truth that already exists within you. 

I’ll share the stories of the gradual uncovering of my hidden treasure, (my God-given purpose), and I’ll help guide you through uncovering your treasure in the midst of the pain you’ve encountered and the suffering you’ve endured. This book is your personal road map to cut straight through the noise of other people’s opinions, limiting religious mindsets, and second-guessing yourself so you can live your life with intention, peace, and purpose.

We tend to put others' needs before our own, as a result, we can neglect our relationship with ourselves.


Perhaps you diminish your wants and needs. The Cuckoo Syndrome gives you permission to put the focus on yourself for once and gives you the courage to face the deepest truths of your life. It challenges you to be present to the season you are currently in and wake up to the life you are meant to live.

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Does something seem wrong, but you can't quite put your finger on it? Do you feel stuck in your life?

Curious to know why? 


“I felt seen and validated. It was if the words on the pages were written just for me. I have taken note of several things that I will be using to stay cuckoo free!”

If You're Wondering...

Who is the Book For?

Since I’ve lived the pages of this book and have emersed myself in psychological research, clinical experience, and theological studies -I have a profound understanding of the human heart. I can speak with humility, yet quite confidently: this book is for you. 

  • If you’ve been struggling to set boundaries, validate your feelings, and use your voice effectively, this book is for you. 

  • If you’re looking for ways to move past a mindset of focusing on what is wrong with you, taking yourself too   seriously, and overthinking everything, this book is for you.

  • If you feel like you’ve been in patterns of pleasing everyone else, saying yes when you really mean no, and      carrying the emotional weight of your relationships without ever feeling like your efforts are reciprocated, this book  is for you.

  • If you want to know practical steps on how to pursue a passionate life without stressing over the pressure to make your entire life and sole identity center around your career, this book is for you. 

  • If you feel like fear, insecurity, and self-doubt are obstacles to establishing a vision for yourself and your future, this book is for you.

  • If you’re wondering how to make room in your life for your needs, wants, and desires without feeling guilty, selfish, or sinful, this book is for you. 

  • If you’re seeking to build a secure foundation for maintaining healthy relationships that are mutually loyal, loving, and giving, this book is for you.

  • If you want to co-create a life with Jesus that is powered by both peace and purpose, this book is for you.

  • If you’re longing for a friend who has been where you are, wants to listen, and encourages you, this book is for you. 

To put it candidly, this book is for the courageous soul who says,
“I’m ready and willing to do the work and go all in to invest in myself.”


If you want to join me on a journey of self-discovery, see what tools I’ve been applying in my own life,
and learn from clients who inspired me, then my book..

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The Cuckoo Syndrome


Order The Book Today!


About The Author




A respected professional counselor, published author and keynote speaker, Andrea Anderson Polk leverages more than a decade of clinical experience, illuminating storytelling, and deep compassion to help people uncover truths, break free of harmful behavior and relationships, and celebrate a newfound freedom. 

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