Therapy in San Francisco

Licensed Psychotherapist

870 Market Street, Suite 1021
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 680-0180

Psychotherapy and Counseling
for Individuals and Couples

Therapy for Co-Dependency

Therapy can provide you the opportunity to make needed changes in your life; often even the smallest change can cause a profound ripple effect in all of your relationships.

  • Do you have a tendency to take care of others before taking care of yourself?
  • Do you try very hard to be liked, even taking on the characteristics and interests of others in order to receive their approval?
  • Do you have difficulty stating what your personal opinions are due to fears that someone else may disagree with you?
  • Do you have overwhelming anxiety or shame when others do disagree with you?
  • Do you have difficulty with personal boundaries, saying "yes" when you really want to say "no"?
  • Do you sacrifice yourself for others and then become resentful?
  • Do you have difficulty communicating your true feelings to others and eventually end up avoiding relationships because they are too difficult?
  • Do you choose partners who are emotionally unavailable or emotionally needy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have co-dependent traits that likely make having relationships difficult for you.

How does a person develop co-dependent behaviors?

Many times these other-focused behaviors were learned from a very young age in your family-of-origin. Maybe you were raised in a family in which your caregivers were not able to be emotionally present? Maybe they had substance abuse issues and/or mental health issues? Maybe you were physically or emotionally abused?

Often children who are raised in this type of environment learn to focus all of their emotional energy on their caregivers. They learn to stay quiet about their own needs, and eventually may not be able to identify what they need.

Many of these children learn to become astutely attuned to the mood and feelings of their caregivers due to fear of anger or rejection. They attempt to predict how the caregiver needs them to respond and these behaviors take away from the development of a healthy self.

When these children become adults, they continue the same role in relationships with their significant other, friends, and colleagues.

The treatment for co-dependency can be a difficult process, yet very rewarding because it is focused solely on you.

Initially it involves exploring your childhood experiences to gain insight into the self-denying behaviors you developed in order to survive in your family. We will then look at how you bring these same maladaptive coping skills into your current relationships. This also involves recognizing and allowing yourself to acknowledge the pain you suffered so you can grieve the losses you endured. This will free you emotionally so you can begin to discover who you truly are.

Treatment also involves learning to recognize your needs, feeling entitled to having needs and opinions, and taking risks to speak up about these. It is about learning to switch your focus from other to self.

I have helped many people with co-dependent behaviors learn to have healthy, balanced relationships. Recovery is possible.

One of the most important, empowering things you can do for yourself is to take control of your situation and reach out for help. Please call me and we can talk to see if you would like to make an appointment and begin to make positive changes in your life. You don't have to suffer alone. Help is available.