“A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well.” — Bell Hooks, All About Love


Can you think of a time, recently or in the past, when you felt deeply cared for and respected? How did that make you feel then? How does it feel to reflect on this now?


At CCERC (Community Counseling, Education, and Research Center), our work is guided by an idea called the love ethic. We recognize that there is a great deal of discrimination, violence, and oppression that exists in our world. These harms impact us individually, on a community level, and as a wider society. We also believe that healing is possible. And through this healing, we hold hope that achieving justice is possible—even at times when it may seem far away. Choosing to live by a love ethic is one path that brings us closer to healing and closer to justice.


So what do we mean by “love ethic”? The idea comes from the writer and scholar bell hooks. In her book All About Love, bell hooks writes that love is a combination of six ingredients: care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust. When a person, community, or society moves closer toward these six ingredients of love, they are guided by a love ethic.


Care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust. We can think about the many ways we may already be living up to these values. We are also invited to think about the places in our lives where there is room for growth. Committing to a love ethic calls us to look closely at the choices we make, both big and small, as well as the relationships we have with other people. A love ethic invites us to do this self-reflection not from a place of fear or shame, but instead from a place of love.


Every one of us is worthy of being treated with care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust. When we are guided by a love ethic, we hold ourselves to this standard and require it from others. Living by a love ethic welcomes healing and justice into our lives, into our communities, and into our world.


I’d like to express gratitude to Dr. Marc A. Grimmett for incorporating the love ethic into our CCERC model, and for teaching us about its impact through word and example.


The Community Counseling, Education, and Research Center (CCERC) of the NC State Counselor Education Program provides short-term and affordable counseling services to individuals, couples, and families that focus on healthy personal, emotional, social, and career development.


The core values that ground our work at CCERC are: a world-class standard, love ethic, wellness focus, multiculturalism and social justice, trauma-informed care, and research and scholarship.


For more information about CCERC and the counseling services we offer, please visit go.ncsu.edu/ccerc or call us at 919-856-9233 Ext. 107. Our CCERC @ the WELL offices are located on the ground floor of the WELL building.

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