Vanessa Reiser, LCSW is a psychotherapist licensed in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Florida who specializes in narcissistic abuse, domestic violence and other forms of trauma. She is the founder and CEO of Tell a Therapist, a practice that focuses on helping patients heal their trauma and move on to live healthy, happy lives.
“TellATherapist.net is my private practice,” Reiser said. “There are four clinicians that work under me. Two are focused on narcissistic abuse, and the other two specialize in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, trauma – something separate from domestic violence. TellATherapist.org is the nonprofit where we provide referrals to narcissistic abuse-savvy clinicians in your respective state. I’m only licensed in four states, so out of those states, if you need support, we will refer you from a database to a clinician in your area.”
Reiser said she was engaged to a diagnosed narcissistic sociopath and endured abuse in the form of gaslighting, lack of empathy, controlling behaviors, isolation from her friends and family, and manipulation. After ending the relationship, she committed her life to healing and helping others.
“That experience of being in a relationship with an abusive, coercive controlled or master manipulator is what catapulted me into the work,” she said. “I had my own personal experience with it, and I was already a social worker. It turned my focus to be on victims of domestic violence.”
To raise awareness of narcissistic abuse and funds for her nonprofit, in 2021, Reiser ran across the state of New York in a wedding dress – 285 miles in 11 days. The following year, she ran across New Jersey from Trenton to Atlantic Highlands. She crossed Connecticut in 2023 and plans to run through Massachusetts next June.
“The concept of the wedding dress came about because this is something narcissists will often exploit,” she said. “They’ll dangle that carrot of fantasy, things like a wedding, family, house, etc. The wedding dress represents a form of future faking.”
The clinicians at Tell a Therapist specialize in helping people heal from PTSD, alcohol or drug abuse, academic pressures, grief, marriage or interpersonal relationship problems, peer pressure, bullying, body image issues, or low self-esteem. Reiser also focuses on cult abuse.
“Cult abuse is an interesting thing,” she said. “People don’t generally realize they’re in a cult. Being in a relationship with a narcissist is to be in a cult of one. There’s no difference between being in a domestic violent relationship and being in a cult. I actually just finished a book about it, highlighting and fusing the concepts because it’s so important for people to realize no one thinks, ‘Hey, I want to join a cult!’ You’re well intentioned until you wake up one day and realize your reality.”
Reiser’s book, which will be published next year, will give readers tips on how to identify a toxic relationship as well as how to leave it and heal.
“I think my rogue, no-nonsense perspective is a little bit different than some standardized therapy,” Reiser said. “I think my solution-focused perspective adds value to the treatment for a lot of people who are really struggling to get out of toxic environments, including trauma bonds. I’ve also been trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy which people get a lot of value from. We focus on pragmatic coping mechanisms.”
For more information, visit TellATherapist.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.