Marissa Esquibel on How to Start a Podcast About Codependence | PoP 553

Marissa Esquibel on How to Start a Podcast About Codependence | PoP 553
Do you struggle with codependency? Are you constantly trying to please others? Do you feel like you were raised to be a ‘good little girl’?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Marissa Esquibel on how to start a podcast about codependence.

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Meet Marissa Esquibel

Marissa Esquibel on How to Start a Podcast About CodependenceMarissa Esquibel is an LMFT and host of the Codependummy Podcast. She’s a licensed therapist, former codependent, and on a mission to empower young women to stop playing small and start taking up space. She started Podcast Launch School in October 2020, and launched her podcast in January 2021.

Visit her website and connect on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, or listen to her podcast.



In This Podcast

  • Overcoming imposter syndrome
  • Codependency learnings
  • Dating as a codependent
  • How therapists can push back against codependency
  • The process of launching a podcast

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

It’s important to have the realisation that imposter syndrome is so pervasive. It can be difficult, but if you look at it statistically, 8% of US citizens have a Masters Degree. So, you are already in the top 8% from the day you graduate. Combine that with your personal experience, the clients you love to treat, and you realise you really are an expert.

Codependency Learnings

Here are five things Marissa has learnt on codependency, from personal experience, as well as through treating many of her clients:

  1. Many women have been raised, reinforced, and rewarded to be good little girls.
  2. We are exhausted, exasperated, and enveloped in crappy relationships (with others and ourselves).
  3. Saying “no” is extremely difficult, uncomfortable, and uncommon
  4. If you don’t address codependency early on, you’re preparing for a life of martyrdom, self-sacrifice, and discontent
  5. Working through it is totally possible!

Dating as a Codependent

Being codependent, you’re often drawn to people who are not healthy for you. If you find yourself with yet another (unhealthy) partner who looks or acts the same as your previous partner, you need to start reflecting on yourself and your past. Ask yourself what happened to you when you were a little girl / teenager that has resulted in you falling into this pattern. Also consider going to therapy.

How Therapists Can Push Back Against Codependency

A way to do this is through boundaries. Many people who are codependent often struggle with boundaries, especially in romantic relationships. Therapists who give girls the space to chat about the things they feel uncomfortable with, instead of assuming they are just being dramatic, is very helpful. Also, teaching them how to say ‘no’ and flex their boundary muscles.

The Process of Launching a Podcast

The process of launching my podcast was both agonising and exhilarating. I made sure I had accountability with Joe by sending him an update every week on the progress I had made. I also set a deadline that I wanted to launch my podcast by and announced it on social media, which got the momentum going. From there, I set a certain time apart every Sunday to work on my podcast. What’s more, the Podcast Launch School course is all-inclusive and provides a step-by-step guide on how to launch a podcast.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

[JOE SANOK] You and I both know that behavioral and mental health professionals provide critical support to our communities in a time when our communities need it more than ever. But they need support too, to continue their education, to connect with colleagues, and advanced their careers. And so we have partnered with Triad, the hub for behavioral and mental health professionals. At Triad, you’ll find education, community and career resources for both current and aspiring behavioral and mental health professionals, all curated specifically for you and for free. Head on over to to register for your free professional account. Again, that’s and join the community today. I’m active in there and I want to see you there too.

This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 550.

Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I am Joe, Sanok your host here at Practice of the Practice world headquarters in our mobile camper, where we are now in Escondido, California at the time of this recording. Who knows where we’ll be when this episode actually goes live. You’ll have to follow me on Instagram or follow our family Instagram, Leave to Find. You can follow all of our adventures on that. We are having tons of fun, traveling the nation, and we’re also podcasting about it over at Leave to Find. So wherever your favorite podcast is, you can hear all the behind the scenes of the Sanok family, all the drama, actually mostly just a bunch of adventure and a nine-year-old trying to learn to become a podcaster, which is pretty entertaining. So today I’m so excited though, about different adventures that we’re going to be talking about with Marissa, who is going to be talking about her podcast; is all about co-dependence, young women, all sorts of different topics we dive into. It’s super exciting. So without any further ado here is Marissa.
[JOE] Well, today we have Marissa Esquibel who is an LMFT and she is the host of the Codependummy Podcast. She’s a licensed therapist, former codependent, and on a mission to empower young women to stop playing small and start taking up space. She started Podcast Launch School in October, 2020, and launched her podcast in January, 2021. Marissa, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.
[MARISSA ESQUIBEL] Thank you for having me. I cannot believe I’m here. I can’t believe it.
[JOE] I can believe you’re here because you freaking show up for yourself all the time. I swear, I know what you look like, I know what you think, I know your questions. Like you show up, when there’s a webinar, you have your video on, you’re taking notes and so I am not surprised at all that you are on this show. But I know how that is when there’s a show you’ve listened to and you’re finally on it. You’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m here.”
[MARISSA] Yes. Yes, and thank you for that.
[JOE] Yes. Well, and I think that points to the power of podcasting, which we’ll get into of just being able to do show swaps and get to know other podcasters on a different level. But I just want to hear a little bit about, so you decided this topic of kind of co-dependence and women that are kind of early in life. Tell me why you picked that as your main topic. Because I think a lot of therapists, when they decide that they’re going to launch a podcast, they really struggle with, “What am I going to name it? How do I, what’s my specialty I want to do? What can I stick with for the long haul for a podcast?” How did you think through kind of your focus for your podcast and why does that resonate with you personally?
[MARISSA] Right. So I do recall that you and I, we had a consultation call, I believe in August or September. And at the time, Joe, I don’t know if you remember, but I was like, I want to start a podcast where I talk to therapists about their experience in therapy and like therapists and therapy and help promote mental health. And you were like, “Okay, like why? I was like, “I have no idea.” And so back to the drawing board and when I started Podcast Launch School, I remember it like even the first module, I wasn’t necessarily sure what I wanted to focus on. And in the Q&A, I remember you had two people ask about their topics and they shared some doubt, like, “What do I know about this? Who am I to talk about that?” And you were like, “Oh, you’re just an imposter. You’re just an imposter.”

And you joked about it, like talked about how a lot of people, therapists, me when I did start to think about a topic, I immediately thought there’s no way I could talk or have a podcast on that. But looking at my caseload, looking at the fact that I love psychology, human behavior and relationships, and the fact that I’m a former codependent, I like, if you sit me down with so much talk about codependency and all the aspects of it, I could talk your ear off and I wouldn’t get tired of it. I just, I love talking about it. I love treating it. I love how pervasive it is and how it can look really, like you’re a good employee or a good student, but all you’re doing is trying to please your professor or your boss. And yes, I just, I liked the more I reflected and also built up the courage like I could the person to have a podcast about this and it just from there, like there was the topic.
[JOE] Yes, I think when that light bulb goes off for people of how that imposter syndrome is just so pervasive. I mean, we go to say a therapy conference and there’s all these big wigs that have done all this research and they’ve created models. And you feel like, “Who am I in this pond?” But in the podcasting world, it’s like, it’s the average population. And so even just, if you look at it, statistically, and I often say this in our Q&A’s I think 8% of US citizens have a master’s degree. So from the day you graduate, you are in the top 8% and you think about a hundred people, socially distant standing outside, and eight of them have master’s degrees. You know, what are the odds that one’s a doctor, one’s a chiropractor, one’s an accountant or a lawyer? Like in most situations, anyone with a master’s in anything mental health is probably going to be the expert on mental health in almost any situation, unless they’re at a conference.

And so I think when that light bulb goes off for people and they say, “Okay, so first of all, I have this master’s. I’ve racked that out but now I have a personal experience with being codependent. And I also I’m a woman and I’m friends with other people in this age group and I’ve had clients.” Like now you really are an expert and you haven’t even done research or even started the podcast. And I think that empowerment that people feel when that light bulb goes off, is just so powerful for how your podcast is going to be.
[MARISSA] Maybe share a little bit about when you landed on kind of co-dependence and younger women as your topic, like, how did that resonate with you? What were some things that happened? You identify as being a former codependent. Tell us some stories about that and why this is such an important topic to you.
[MARISSA] Yes. So I had a guest interview recently, and I’ve heard this a couple times, the past few months where women in their thirties and forties have said to me, “I could have used this podcast in my twenties.” And I’m like, “Me too.” And so I sensed that right in sitting down to write out the first five-ish to 15-ish episodes. I just had to look back at what did I need to hear when I was 20? What did I need to hear with my first boyfriend and my first relationship? What did I need to hear before I got my first job? And it really, and like you talk about in the course, like, what are things that you’re willing to share? What are some stories that you’re open to talk about? And it really, it wasn’t that hard. Once I got the topic, once I had my ideal listener audience, it’s yes, it just became so easy. Like what do these girls need to hear? And then, yes.
[JOE] So tell me what you’re discovering. I mean, I have a six-year-old and a nine-year-old, both daughters. I have a wife, you know every relationship has its ups and downs. Like what do women need to hear? What should I maybe as a father, but even the women listeners, maybe their past or typical demographic, what do you wish they would have learned in their twenties and thirties, for those that are in their twenties and thirties? Give us maybe your top five things you’ve discovered from interviews in regards to co-dependence and just what you’ve discovered.
[MARISSA] So first I’ve learned that, and this is, you covered this in the course as well, talking about like how we’ve been set up. And I was like, “All right, how was I, how the young women I work with, how have we been set up to be codependent. And we have been raised, reinforced and rewarded to be good little girls. So I learned that. Second I’ve seen and experienced on my own and in the women I treat, we are exhausted, exasperated and invalid in crappy relationships. The toll that codependency takes and we’re in crappy relationships with others and with ourselves. I’ve learned that saying no is extremely difficult, uncomfortable, and uncommon. I’m trying to think two other things that, I mean, in my own experience, if I didn’t start going to therapy at 20, if these young women don’t start to address it now, they’re just preparing for a life of martyrdom, self-sacrifice, and discontent.

So there is an urgent need to work through this need to please. And fifth, I have learned that, I mean, working through it is totally possible, but bringing that awareness, that insight that I experienced, giving that to my listeners, it’s great. And so thinking about your daughters, it’s so interesting because my aunt is obsessed with my podcast. She is a grandma, she takes care of my cousin’s daughter, who I think she’s like seven or eight and in the past couple of weeks from listening, Joe, she is starting to, when, her name’s Sophia. Sophia is very like, strong-willed, she’s stubborn, and sometimes she’ll be like, “No. I don’t want to. Like, no.” And they’re like, “Sophia, that’s not nice. Be a good girl.” And my aunt is starting to actively question her response and she’s starting to ask like, “How are you feeling right now? What’s going on?” Trying to understand her more instead of like reinforcing her to be this agreeable, accommodating, appeasing little girl.
[JOE] Wow. So you’re not only changing your own life through the podcast, but you’re influencing your own family in a way that you almost couldn’t have if you just sat down with your aunt and said, “Hey, I think you should do this differently.” Like, you just wouldn’t have that voice, but the podcast has actually opened doors in your own family in a way that almost nothing else could have.
[MARISSA] Right. Because in the first couple episodes I do talk about, I do give real examples from my life about how I was raised, how I was reinforced, how I was rewarded. And I did, I tried to do it in like friendships. I did it at home with family and I did it at school. And so yes, just giving those examples. Yes, my aunt’s like looking at things differently. Sophia, I think she’s getting to be more vocal and yes, it’s been great.
[JOE] So for women that are in their twenties and thirties, I don’t know much about the dating world obviously, but I assume it’s difficult in the kind of Tinder, OkCupid, whatever kind of world to sort through relationships. Like what do you recommend to the women listening or to women that are working with, women or men that are working with clients in that demographic in regards to the dating world and what, how they can protect themselves from falling into kind of codependent thinking, codependent relationships, codependent relationship with themselves? Like, what are some of those things that stand out to you around kind of dating in that phase?
[MARISSA] Well, it is a minefield. I lucked out. I met my husband on right before the apps got really big. And again, like I share on the podcast about how throughout my twenties, if you had put a blindfold on me, Joe and I went out to a party, I would be able to sniff out an alcoholic and I would pursue him and date him for a year. Like I just, like being codependent, that’s who I was drawn to. And for listeners and young women and people working with them, those people working with them, I applaud you because those young women, they need to go to therapy. They do. They need to start reflecting on, if you keep finding yourself with a partner who maybe looks or acts look different, but acts the same as your former partner and you just see these patterns happening over and over again, which is what happened to me, yes, like I would just encourage, you’re going to have to start reflecting on, what about your past? What about what you went through as a child, as an adolescent is leading you to just really unhealthy partners as a young woman? And I really, I sense that therapy was the solution for me.
[JOE] Wow. It’s so interesting. My wife and I, Christina, talk a lot about how just the world, you think about, so we’ve been watching Mad Men and so you think about kind of the generation that was raising kids in the fifties and sixties and just how kind of women were treated then, and in all that happened. And then you look at our parents’ generation, my parents’ generation who then kind of raised us and now being in the generation that’s starting to have kids and how sometimes it feels like there’s been so little progress, but then you look at Mad Men, two generations ago when women were treated so much differently in the workplace. And, but then also recognizing there’s still so much more to go. It’s really interesting to have these conversations around, how do you raise girls into strong, independent women?

And it’s tough as a parent because you’re wanting to do that and then what comes with that is they speak up at bedtime. They don’t do what they’re told. They push back and it’s so easy to go back into, like I never could have done that. Even as a boy, let alone having all the pressures of being raised as a girl. It’s interesting to kind of start to think about, well, there’s not really a guide book for our generation in regards to how we move towards more equality, how we push back against the patriarchy. Through the podcast, what have you been discovering in regards to what therapists in particular can do to advocate, to kind of help with women’s issues and to help push back against codependency?
[MARISSA] What have I been learning? Therapists pushing back against codependency. One thing that I learned that I sense a lot of therapists are helping with are boundaries. I had no freaking boundaries, especially, and I have admitted this on the podcast and I had to deal with that a lot in therapy. I had no boundaries, especially with men, like married men, men that I worked with, male professors. And so being able to go to therapy and just make like remarks about how, “You know, he kind of, he looked at me this way, but I don’t know. I’m just being dramatic,” and having a therapist say, “Well, how did you feel when he looked at you that way?” And being able to sit would then acknowledge, “I felt really uncomfortable. I didn’t like it.” Being able to be honest about that instead of being the dramatic girl who’s imagining things and just like slow down to investigate that.

And yes, I just, I don’t know, I didn’t have someone in my early twenties to talk to about things that I felt uncomfortable with, but kept walking into and so therapists, having someone as a sounding board and then having someone validate like, “That is weird that he texted you that late.” And it’s like, “Right? And then being able to have someone, I sense, I had different therapists throughout my twenties, but they did start to really help me. You know, no is a complete sentence, I didn’t know that before therapy. You can text, like I prefer that you don’t contact me after 6:00 PM and just sit with the discomfort and find some coping skills to deal with it. But I didn’t, I didn’t know how to flex that boundary muscle before therapy. And so yes, I really sense that bringing light to, and empowering young women to create and maintain boundaries, that has been a huge help from therapists.
[JOE] Yes. Well, I’d love to spend the last kind of 10 minutes of the interview focusing on kind of your process of launching the podcast, kind of things that you learned, what were helpful kind of hacks you learned from Podcast Launch School, just kind of that whole, the behind-the-scenes of launching a new podcast. What were the insecurities that came up? What are the things that you worked through? So when you think about you launching this podcast, like how would you describe that?
[MARISSA] It felt forever. And it also, my older sister, she jokes with people that, “Marissa put this up in two days.” And so, I mean, it was agonizing and exhilarating. And yes, I remember I did look back. So I entered the course in October, actually one at a conference, which was so exciting and for a whole month, Joe, I sat and I think I did, I maybe watched the first module, maybe. I was sitting on the course, but you know, I had heard you, I heard you’re doing your presentation. You were like, “Podcasting is the best use of your time.” And I was like, “It is. It’s the best use of my time.” So mid-November, I emailed you just like, “I don’t know if Joe reads his emails regularly, but I need some accountability.” And so I did, I like put my stake in the ground and I was like, “Joe, I’m going to work on the podcast, like every Sunday for this amount of time, I’m going to send you an update.”
[JOE] Which you did. It was awesome.
[MARISSA] Yes, and that helped. And then you were like, you have to tell everybody. So I posted it on all my social media account, I told everyone and their mom, to just create that sense of urgency, that stake, like what are people going to think? And I did, I set a deadline too. I think I set like January 2021. So emailing, you, announcing it to everybody, it got the momentum going. And from there, like just, I set a certain time apart on Sundays, no clients those days, I’m in quarantine not doing anything, and that was right. I have different ways to be accountable to myself and others. And it’s like, “if I were going to be convicted of a crime on Sunday morning, between nine and noon, everybody would say, “No, Merissa wasn’t, she wasn’t there. She was working on her podcast.” That’s, what is my alibi? That’s like this game I play with myself. Like, “What is your alibi, Marissa?”

So I was emailing you, I announced it to everybody, I had my alibi and Joe, your course is all-inclusive. It really is. I’ve heard of other courses, I have fellow therapists and entrepreneurs who’ve taken other courses, and they were very impressed with what I was doing. And I was like, “This is not my idea. I’m just following the course.” And I just went through it. You were like, “Okay, you need to make an e-course.” I was like, “Oh God, okay.” And I looked at different CRMs and found one and, Power Through and created a 10-part course. I wrote the first five solo casts, reached out to guests. The consultation aspect, I was like, “I don’t know how I’m going to get anybody to agree to do live consulting for a podcast that hasn’t been released. How am I going to get anybody?” And yes, I like did some brainstorming and reached out to different people and lo and behold, I’ve had two thus far and there’s more to come. So it was really just staying in touch with you ad then you did Joe. You were like, “Good job. You’re doing so good.” Thanks, Joe. I am doing good. The encouragement, and —
[JOE] Encouragement. You weren’t being co-dependent on me. You were just getting encouragement.
[MARISSA] Yes, and accountability.
[JOE] Yes. I mean, I joke about that, but no, I think it was helpful to have you say, “Here’s where I’m at,” and to know that you’re rocking it out, you’re following the script, you’re going through the course and getting it done. And it’s been so fun to watch it just unfold too, from my side.
[MARISSA] Yes. Yes, so got the gear, hit record in December, that’s when I did the solo cast. The first episode, that was heartbreaking. I recorded the entire first full episode thing, and it was like 45, 50 minutes and I hadn’t actually recorded it. Oh my God.
[JOE] Oh, we’ve all done it.
[MARISSA] Oh my God. I was so sad.
[JOE] It’s like an initiation, but oh my gosh.
[MARISSA] Yes, I was so sad. I was like, “Oh my God, my poor heart, all the inks, all the nerves and I didn’t hit record.” So yes, I recorded that again and reached out to a couple of colleagues who were ready, willing, and able to come on as guests. I played around on Canva, like got the e-course up and ready and terrified. I did have a crying session and the thought was, “What if everybody realizes I have no idea what I’m doing? What if they realize —?”
[JOE] How’d you work through that?
[MARISSA] I attend therapy every week. So talks about that in therapy and I have a ginormous toolbox of coping skills and was more willing to see what happened, then not go for it. And if everybody thinks I’m an idiot, well, it won’t kill me. I might die like an emotional death but physically it is not going to kill me. And yes, listening, I mean, even as I’m talking right now, I say ‘and’ a lot on the podcast, I say, right, right, right, right, all the time. Listening back, I’m like, “Oh my God,” because you say ‘and’ and ‘right’ any more times in like a ten second period, but I just, yes, I wanted to see, I was more curious about what could happen. And so, I put it out imperfect, the recordings aren’t flawless, but it was like towards the end of January, I committed to January. And so, “Okay, let’s load the podcast, just upload the podcast and put it out there.” And it’s been great.
[JOE] Man, I’m sure there’s going to be so many more ups and downs as you move forward, but I’m just so proud of you for launching it and pushing through it. So often people are paralyzed by perfection, and that’s what we’re trained to do. You know, grad school is all about revise, revise, revise, until you turn that thesis in, and then you get rejected or you don’t. And that’s just not what happens in the business world and so the idea of let’s put out what is good enough content. Like we don’t want to put out shoddy content, but to put out content that we’re not going to overanalyze and rerecord a hundred times to make it sound perfect, because that’s not who you are. That’s not who I am. And so those imperfections are oftentimes some of the funniest moments that people see you as being human. And so I’m excited to see where the podcast continues to go.

The last question I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[JOE] People need to hear what you have to say. I have heard, I have some super fans, Joe already, and these young women, without a doubt would say, “Listening to these first 11 episodes has changed my life.” I didn’t know that that was going to happen, but I have gotten some emails and DMS and have cried and like, and thought, like they have comforted me. I’ve been crying. Like, “It’s going to be okay Marissa.” But people need to hear, people need our insight, they need our perspective, they need our education, training and experience, and our ability to translate these complex, psychological theories and terms so they can better understand themselves, their lives, what they’re doing so they can make significant change. I didn’t know that before, but right now I’m like, “Whoa, this is incredible.” And so, yes, they need us as translators.
[JOE] Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, tell us a little bit more about the podcast, where people can listen to it and how people can get ahold of you if they’re interested.
[MARISSA] Yes. So the Codependummy Podcast, you can find it where you listen to podcasts. I also, it is audio and video and so I do have it up on my YouTube channel. You can go to There, you can sign up for my course. If everybody wants a sample course, what it looks like, 10 parts, how you can stop being such a codependummy and shine like a codependiamond and, because the goal is not just totally independent. We want to be interdependent codependiamond and yes, I also have, I’m active on my Instagram at Codependummy.
[JOE] Awesome. Cool. Well, if you are listening to this and you’re thinking, “I want to start a podcast,” head on over to We have a free 10-part email course there for you to help you sort out whether or not a podcast is for you. There’s also a link there to sign up for that e-course if you want to be just like Marissa and be able to dive into this. That would be absolutely amazing for you to head on over there.

We love doing interviews like this and we couldn’t do it without our sponsors. And today’s episode is sponsored by Head on over to to get your free membership to the newest social media specifically for therapists, counselors, MFTs, psychologists, and behavioral health providers. Over at, you can register totally for free for your professional membership. Marissa, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast today,
[MARISSA] Joe, thank you for having me. Thank you for being you. Thank you for modeling what’s possible. I’m just very grateful to be here.
[JOE] Well, thank you so much and thank you for letting us into your ears and into your brain. Have a great week everybody.
[JOE] Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed to provide accurate authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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