Vanessa grew up in a household filled with instability, which translated into trauma. There were days where there was no food and no heat. Nobody showed her the way so she tripped and fell A LOT and yet, the many struggles in her childhood could never have prepared her for experiencing narcissistic abuse. The trauma caused by this insidious form of domestic violence is so hard to understand.
When Vanessa was informed by one of her ex’s first victims, that this person was a “narcissist,” she was so unclear on what this meant, even though she knew the person she was with was deeply flawed. As a psychotherapist, Vanessa knew the CLINICAL criteria someone has to meet to be diagnosed as a narcissist but did not know the true meaning of what narcissistic abuse was and what it was like for the victims who lived with it until she started to research. She came to learn that she was now part of a tribe; a group of special superheroes who have survived it. The damage that true narcissists cause is so tremendous; the daily circular conversations, the gaslighting, the lack of empathy, the controlling behaviors, the isolation, manipulation, insatiable attention-seeking, addictive behaviors, anxiousness, entitled thinking, love-bombing, future-faking, lying, cheating, devaluing, and silent treatment are continuous and demented. They make you depressed, anxious, isolated, and sometimes suicidal. His other victims, both before and after her, explained that he was a “malignant, covert, passive-aggressive narcissist and she was the victor for having left him.” These were their words. Vanessa was so afraid at first but knew the only way out was to come into her power; her self-love. She couldn’t wrap her mind around the possibility that a person didn’t experience love or empathy, but IT IS TRUE. There are people that “function” as a Cluster B personality disorder and a part of the Dark Triad Personality Disorders. What you have to understand about personality disorders is that these people do not have the same operating system that most have. For the toxic partner, it’s about them never being satiated and then finding the next best person to fill the role of “supply” until they find a new “toy.”
When it was finally over for good, he became unhinged and the mask fully came off and it was frightening because he was two different people. This is the trauma bond. The highs and lows had her so confused. She was traumatized. There is data that suggests it is like coming off of opiates. Vanessa shook for 9 days. Once away from the situation she began hearing stories of terribly deviant behaviors he was engaging in while they were together that she was completely unaware of. It was all so much to piece together. She also learned he had a new victim right away. He immediately started the cycle over with someone new.
As time went on, Vanessa became less concerned about the person who hurt her and more concerned about who was buying their lies. With her narcissist, it was like watching a cult-leader hypnotize everyone in their world and subsequently rob you of your voice and truth that took all the bravery in the world to step into. He was able to continue to soul rape others. So many victims of narcissistic abuse say they feel they cannot get past the injustice of their abusers not being held accountable for their actions and the trauma they’ve caused while also moving on to abuse time and time again. This is where Vanessa’s work is. She works to bring victims into a safe environment, help them understand what has happened, and then how to step into their power; which is a nightmare to a narcissist. Vanessa works every day to build up her client’s self-esteem and develop coping mechanisms to deal with trauma responses. When you have been victimized, you do best with a clinician that is savvy with regard to narcissistic abuse and Vanessa has made it her mission to help others understand what this is clinically, but also develop skills to re-emerge with a new sense of self; a stronger self. Her team is dedicated to supporting you as you begin the long and beautiful road to heal; to recover.
We, at Tell a Therapist, believe you.
“While we can’t change difficult situations of the past, or erase traumas from our lives, we can work together to better understand and resolve challenges through strong coping mechanisms and tools.”
– Vanessa Reiser, Founder, Tell a Therapist, LLC
I am committed to furthering the social work profession and enjoy working with newly graduated social workers. I have a strong interest in coaching/mentoring others who are just beginning a new psychotherapy practice as well as working with those who have been in practice for years, looking to connect with a like-minded supervisor. I offer you and your practice support while guiding you to a deeper level of clinical understanding and conceptualization of the work. Supervision is offered to individuals by request.
Integrative therapy is a progressive form of psychotherapy that combines different therapeutic tools and approaches to fit the needs of the individual client.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Vanessa is a clinician specializing in cult recovery:
Link to non-profit started as a referral service for survivors to find clinicians specializing in narcissistic abuse in their respective states:
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“Vanessa has spent her life compassionately serving others. Her relatable and non-judgmental approach provides the ideal therapeutic relationship to help clients work through emotional trauma and free themselves of unwanted behaviors.”
– Laura Owens
Combat Veteran & Social Work Professor, University of Southern California
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