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Dependent Personality Disorder Counselling in London | Treatment & Therapy

What is Dependent Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are enduring patterns in our behaviors and with dependent personality disorder (DPD) this pattern involves submissive, clinging behavior in which a person has an extreme need to be taken care. This pattern begins by early adulthood.

Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is part of the Cluster C personality disorders, along with avoidant and obsessive‐compulsive personality disorders, which are all considered the anxious and fearful type.

Dependent personality disorder is one of the most common personality disorders seen in mental health clinics. Recent research estimates that DPD is found in about 14% of people who have personality disorders and about 2.5% of the general population.

Signs of Dependent Personality Disorder

Individuals with dependent personality disorder have great difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others. These individuals tend to be passive and to allow other people to take the initiative and assume responsibility for most major areas of their lives.

Adults with dependent personality disorder typically depend on a parent or spouse to decide where they should live, what kind of job they should have, and which neighbours to befriend. Adolescents with this disorder may allow their parents to decide what they should wear, with whom they should associate, how they should spend their free time, and what school or college they should attend.

Because they fear losing support or approval, individuals with dependent personality disorder often have difficulty expressing disagreement with other individuals, especially those on whom they are dependent. These individuals feel so unable to function alone that they will agree with things that they feel are wrong rather than risk losing the help of those to whom they look for guidance. They do not get appropriately angry at others whose support and nurturance they need for fear of alienating them.

Individuals with DPD have difficulty initiating projects or doing things independently. They lack self-confidence and believe that they need help to begin and carry through tasks. They will wait for others to start things because they believe that as a rule other people can do them better.

Individuals with DPD are often preoccupied with fears of being left to care for themselves. They see themselves as so totally dependent on the advice and help of an important other person that they worry about being abandoned by that person when there are no grounds to justify such fears.

Individuals with dependent personality disorder may go to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, even to the point of volunteering for unpleasant tasks if such behaviour will bring the care they need. They are willing to submit to what others want, even if the demands are unreasonable. Their need to maintain an important bond will often result in imbalanced or distorted relationships.

Individuals with this disorder feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of their exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves. When a close relationship ends (e.g., a breakup with a lover; the death of a caregiver), individuals with dependent personality disorder may urgently seek another relationship to provide the care and support they need. Their belief that they are unable to function in the absence of a close relationship motivates these individuals to become quickly and indiscriminately attached to another individual.

Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder

The causes of dependent personality disorder are unknown. It is believed that there are multiple components involved in developing DPD.  Research suggests that the development of dependence in these individuals is a result of over-involvement and intrusive behaviour by their primary caregivers.

Individuals with dependent personality disorder often have been socially humiliated by others in their developmental years. Several cases of Dependent Personality Disorder report experiencing traumatic life events such as abuse or abandonment during childhood. Additionally, experiencing adversity during childhood such as unstable or invalidating relationships and conflict contribute to the development of Dependent Personality Disorder.

Dependent Personality Disorder Treatment in London

Time‐limited psychodynamic therapy has been said to be the treatment of choice for clients with DPD. Cognitive‐behavioral therapy (CBT) is also used for DPD, with the goal of increasing a person’s autonomy and self‐efficacy.

For more information about talking Dependent Personality Disorder Counselling, therapy and treatment programmes available at our Clinics in London please visit our Treatment page.

Getting Dependent Personality Disorder Therapy in London

We offer Psychological Therapy for Dependent Personality Disorder treatment to Adults at our clinics in Central London.

Dependent Personality Disorder Counselling Team

All our Therapists offer Psychological Therapy for Dependent Personality Disorder Treatment to Adults. Click here to meet the Team.


Sessions with our Psychologists are by prepaid appointments only. You can find out more about our fees on our Fees Page.

Recent Blog Posts on Dependent Personality Disorder

Recent Blog Posts on Dependent Personality Disorder

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