The general goal of treatment of Dependent Personality disorder is to increase the individual’s sense of autonomy and ability to function independently.
Psychodynamically oriented therapies
A long-term approach to psychodynamic treatment can be successful, but may lead to heightened dependencies and difficult separation in the therapeutic relationship over time. The preferred approach is a time-limited treatment plan consisting of a predetermined number of sessions. This have been proved to facilitate the exploration process of dependency issues more effectively than long-term therapy in most patients.
Cognitive-behavioral approaches attempt to increase the affected person’s ability to act independently of others, improve their self-esteem, and enhance the quality of their interpersonal relationships. Often, patients will play an active role in setting goals. Methods often used in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) include assertiveness and social skills training to help reduce reliance on others, including the therapist.
Treatment using an interpersonal approach can be useful because the individual is usually receptive to treatment and seeks help with interpersonal relationships. The therapist woult help the patient explore their long-standing patterns of interacting with others, and understand how these have contributesd to dependency issues. The goal is to show the patient the high price they pay for this dependency, and to help them develop healthier alternatives. Assertiveness training and learning to identify feelings is often used to improve interpersonal behavior.
When a person is highly motivated to see growth, a more interactive therapeutic group can be successful in helping him/her to explore passive-dependent behavior. If the individual is socially reluctant or impaired in his/her assertiveness, decision-making, or negotiation, a supportive decision-making group woult be more appropriate. Time limited assertiveness-training groups with clearly defined goals have been proven to be effective.
Dependent Personality Disorder
Family and marital therapy
Individualy with dependent personality disorder are usually brought to therapy by their parents. They are often young adults who are struggling with neurotic or psychotic symptoms. The goal of family therapy is often to untangle the enmeshed family relationships, which usually elicits considerable resistance by most family members unless all are in therapy.
Marital therapy can be productive in helping couples reduce the anxiety of both partners who seek and meet dependency needs that arise in the relationship.
Individualy with dependent personality disorder can experience anxiety and depressive disorders as well. In these cases, it may occasionally prove useful to use antidepressants or anti-anxiety agents. Unless the anxiety or depression is considered worthy of primary diagnosis, medications are generally not recommended for treatment of the dependency issues or the anxiety or depressive responses. Persons with dependent personality disorder may become overly dependent on any medication used.