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Relationships and Codependency


        Relationships are wonderful, challenging, and often mysterious.  We imagine that having a committed partner or close confidante will solve some of our problems.  You might be surprised that your partner does not understand what is important to you.  You might wish for the ideal partner, or even a boss, who can understand you perfectly and give you all the support you need.  You may hope there will be someone to take care of you, if you wish, or someone who can give the right amount of space.  You might wish your child is doing better in school, or making friends with different kids.  These are common wishes we all share about our relationships.

        Relationships take work.  Regular communication, compromise, and learning are the reality.  Often, the clashes that make us uncomfortable come from our unresolved wounds from earlier in life and our common wish for greater possibility.


        I can help you heal the old issues and traumas.  I have helped many people acquire skills to communicate better with people they love, or just people around whom they need to feel more at ease.  With therapy, you can learn successful and individualized tools to interact in healthy ways with a spouse or partner, boss or co-worker, a child, friend, or even a customer service rep, when you have been on hold for 20 minutes.

        Codependency involves focusing too much on another person, often at your expense.  You may worry terribly about someone drinking too much or a partner who is working a lot of the time.  You may be trying to control what someone else is doing because you are scared they aren’t paying enough attention to other matters, including your relationship.  Your behavior can become more desperate as your anxiety escalates with the situation and you may even be having more uncontrollable worry, anger, or even health concerns as a result.

How do I help you interact better with other people?


        In the first few sessions, I obtain information from you to  determine our next steps.  I carefully listen to what you are experiencing in the troubled relationship and what you have tried to do to fix the problem.  Often, as early as the first session, I will make suggestions from about how you may begin to change your pattern of interacting with the person.

        Then, I combine your input with my expertise to create your personalized treatment goals.  Together we decide what seems helpful to pursue and make additions and changes at any time we wish.  This is an evolving outline which will change as you do in your therapy.  My clients often say that I “really understand” them when I show them the draft of their treatment goals and how I hope the therapy will unfold.  This provides more trust in the therapy process which helps change occur.


        Your individualized goals may include some of the concepts below:

  1.   Understanding codependency and appropriate,   

           safe boundaries.

  1.    Building new communication skills.

  1.    Strengthening self-esteem.

  1.    Recovering from the effects of alcohol or drug

            abuse in your childhood family.

  1.    Looking honestly at your own drinking or drug


  1. Healing from physical or emotional trauma,   including physical and/or sexual abuse from childhood or earlier in your life.

  1.    Living well, even with a dysfunctional family  

           member or friend.

        If you wish to find out more about Relationships and Codependency, please check the Suggested Reading and Community Resources pages of my website.

       Click below for information on my other specialties:

       Stress and Trauma Management     and

       Grief, Illness, and Transition.

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Diana Sanborn, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist providing individual adult psychotherapy services for Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area.  She specializes in Stress, Anxiety, Trauma; Relationships and Codependency; and Loss, Illness, and Transitions.  Her accessible office is located in Kentfield, CA, across from the College of Marin, close to Highway 101, and near to San Anselmo, San Rafael, Larkspur, and Mill Valley.


How do I help you work on your relationships, including any codependent traits?

Contact Info:

Diana Sanborn, PhD

(415)  721- 2884


Office location:

1030 S.F. Drake, #100-2

Kentfield  CA 94904