How to Reduce Codependency with Christian Counseling

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by Shane Fookes, MA LPC Intern

What is codependency? It is a person who loses their sense of self by becoming overly dependent on another. The term was first coined in the 1950s through the work of Alcoholics Anonymous to describe the relational engagement of those involved with a person caught up in an addiction. Since then, usage of the word has expanded to cover a wide range of unhealthy relationship patterns. 

Codependency & Your Relationship

Codependency finds its roots in a poor concept of self. It is most evidenced by difficulty in having an opinion and an inability to say no. Codependency can be found in any type of important relationship. Such as parent-child, spouse-spouse, friend-friend, and coworker-boss.

Relationships flourish when each person in the relationship gives and receives from the other. In codependent relationships, the giving and receiving get out-of-balance and the relationship functions mostly with one person as the Giver and the other person as the Receiver. Notably, both persons in the relationship gain benefit from the arrangement. The Receiver’s benefit is more readily apparent: they need to receive from the Giver for their life to “work.” They don’t know how to stand on their own two feet and take care of themselves.

But what about the Giver? How do they benefit? Well, the Giver needs to be needed. Somewhere along the way the Giver learned their very sense of self is tied to meeting another’s needs. This is connected to early relationship patterns. Sadly, many people learn codependent patterns in good Christian homes that emphasize sacrificing one’s self for others. 

Image of an egg with a scared face. Searching for "christian counseling near me"? Are you interested in online Christian counseling? Overcome codependency with Hillsboro Christian counseling in Oregon.
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How Does Hillsboro Christian Counseling Help

Gain Confidence

Hillsboro Christian counseling can help reduce codependency by helping the codependent person gain confidence in their identity as a dearly loved child of God. God’s grace is lavishly given to those who put their trust in Jesus! And this gift of grace is not based on anything a person has done or will do (Ephesians 2:8-9). Receiving this gift of grace can be difficult for those who have defined themselves only as a Giver. 

Jesus serves as a model of perfect humanity as both Giver and Receiver. Jesus clearly was a Giver. He readily taught people and healed many suffering from afflictions. In the end, he gave his very life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). But he was also a Receiver. Does that surprise you? He received affection from his Father in Heaven (Matthew 3:17). He also unashamedly received affection from some of his followers (John 12:1-7). 

Setting Healthy Boundaries

Hillsboro Christian counseling can also reduce codependency by helping a person set appropriate and healthy relational boundaries. Jesus modeled healthy relationship boundaries. He regularly told people no, even his own mother (John 2:1-4) and other family members (Matthew 12:46-50). He did not capitulate when others tried to manipulate him with their demands (John 8:1-11). Of course, just because Jesus was able to set boundaries doesn’t mean it was easy and pain-free. In one of his most honest, poignant moments, he wept openly because he wanted to give himself but chose not to because he wasn’t received for who he was (Matthew 23:37).

Hillsboro Christian counseling can reduce your need to be codependent by modeling a trust-based relationship grounded in grace. In this trusting, grace-filled relationship, you learn who you really are in Christ (Galatians 3:26-29). You also learn from a Christian counselor that Jesus frees you from any form of obligation to others (Galatians 5:1,13-14). You are then able to care for others and help relieve their burdens (Galatians 6:2) without taking responsibility for their burdens (Galatians 6:4-5).

Start Hillsboro Christian Counseling for Codependency

Our Clackamas and Hillsboro-based counselors are excited to work with you, wherever you are in Oregon. Your relationships can thrive again. We can help you get back on track in a way that aligns with your faith and values. When you are ready to start Hillsboro Christian Counseling at Life Discover Counseling Services. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Learn about our therapy team in Hillsboro and our caring counselors in Clackamas
  2. Schedule an appointment with your preferred therapist
  3. Feel more connected to the important people in your life

Other Mental Health Services at Life Discovery Counseling in Oregon

If you are in Clackamas, Happy Valley, Damascus, or Hillsboro, we can help you in person at one of our comfortable therapy clinicsChristian counseling is the cornerstone of our approach to therapy. Not only do we see adults, but children in counseling too. We also work with depression treatmentanxiety therapytrauma therapy and PTSD treatmentrelationship issuesmarriage problems, and postpartum counseling. No matter where you are in the state, we can provide the support you need with online therapy in Oregon. Once you’re ready to start, we’re ready to meet you. Let’s connect!

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About the Author

Shane Fookes is a graduate of Western Seminary’s Counseling program and a Licensed Professional Counseling Intern. He was previously a pastor and is still involved in churches, and writes about marriage and relationship issues, anxiety, depression, and spiritual development.

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