66450493762f2220671669 - Dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder

Psychotherapy for dependent personality disorder


People who have dependent personality disorder (DPD) struggle with a strong need for security in their relationships, which, on the other hand, they are never entirely sure of. This blog post is about how clarification-orientated psychotherapy helps to overcome dependent personality disorder and what practical strategies exist to strengthen autonomy and independence. Let’s dive into the therapy world and discover the possibilities for positive change and healing.

Basics of dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder is characterised by an excessive need for secure attachment and attention from others, which leads to a lack of autonomy and independence to avoid conflict. Those affected cling strongly to others, lose contact with their needs in the long term and, over time, find it difficult to make independent decisions.

Key symptoms and diagnostic criteria:

  • Constant fear of loss: Subordination of one’s needs to those of others and disproportionate compliance for fear of not being able to care for oneself alone.
  • Passivity: A tendency to rely on others for everyday decisions and activities.
  • Difficulties in expressing opinions: Problems expressing personal opinions and making independent decisions.

Psychodynamics of dependent personality disorder

The psychodynamic processes of dependent personality disorder are deeply rooted in the relationships and inner conflicts of those affected.

  • Reliable relationships and solidarity: People with an addictive personality disorder strive for reliable and supportive relationships. They are constantly looking for security and support from others, as they feel helpless and at the mercy of others. This search for attachment results from the deep conviction that they cannot cope independently.
  • Fear of abandonment and clinging: A central feature of this disorder is a pronounced fear of abandonment. This fear drives those affected to cling excessively to others and rely entirely on their support. As a result, they suppress their needs and desires in favour of the relationship and deny themselves. They avoid making their own decisions or expressing opinions for fear that this could lead to rejection or loss of the relationship.
  • Self-denial: To maintain the relationship and minimise the fear of abandonment, those affected tend to deny their wishes and needs. They adapt to the expectations and needs of their attachment figures, often at the expense of their well-being and self-esteem. This self-denial reinforces the feeling of dependency and helplessness and leads to a vicious circle in which their own identity and autonomy are increasingly suppressed.

The role of clarification-orientated psychotherapy

Clarification-orientated psychotherapy is an effective treatment method for people with an addictive personality disorder. This form of therapy aims to strengthen the independence and autonomy of those affected and to help them build healthy interpersonal relationships.

  • Explanation of clarification-orientated psychotherapy: In clarification-orientated psychotherapy, the therapist works with the patient to understand underlying needs and motivations. Through open and supportive dialogue, unconscious conflicts are uncovered and dealt with to facilitate long-term changes in thinking and behaviour.

Needs, schemes and games

  • Needs: All people have central needs concerning important relationship aspects. The central relationship motive in dependent personality disorder is reliability. Another essential relationship motive is solidarity.
  • Schemas: Schemas are deeply rooted thought patterns and beliefs that develop from needs in early experiences and shape how those affected perceive themselves and their relationships. The basic beliefs of dependent personality disorder belong to one group of self-centred beliefs and another of relationship-centred beliefs. The self-centred beliefs focus on: “I am worthless, helpless and need others to survive.” The basic belief about relationships is: “Relationships are not reliable and lack solidarity.” Through therapy, these needs and schemata must be made conscious and modified.
  • Games: Certain recurring patterns of behaviour that occur in interpersonal interactions and are intended to achieve goals based on needs and basic beliefs. In the case of dependent personality disorder, for example, games can involve those affected unconsciously manipulating others to obtain confirmation and support. That includes the instruction to “submit to your partner” and the associated behaviours. These games are also analysed and replaced with healthier interaction patterns in therapy.

Prospects of success and long-term effects

Studies have shown that clarification-orientated psychotherapy can achieve long-term success with addictive personality disorder. By working through patterns of dependency and strengthening self-esteem, those affected experience positive changes in their lives.

Coping strategies for those affected

People with a dependent personality disorder must learn to strengthen their independence and build healthier relationships through targeted coping strategies. These strategies bring about long-term changes in everyday life.

Development of independence and self-confidence:

  • Encourage self-reflection and self-awareness: Regularly reflecting on your thoughts and feelings can help you to recognise and break patterns.
  • Practising taking personal responsibility and making decisions: Consciously making small decisions yourself to strengthen your confidence in your decision-making ability.
  • Strengthening self-esteem: Improve your self-image through positive self-talk and affirmations.

Dealing with patterns of dependency in interpersonal relationships:

  • Setting boundaries and communicating your needs: Learning to express your needs clearly and confidently.
  • Reflecting on relationship patterns and building healthy relationships: Analysing your relationship patterns and developing healthy interpersonal relationships.
  • Use the support of your social environment and therapeutic counselling: Seek support from your social environment and use counselling from a therapist.

Support through psychotherapy

Support through professional psychotherapy is an integral part of the treatment of people with a dependent personality disorder. Clarification-orientated psychotherapy offers individually tailored support and guidance on strengthening autonomy and independence.

Role of the therapist in the treatment process:

  • Empathy and understanding: The therapist shows compassion and understanding for the patient’s individual situation.
  • Building a trusting relationship: A safe therapeutic environment is created where the patient can open up.
  • Competent guidance: The therapist offers targeted support in working through patterns of dependency and developing new behaviours.


Clarification-orientated psychotherapy offers practical approaches for treating dependent personality disorder and promoting autonomy and independence. By customising the therapy and using targeted coping strategies, those affected can achieve long-term positive changes and increased self-esteem.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *