Dependent Personality Disorder Counseling in Littleton, CO—Therapy and Treatment

After his first meeting with employees as the new boss, Buster Bluth climbed under the conference room table and hid. Buster’s first time as boss was also his first day on the job. His dad had been arrested, and his older brothers quit the family business in frustration. After more than three decades of being cared for by his mother, Buster decided to try his hand at running the real estate development ventures. The only problem is that Buster could barely take care of himself—much less a business. Buster is completely dependent upon his mother, and he complies with her every wish, even zipping up her dresses. Buster Bluth provides a lot of laughs on the show Arrested Development, but he also illustrates a disorder that in real life is not funny. Dependent Personality Disorder is a serious illness that often keeps people from living a unique, self-sufficient life.

Dependent Personality Disorder introduces a number of serious personal and professional challenges that can severely handicap an individual’s life. When people have the disorder, they are often overly compliant with their caretaker or authority figures in their lives. They often underestimate their own skills and do not trust their own ability to provide for themselves. They usually have low self-esteem and look to others to meet their financial, emotional, material, and psychological needs. In short, Dependent Personality Disorder can keep people from living a fully independent and self-reliant life, but it has treatments.

“Man’s life is independent.
He is born not for the development of the society alone,
but for the development of his self.”
—B. R. Ambedkar

The mental health professionals at Thriveworks Littleton have worked with many clients who have Dependent Personality Disorder. It is possible for those with the disorder to live a unique and fulfilling life.

Signs of Dependent Personality Disorder

Certain beliefs fuel Dependent Personality Disorder and keep people trapped in caretaking relationships. Two particularly distorted beliefs are two sides of the same coin. First, people with the disorder often tell themselves that they are not capable of caring for themselves. Second, they often tell themselves that other people have to take care of them. These untrue thoughts can lead people into a number of difficulties in their personal and professional lives. People with the disorder are often clingy and experience separation anxiety. They often do not assess their strengths and weaknesses well, underestimating their abilities and overestimating their faults.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines the signs and symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder (301.6[F70.7]) as follows:

  1. A need to be cared for.
  2. Fear of separation.
  3. Submissive behavior.

Further, a minimum of five of the following signs will also be present:

  • Seeking advice and reassurance for most decisions… which color sweater to buy… what to eat for lunch… and more…
  • Challenges forming and maintaining mutual friendships that do not evolve into a caretaking relationship.
  • Having others take over responsibility for significant portions of one’s life, like paying one’s bills.
  • Being acutely afraid of abandonment, particularly by a caregiver.
  • Doing anything and everything to guarantee the continued support and nurture from a caretaker.
  • Minimizing one’s feelings, opinions, and thoughts to please a caregiver.
  • Conforming to a caregiver’s feelings, opinion, and thoughts in exchange for their help and continued support.
  • If one relationship ends that was a caretaking relationship, it is quickly replaced.
  • Feeling uncomfortable with one’s own independence and individuality.

A quick look at the diagnostics for Dependent Personality Disorder shows how destructive the disorder can be in an individual’s life. It introduces severe handicaps into people’s professional and personal lives. Professionally, people with the disorder often have difficulty securing and maintaining a job because of their insecurities and lack of initiative. Personally, people with the disorder often have limited social circles, and they face an increased risk of other mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

Learning Independence

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
—Michel de Montaigne

Independence and self-reliance as the goal of any treatment plan for Dependent Personality Disorder. In order to achieve this goal, mental health professionals have many tools to offer their clients, but they must avoid becoming another authority figure or caregiver upon which the client depends. A few of the options available for treatment include…

  • Psychodynamic therapy is a treatment option that seeks to identify the root causes of the disorder. It explores when and how the dependency started. Clients who need this therapy also need to know that it is a long-term commitment. It may take time, but it often offers holistic healing.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy is a therapy that focuses upon the disordered belief that fuel the dependency. It helps people recognize the negative, false beliefs for what they are so that they can replaced these beliefs with true, positive ones.
  • Medication is often necessary for healing. When a prescription can relief an individual’s symptoms, they can often focus more upon healing and coping strategies that allow them to live independently in the long-term.

Scheduling Therapy at Thriveworks Littleton for Dependent Personality Disorder

Are you ready to meet with a mental health professional? When you call Thriveworks Littleton, a real person will answer you call and help you make an appointment. Weekend and evening sessions are available. We also accept many different forms of insurance. Call Thriveworks Littleton today.

Thriveworks Counseling

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Fantastic practice with great therapist! The office is warm, inviting, and comfortable. I have worked with Jay...Read more

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Thanks for all the great books to check out .

Thanks for all the great books to check out.

Thriveworks Counseling


  • 9200 W. Cross Dr. Suite #225
    Littleton , CO 80123

  • Mon-Fri:7:30AM-9PM

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