Codependency is an unhealthy relational style where you are more focused on the emotional condition of others and you neglect your own needs and boundaries. Codependency can also be considered an addiction to the emotional needs of others.
Codependency Treatment Options
Once you realize that you are codependent, there are several codependency treatment options available:
- Professional counseling
- Group counseling
- Self-guided Programs
Professional counseling involves creating a professional therapeutic relationship with a counselor or therapist who is trained in codependency issues. Often times, these therapists will work off of a structured program, like a work book or clinical treatment program, in order to help you move from your unhealthy relational styles to a more healthy and productive lifestyle.
There are several benefits to professional counseling as a codependency treatment.
First, since codependency is an unhealthy relational style, having a relationship with someone who is healthy will give you a chance to regularly practice a new relational style on a consistent basis. The therapeutic relationship itself becomes one of the biggest factors of change.
Secondly, a professional counselor can more easily recognize patterns and themes that contribute to your codependent mentality and quickly point them out so you don’t continue to reinforce the negative behaviors.
Thirdly, A professional counselor will provide a level of accountability to your progress. They can consistently encourage you to keep trying the the things that are new or uncomfortable, and remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing.
There are two main draw backs to professional counseling as a codependency treatment option.
First, the can be a substantial cost to professional counseling depending if they take insurance or not, if your insurance will cover it, how long they determine your time in counseling should be, etc… The cost is often times one of the best investments you’ll make in your life, but it can be a sizable investment.
Secondly, sometimes it’s hard to find the right counselor. You might live in an area where there aren’t many counseling options or you just don’t know where to find a counselor.
Overall, professional counseling in probably going to be one of your best options to overcoming codependency and should be highly considered.
Codependency groups are similar to professional counseling, in that they are usually led by a professional counselor and they usually follow a structured program. Usually, codependency treatment groups are comprised of 8-10 people who have all been identified as having codependent tendencies that are impacting their daily life.
There are several benefits to codependency treatment groups:
First, it is highly therapeutic to know that you are not the only one who is struggling with the codependency issues you’re struggling with. Empathy, understanding, compassion, and connectedness all come from sitting with other people who are dealing with the same things you’re dealing with.
Secondly, having the structure and direction of a professional counselor, therapist, or facilitator will make sure that you’re getting good information and direction.
Thirdly, group sessions tend to be less expensive that individual session. You’re able to work the program longer, which leads to more of a chance of real and lasting change in your life.
The one difficult part of codependency treatment groups is fear. Fear of exposure. Fear of embarrassment. Fear of shame. Fear of admitting that you have a problem or struggle with codependency issues. It’s normal to want others to think the best of you. That’s what usually keeps you from getting the help you need in the first place.
The third codependency treatment option is a self-guided or personal program. Usually, this is a program that you do out of a book, work book, or online course.
There are several excellent options for self-guided programs, and they really can be helpful in producing real change. There are just a few things you’ll want to consider before choosing a self-guided codependency treatment program.
First, working by yourself means you don’t have as much accountability. When you get discouraged or frustrated you’ll need to be able to provide that extra little burst of determination in order to be able to move on to the next step in the program. Self-discipline is essential.
Second, doing a self-guided program requires you to have a high level of personal awareness. Often times, you’re blind to your own stuff because it is so close to you. It’s the old “can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome. Being able to be honest with yourself and understand yourself is a must.
Thirdly, when you have questions or end up confused as to why you have to do something in the program, you won’t have as many resources to help you find the answer to your specific question. It doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the answer, it just will take a little bit more work.
Overall, the most important aspect to finding a good codependency treatment program is finding the model that works best for you. It doesn’t really matter what it looks like, as long as it is working and producing the best results in the fastest amount of time.
But, be aware… Making significant life changes doesn’t usually happen over night. It probably took you 20 plus years of learning how to become codependent. It’s going to take a little time to see significant changes in your day to day life.
Be patient. Be consistent. Be diligent. And the new, healthy life you’re wanting to have will be start to show up in your day to day life.