“A lot of people assume that codependency means you are in a bad relationship with another person. But really, what it comes down to, is being in an unhealthy relationship with oneself.”
Julie Wrocklage, a recent Missouri State University counseling graduate, started practicing codependency counseling in early June.
“Codependency really it’s looking outside of oneself for their worth, trying to find validation, find approval from other people, as opposed to building self-esteem from within,” said Wrocklage.
About seven months ago, Wrocklage began leading a support group for codependency at Circle on the Square in downtown Springfield. 80 members joined the online group; with about eight of them meeting once a week.
“Seeing the changes in these people made me realize that there’s a need for the men and women in our community to address their codependency issues,” said Wrocklage.
It’s not only about building self-esteem. According to Wrocklage, codependency underlies addiction.
Aside from being a therapist, Wrocklage also works at Synergy Recovery Center, a private substance abuse treatment home for women. By teaching a codependency class at Synergy, Wrocklage experienced first-hand how the class has helped the women in their recovery.
“Once they were removed from whatever substance they depended upon, there’s a void, because they used to look outside of themselves to feel good,” Wrocklage said. “Often times, if the codependency doesn’t get addressed, you find yourself in this unhealthy relationship after you are clean.”
Wrocklage continues, “Most women were in denial at first. ‘That’s not who I am. I’m not codependent! I’m very independent!’ But once we start unpacking what codependency is, once we look at this (codependency) is having difficulties to say no, not setting boundaries, low self-esteem, once we get into the particulars of it, a lot of the materials we go over in that class really resonate with the clients.”
Wrocklage entered counseling hoping to change the field’s existing bias.
“A lot of people think going to counseling means there’s something wrong with us,” Wrocaklage said. “But in reality, we go to doctors to take care of our physical health needs; so we go to a counselor to work on our emotional and mental health needs.”
Wrocklage wants to be available for those who are struggling with mental health. “It is a healthy decision to go to counseling,” Wrocklage said.
Wrocklage applies a person-centered approach to help her clients define personal boundaries, identify values, build self-esteem, learn assertiveness, and ultimately take care of oneself.
“The most important thing I always tell my clients is that it’s a losing battle to seek validation from someone else or something else,” Wrocklage said. “This is how addiction starts; this is how failed relationships start.”
For more information, email or call Julie Wrocklage at JulieWrocklage@gmail.com or 417-501-4938.
*Julie Wrocklage sees clients independently under the supervision of A. Leslie Anderson, Ph.D., LP. Anderson's license number is 2004024714.