Codependency, sometimes referred to as “relationship addiction," describes sacrificing one’s personal needs to try to meet the needs of others. Although it is often associated with romantic relationships, codependency can be experienced in all types of close relationships, including with family and friendships.  Someone who is codependent has an extreme focus outside themselves. Their thoughts and actions revolve around other people, such as a spouse or relative or they build their identity on helping or “saving” other people. Codependents typically experience feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and insecurity in these relationships and may also experience perfectionism and control issues. Codependent symptoms can worsen if left untreated. If you are worried that you might be codependent, reach out to one of TherapyDen’s codependency experts today!

Meet the specialists

Do you find yourself focused on the needs of others before ensuring your own needs are met? Do you feel over-aware of what others are thinking in order to please them and avoid conflict or rejection? Are you someone who agrees to do things or attend events that you'd really rather not? When you say "no" do you feel guilty? Please visit for more information.

— Whitney Sutherland, Counselor in Cedar Park, TX

Living with addiction, whether your own, a parent, or a loved one, it can be a painful and confusing experience. Often times those around the person suffering with the addiction can wonder if they are crazy and don't know which decisions are best suited to helping themselves or the ones they love. I have worked with clients to help them rediscover their power and ability to advocate for their own well-being amidst the chaos often created by addiction. Give me a call to schedule an appointment.

— Felicia Kampf, Drug & Alcohol Counselor in Reno, NV

Codependency struggles are intimately related to attachment styles and self-esteem. Often a byproduct of family dynamics and childhood experiences, codependency can create crippling effects if left untreated. The client-therapist relationship can change unhealthy attachment styles and poor self-esteem. Through the therapeutic process of modeling and practicing healthier patterns, healing old wounds and creating positive changes becomes possible.

— Alexandra Cimpan, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

We cannot pathologize love. I will help you erase the concept of codependency and rebuild self-advocacy, boundaries, and communication. If fear of rejection is at your core to the point where you avoid or "cling", it can be re-evaluated and reshaped.

— Kayla Lajoie, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Ann Arbor, MI

You may find it difficult to say “no” to others, and find that feelings of guilt and disappointment often arise in your relationships. You may also try to “fix” things and to please others in an effort to feel that you are enough. Through our work together, I can help you to find more helpful ways of relating, increase your self-worth, and rediscover your own needs and desires in life. Strengthen your inner voice!

— Athina Danilo, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Burbank, CA

Living with a person who is addicted to alcohol or drugs is a lonely, terrifying experience. Often, when the person is “high functioning” and manages to have a job, home, family, family members and other loved ones feel crazy…they wonder if it’s really “that bad.” You’ve tried various ways to get them to stop. Maybe you’ve tried to limit access to money, tried hiding the alcohol or stash, deleted phone numbers, called other family members, yelled, threatened to leave.

— Joanne Ketch, in Katy, TX

Do you notice a pattern of helping or healing others in your life to prove your own worth?Perfectionism and codependency go hand-in-hand. What will people think? It’s that constant “should-ing” yourself to be like everyone else. It’s the lying or hiding parts of yourself out of the fear of repulsing other people. Let me help you get out of your own head. Reach out today to get started on fearless living.

— Keesha Parker, Licensed Professional Counselor in Fort Smith, AR

Working with your inner child, address emotional triggers, gain insights into thought patterns and behaviors that are routed in fear. Reclaim your sense of safety, stability and joy, make choices for yourself that are motivated from self care and let go of people pleasing and guilt.

— Anne Rodic, Counselor in Pittsford, NY

Did you know another fancy, psychotherapy word for codependency is "enmeshment?" You're going to kick ass at your next round of Scrabble! If you go to my blog you can read all about it. I am currently not up to paraphrasing. You're probably not reading this anyway. Nice shirt!

— Wendy Curtis, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR

I provide valuable tools you can use to to manage your stress, emotions, and reactions. We will work to feel whole and love yourself without having to depend on others to do that for you. We can talk about relationships that you do have or want to attract in. We will work to productively communicate your needs and wants to others. This will help you develop and improve trusting and balanced relationships.

— Michelle Zampella, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Merrick, NY

When a person grows up having to "look out" in their environment rather than developmentally focusing on developing their true authentic self; issues arise which affect a person's ability to make healthy relationship choices getting "stuck" instead with pleasing other people instead of caring first and foremost for their own inner authentic selves. The applications I bring to my practice with clients may support you in significantly reducing your self love deficit disorder, (codependency).

— Carol Despres, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Greater Freeport, ME

Do you find yourself falling into one or more of these codependent relationship patterns: people pleasing, defining your self-worth by others, ignoring red flags, have poor boundaries, have a hard time saying no and staying in a relationship with someone who is unavailable or abusive? For many people conflict is comfortable, and healthy feels foreign. I will help you recognize the patterns in your life and provide you with the necessary tools to challenge your beliefs and self defeating thoughts

— Amie Celender, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Scottsdale, AZ

Codependency is often set into motion when we are young (think, childhood). PIT is a method where a person can learn to develop a healthy sense of self and begin to enjoy relationships.

— Liz Imparato, Licensed Professional Counselor in Phoenix, AZ

Codependency can be taught at an early age and is characterized as an unhealthy reliance on toxic relationships. The codependent often loses their sense of identity trying to get validation through the approval of others. This can lead to low self esteem and open the door to abuse. I offer freedom from codependency through education on healthy boundary setting and assertive communication skills.

— Daniel Haddad, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Savannah, GA

I identify as a person in long-term recovery from codependency. I write, study, and lead groups and workshops on codependency recovery. I have worked with clients dealing with codependency for over seven years.

— D.J. Burr, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in , WA

Self esteem is essentially how we relate to ourselves and our world. It’s how we value ourselves, it’s a basis for our thoughts and behaviors, our attitudes and relationships. It’s where our self worth resides. We need self esteem to feel effective in managing our lives. Self esteem is self-empowering.

— Anne Rodic, Counselor in Pittsford, NY

If your relationship is not the place you want it to be. You would like to have a loving relationship with your partner and for some reason that not happening. I would like to help you figure out why. A codependent relationship in all of its form and simply a relationship is not working because of many different reasons. Sometimes it would help to have another person in the process to figure out why.

— Ronica Clark, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Tired of trying to help people who won't get help? Want to make changes in your own life but snagged by the needs of those closest to you? You may be suffering from codependency, a habitual way of being what puts you in the back seat of your own life. Because codependency is a habit, not a trait, it can be unlearned with the right tools and the inspiration to use them. You have the right to create your own best life, whether others change or not. Call me today!

— Cheryl Deaner, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco,

I have taught groups and counseling many people on this issue, and regularly utilize Melodie Beattie's resources (among others) in guiding people into a personal understanding of what it is, how it manifests itself in their lives, where it comes from, and how to begin changing it.

— Aaron Potratz, Counselor in Tigard, OR

I work with this as more of an outcome of inadequate parenting, and the issues that arise from that. Codependence is relational, not always related to addiction, and can be overcome with education and practice.

— Patricia Woodward, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Carmichael, CA

Do you ensure others are comfortable while you are uncomfortable? Do you put the needs of others above your own? Do you define your worth in how others respond or perceive you? Then, you are probably codependent. Codependency occurs when you are overly dependent on others (their love, approval, and acknowledgement) while neglecting yourself. We will discuss the self-destructive patterns of codependency, discard them, and create new ways to be undependent.

— Marissa Esquibel, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Claremont, CA

We all depend on other people--especially our partners! And this is a good thing. But sometimes that dependency can start to feel stifling or restrictive. An unhealthy dependency can occur at times in most relationships. Together we can sort out the issues that are of concern for you and your partner and strengthen your relationship by deepening your connection with yourself and each other.

— C.J. Sanders, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Portland, OR

The ability to set & maintain healthy boundaries is important to an individual's self-esteem. It is also crucial when seeking a healthy relationship, whether that relationship is with a spouse/partner, child, or friend. Often, mental health issues such as alcohol abuse, addiction, depression or bipolar disorder can lead to a caretaker or family member struggling to maintain healthy boundaries. In counseling, I can assist individuals & families in being supportive while not enabling.

— Melissa Barton, Licensed Professional Counselor in Katy, TX

I have worked numerous years with individuals interested in breaking free from codependency and interested in setting healthy boundaries with others.

— Luis Otero, Licensed Professional Counselor Associate in Miami Lake, FL

I see this come up with both men and women of all ages. I see it as serving a function, however often it gets in the way of your real goals. I'll work with you to tease apart this tendency and replace it with more adaptive strategies.

— Jenn Kennedy, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Barbara, CA

Often individuals with emotional intensity and depth struggle with their own sense of grounding, either in their current relationships, in childhood with a narcissistic parent, or perhaps both. This can result in the common AA term, "codependency". For codependents, assertiveness can feel like the "enemy" but when learned is the key to long-lasting healing and improved self-esteem, and supports the health and growth of ALL participants in the relationship.

— Lisa Wheeler, Licensed Professional Counselor in Austin, TX

Self esteem is essentially how we relate to ourselves and our world. It’s how we value ourselves, it’s a basis for our thoughts and behaviors, our attitudes and relationships. It’s where our self worth resides. We need self esteem to feel effective in managing our lives. Self esteem is self-empowering.

— Anne Rodic, Counselor in Pittsford, NY

Codependency is the worst! Am I right? When you fall in love with someone you want to feel excited and happy and filled with optimism. You don't want to feel anxious and nervous and obsessed with when you'll see them next or how much they really like you. I want to talk to you if codependent feelings have been haunting you you're whole life. Together we can figure out where they are coming from and why they keep popping up. I've got tons of tools and techniques for coping with your codependent feelings. Our goal will be to leave your codependent experiences in the past so that you can enjoy falling in love and feel a lot more secure in your relationships.

— Jeff Guenther, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR