My specialized area of focus

I specialize in helping Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents (ACNP’s); specifically, I work with people who were raised in what can be considered a narcissistic environment where the parent’s needs were usually considered over that of the child. This can happen when the parent’s personality style is extremely self-focused, or in the case of addiction/alcoholism, when the parent’s primary relationship is with drugs or alcohol. Adult children rarely arrive at the idea ‘Oh, that's what is wrong- my parent has the specific problem of narcissism.’ As a result, adult children often blame themselves entirely for the problems they have. However, recent studies have shown that adult children with this type of self-absorbed or addicted parent share very similar stories, have many of the same feelings, and struggle with similar issues. They may also have great difficulty in forming intimate relationships, setting healthy boundaries, accomplishing goals, people pleasing, and maintaining a realistic sense of self-worth. Without a ‘name’ for the problem most are left to try and sort out what is solely wrong with them without considering the possibility that their troubles may generate from some type of parental narcissism/addiction. I believe there is a strong connection between the two populations. After realizing there was very little information that addressed the problem of parental narcissism, I designed an interpersonal group model (my dissertation) to help adult children overcome these particular struggles. I have often found that when I mention this way of helping, many people respond with relief and great interest. I can work with clients individually or within a group context. Through identification and a hand-tailored plan to address these issues, clients are able to identify and heal from the trauma and fallout of parental narcissism.

About Me

I hold a certification in Substance Abuse Counseling from UC Berkeley and a Psy. D. in Clinical Psychology from the American School of Professional Psychology, Argosy University, San Francisco Bay Area. I have extensive experience in working with individuals, couples, groups and youth. During my undergraduate training, I designed an interpersonal group model to help adult children dealing with the effects of having narcissistic parents and/or family members with substance abuse issues. This work has become my area of specialization, and has been presented nationwide at various conferences and professional trainings including the Annual Conference of The American Psychological Association.

Elizabeth B. Cleves, Psy. D. Registered Psychological Assistant B94023658

Supervised and employed by Rachel Robbins, Psy.D. # Psy22646