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Meet Brenda Stephens of Stephens Therapy Associates

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brenda Stephens.

Hi Brenda, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I am a San Diego native and I love it here. I left home and dropped out of school at age 16, but education was always important to me. When I got some stability, I finished high school and went to college off and on for several years while raising my children before finally graduating. I then went on to graduate school shortly after obtaining my bachelor’s degree. I earned a master’s in Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in addiction which meant learning a great deal about trauma and shame as they all go together. I worked with some state agencies after obtaining licensure as an independent therapist and worked with community members who suffered from symptoms of severe and persistent mental health problems, addiction, and trauma.

As I became more experienced, I started noticing people searching for services in helping them manage the trauma they experienced in an insidious way from a narcissist in their lives. I had recognized before that I had relationships with narcissists in my life and was amazed at how similar the stories of their experiences were to each other and to my own experience. I started focusing on clients who I call survivors of narcissistic abuse and learned quickly there is a great need for therapists who understand this type of abuse and can help people heal. The need overwhelmed my availability to see clients as there just are not enough hours in the day, so I started a group therapy practice that continues to try to meet the ever-expanding demand for healing from a relationship with a narcissist. I’ve written a book about the daughter’s relationship with a narcissistic mother, and my second book, which focuses on many different types of relationships with narcissists, will be released on 8/31/2021.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a long, hard road as I have been on my own since age 16 and navigated two abusive relationships (both with narcissists) and parented two children as a single mother for many years. During this time, I was committed to my education so that my children and I could have a better life. It took longer than I would have liked, but I finally complete my bachelor’s and master’s degrees and have a business of my own.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Stephens Therapy Associates?
We are a growing group mental health counseling practice with a specialty in working with complex trauma, PTSD, and narcissistic abuse. We are one of the very few practices that treat survivors of narcissistic abuse in the world, and we are dedicated to helping this population understand what they went through and rebuilding their lives. I am proud that I have found a group of therapists who understand narcissistic abuse and can validate and support clients as they recover. I want readers to know that if they notice that there is something gnawing at them about the relationship they are in, they do themselves a favor by listening to that intuition that is telling them something is just not quite right.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
Far and away, the most important lesson I’ve learned is that I need to listen to my gut. I try to encourage my clients to do the same as I find that it never lies. I also recognize and appreciate that everything is better with support from the people who share your values and align with you.

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Matthew Burd

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