Is Family Therapy Good for Dealing With Codependent Relationships?

Family therapy can actually help address issues arising from codependence.

Is Family Therapy a Good Approach for Dealing with Codependent Relationships?

Family therapy can be a good way to open the conversation on codependent relationships. A qualified, professional therapist can offer a thoughtful approach to discussing the family dynamics of codependency. 

A group or family approach is often beneficial when dealing with codependency and addiction because it can offer insight from other members of the family, and include them in plans for appropriate support moving forward. 

It’s often best to start with addiction treatment for the loved one dealing with substance abuse. If finances are a concern, you might search for a free rehab near you to find low-cost and free resources. Here, your family can heal with family education, counseling, and other services.

However, not all codependency stems from addiction. Many codependent relationships form out of issues related to money, emotional control, or sex. Often, one person has more power and control, and the other person feels a need to care for their partner’s needs, often to their own detriment. This dynamic can harm both partners.


What Is Codependency?


Codependency at its core is an unbalanced relationship that involves excessive reliance on a partner. This partner often struggles with mental health issues, addiction, a difficult childhood upbringing, or trauma (all of which negatively impact a person’s shaping, mental-wellbeing, and behaviors). 

Codependent relationships can take on the form of a circle, in which one partner relies heavily on the other for support, while the other partner has a deep need to be needed. This cycle can perpetuate the effects of codependency, making it harder to find a way out.


Role the Family Plays in Codependency




It takes two to play to fulfill the circle of codependency, but there are many circumstances where other members of the household or family play a role as well. 

When one partner relies heavily on the other for emotional support, this can create an imbalance that is noticeable to other members of the household. This is especially true when children are involved. Some studies have even shown that children who grow up witnessing codependent relationships are more likely to end up in one as an adult. 

Codependency can also cause other family members to gravitate toward the partner taking on more of the emotional burden. This might be because the other partner seems unapproachable from an emotional standpoint. This unbalance will eventually take its toll and can lead to unhealthy relationships within the family unit. 


How Family Therapy Can Help Deal with Codependence


Family therapy is a commonly recommended tool for individuals struggling with addiction, codependent relationships, depression, and more. This method of therapy involves the individuals who are around you the most, and are able to offer the most support.

Family therapy can also help the other partner, as well as other members of the family, share their views on certain situations. In codependent relationships, for example, the other partner might have the opportunity to share how this type of behavior has taken a toll on their mental health. 

Simply having a safe space to open up about the effects codependency has had on the relationship and family dynamic can reveal long-held status quos and provide a path to a healthier environment.


Using Family Therapy to Make Changes at Home


Family therapy intentionally involves those closest to you for continued benefits at home. After the initial discussion has happened, family members are then able to offer appropriate support and guidance long afterward. 

It is important to be open and honest with both your therapist and your family to make the most out of family therapy. When you are honest about your struggles, your family can be better equipped to help you through them when issues arise at home. Therapists can help offer suggestions for healthier ways to love and support those in codependent relationships.


Is It Possible to Fix a Codependent Relationship?


It is possible to overcome a codependent relationship situation. Starting with qualified therapy or addiction treatment, a therapist will work to outline possible triggers or other sources of stress that may amplify the problem.

From there, gradual changes can be made as long as both partners are willing to participate in the plan. Sometimes the path to recovery can be a long and winding road, but utilizing appropriate tools like family therapy can get you there. 


Are You in a Codependent Relationship?


If you or a family member is struggling with a codependent relationship, professional help is recommended. There are many therapists who are experts in their field and can offer individualized insight into your specific scenario. 

Accepting help does not mean giving up, it means you’re ready to fight for the life you’ve wanted. You don’t have to embark on this journey alone. Reach out to someone who can help and start healing as a family.

Anna Ohler is a content writer for, an online resource that provides information about free treatment at different levels of care for those overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.