can have a positive effect on codependency. By spending time together in the office of a trained therapist, families can improve their relationships with themselves and each other. Today we’ll cover information about the source of codependent behavior, its effects on the family and ways it can be helped by family counseling.
Family Counseling and Codependency
Sources of Codependency
Codependent behavior is related to dysfunctional family relationships that negatively affect a codependent person’s ability to communicate in a healthy way. Many codependent individuals grew up in homes where their parents were unable or unwilling to meet their emotional needs. In many cases, these parents could have benefited from family counseling themselves.
In some cases, the parents or siblings of a codependent person unwittingly make massive emotional demands on them, until he or she becomes completely focused on them and is negligent of their own needs. As adults, codependent people carry these behaviors with them, often resulting in dysfunctional friendships and romantic relationships. If they have children, these interpersonal problems can affect their development and may cause unhappiness and behavioral problems later.
How Codependent Behavior Affects Families
Codependent people often become totally focused on the needs of others and are essentially addicted to taking care of them. At the same time, someone struggling with codependency may feel guilty for acknowledging their own feelings or problems and expecting or asking for help from others, including loved ones.
Caring about others and acting selflessly aren’t necessarily signs of codependent personality disorder, but they can be when they reach the point of causing serious interpersonal problems. Unfortunately, codependency is sometimes so ingrained in a codependent person’s style of relating to others that working these problems out at home is simply not possible. Fortunately, counseling can help.
How Family Counseling Helps
Because the signs of codependent behavior are mostly visible in someone’s interactions with friends and family, one-one-one counseling may be less effective than family sessions. Codependency is a multi-faceted situation, and involving the whole family can show a therapist the bigger picture. When the family can ask the therapist questions about the disorder and experience the resolution of long-standing relationship problems, understanding can grow between the client and their family.
Over time, a family therapist may be able to help family members develop healthier ways of relating with one another, leading to them growing as independent people. Ultimately, family counseling can be a valuable tool for helping reshape destructive codependency in relationships into healthy, independent ones.
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