Codependency Therapy

Online therapy for codependency in San Francisco and Across California and Illinois.

Codependency Therapy

If you struggle with codependency,
therapy can help.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Define and communicate your limits.

Foster Balanced Relationships

Cultivate True Connection

Nurture Your Personal Power

Empower Yourself to Thrive

Do you feel exhausted in your relationships?

  • Do you have a hard time saying no?
  • Are you very attuned to other people’s feelings?
  • Do you feel responsible for other people’s happiness and behavior?
  • When asked “how are you?” do you typically answer with information about someone else?
  • Are you worried that if you put your own needs first it will make you selfish?

You may feel like you’ve lost yourself in your relationship or that you are the one typically being relied upon while also feeling that others are not there for you.

Maybe you ignore your own needs to accommodate others to the point where you feel resentful or confused as to what your own needs even are.

You may have a hard time tolerating your loved one’s uncomfortable feelings or behaviors and may inadvertently use strategies like people pleasing or nagging to try to help them or the situation.

You may try to anticipate how other will feel so you can plan things perfectly or not share what your thoughts or feelings are to avoid conflict. Over time you may find that this often backfires and leads to further resentment and little change for everyone involved.

If this sounds like you, then you might be struggling with codependency.

Codependency is often discussed in the context of addiction because it describes the dynamic between an addict and a loved one who tries to help them, often enabling them or building up strong resentments. But codependency can occur in any type of relationship – between friends, romantic partners, siblings, parent and child – where one person feels they are solely responsible for another person’s happiness or emotional well-being.

In general, the term is now used to describe a situation where someone has difficulty setting or maintaining healthy boundaries in relationships to such an extreme that their own needs are neglected or the lose their own sense of self. 

While it’s normal and healthy to want closeness, connection, and support in our relationships, codependency distorts our need for relationships into controlling, passive aggressive, or people pleasing behaviors. Hyper-focusing on how other people are doing, feeling, or thinking can leave you feeling drained, scattered, and stressed.

The good news is that, with the help of an experienced therapist, you can learn how to set and maintain healthy boundaries and understand your own needs. This can lead to more fulfilling, satisfying, and enjoyable relationships with less stress and drama.

Most Relationships Have Imbalances

It’s important to remember that independence and dependence ebb and flow in all relationships. There are times when we will be more dependent on others, such as during illness, difficult life transitions, or following a traumatic experience. In these times, it’s natural and healthy to rely on others for support. 

There will also be periods in our lives when we’re able to give more than we receive. A partner may be struggling with a mental health issue while we are in a relatively good place. A friend may have just come out of a toxic relationship, while we are enjoying a stable and supportive partnership. 

When our cup is full, so to speak, we can offer emotional and practical support to others who may be going through a tough time. However, the key is to return to a state of interdependence—a balance of giving and receiving—once difficult circumstances improve.

When there is an imbalance of dependence, either practical or emotional, one person’s self-worth or happiness can become contingent on how another person feels. 

How another person behaves can also feel like a reflection of one’s own character. 

If you’re struggling with codependence, these behaviors can trigger feelings of strong shame, self-doubt or unworthiness to such an extreme that a desperate need to fix, change, or justify the emotions or behavior of another person also arises.

Codependent dynamics can be found in all sorts of relationships, such as with parents and children, spouses, employers and friends. It can be painful, and even embarrassing, to admit that you might be struggling with codependent feelings. After all, we’re taught from a young age to be giving and caring people. So how can being too giving be a bad thing? Don’t good people help others? Sure, but not at the expense of themselves.

The goal is to find a balance in your relationships where you and those you love can be authentic—flaws and all—and still feel loved, supported, and respected. Though this may feel impossible, there is hope. With a willingness to try and an experienced therapist you can cultivate balanced and fulfilling relationships.

How Therapy for Codependency Can Help

Therapy starts with a in-depth assessment of where you are now and where you’ve come from. Some of the things we’ll talk about early on are your family of origin and significant close relationships like partners, friends, and chosen family. You’ll have an opportunity to share your story, and I’ll be asking questions to get a sense of how you interact with others, what your needs are, and how you’ve coped in the past. My goal of our first few sessions is to get to know you really well. From there, we’ll start exploring some of the patterns that may be keeping you stuck in codependency.

In therapy, you will learn how to set boundaries and communicate your needs in a way that is respectful and works for both people in the relationship. You’ll also learn how to identify your own needs and take care of yourself so you’re not relying on others to do it for you. This can help create a more balanced, healthier relationships with less stress and more fulfillment.

Walking confidently forward on a beach

You may struggle greatly with feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear of abandonment, and self-criticism that keep you from setting boundaries or walking away from bad situations. In therapy, you’ll learn to listen to and process these feelings instead of reacting to them or avoiding them. We’ll use our understanding of your past and how it blends with your present to give you the leverage you need to shift into healthier patterns. Codependency is often passed down from generations in a family.  Often, understanding where these patterns come from can help lessen their power over you.

Therapy for codependency is an opportunity to understand yourself better, set healthy boundaries, and create more balanced and fulfilling relationships. 

There may be times when you very much want to focus on what someone else is doing or has done. While I always welcome you to share important events in your life to process their impact on you, this is your therapy and we’ll focus on you. Often this can feel confusing or frustrating, you may not even know how to talk about yourself or what to say; your likes, dislikes, strengths, hopes, and fears might feel overwhelming, selfish, or mysterious. This can be difficult in the beginning, but my role as your therapist is to be with you as you grow this ability and to assure that with time and practice, it becomes easier.

If you’re ready to make a change, I’m here to help.

You deserve therapy that provides a space for healing and growth.

You may be interested in therapy for codependency but have some questions...

I’m worried you’ll tell me I have to break up with my partner or that you’ll judge me for some of the things I’ve done and choices I’ve made.

Therapy is not about giving advice or passing judgment; it is about exploring your thoughts and feelings, and finding ways to change the patterns that are keeping you stuck. As your therapist, my role is as a supportive guide who helps you think through your decisions, feelings, actions, and possible options. I do not tell people what to do in their relationships, nor do I act as a judge telling people what they “can” or “shouldn’t” do or what “is/isn’t codependent.” What’s more important is you having a space to do your own reflecting and come to your own conclusions.

Isn’t all this codependency stuff about being self-reliant and not needing other people and abandoning our responsibilities? Isn’t this part of capitalism and our over emphasis on self-reliance?

Capitalism does place an emphasis on self-reliance, to such an extreme we may not be able to distinguish healthy interdependence from over self-reliance or abandoning our responsibility to our communities. In the work I do, I recognize that different families, cultures, and people define healthy interdependence in many ways. Therapy is a place for you to decide what works for you and your loved ones, what’s sustainable for you, and how you can continue to be a caring and compassionate person while not burning yourself out. Recovering from codependence often means you have more time, resources, and energy to participating meaningfully in community support.

I don’t currently have a romantic relationships or someone in my life that abuses drugs or alcohol, can I still benefit from therapy for codependency?

Absolutely, you can still benefit from therapy. Many people come into therapy wanting to focus on themselves and their relationship to the world, rather than a specific person or situation. This may look like exploring your patterns around relationships, your family of origin, work life, or other areas of your life. Additionally, you may have experienced previous codependent relationships or situations that you want to process and understand better. You don’t need to be currently experiencing a codependent relationship to benefit from therapy.

Are you tired of feeling like you can't say no?

Therapy for codependence can provide you with the tools you need to get your relationships back on track.