Dr. AnnaMarie Christian, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT-Associate
Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.
— Brené Brown
We all need a safe, compassionate, empathetic, and no judgment zone space to have a moment to process what is going on inside of us and around us. It is of the upmost importance to learn how to stop, reflect, and discover the source of our frustration and pain and how to express and articulate that without the residual feelings of shame and guilt for doing so. We should never be afraid to show up and show our authentic self to those we love and deserve the respect to be seen and heard. Maybe you are at a point in your relationship where you are stuck and feel immobile and unable to communicate with one another the depths of your fears, hurts, frustration, or love for one another without the repeated cycle of shutting down, isolating, pulling away, or chasing after one another yet still not resolving anything. When faced with any sort of distress in life with your partner or other facets of life, it is easy to get caught up in negative repetitive sequences of interaction that lead to feelings of isolation from the connection that you crave. This tends to present itself as walls of anger and insecurities and stand in the way of the connections you are yearning for. One of the gifts therapy provides is learning to find yourself and learn about your partner, while learning to have compassion for yourself and your partner and be free from the cycle of shame and guilt that plagues us and distorts getting to know our authentic self and our relationships. Sometimes change, whether welcomed, anticipated, or unwanted, can be difficult to adjust to. Other areas that can be difficult and impact our relationship with our partners are unresolved issues from our past. As Brené Brown says, sometimes the most important and bravest thing we can do, is just show up. That is therapy-just showing up.
My goal as your therapist is to present new ways to express new experiences in therapy, that can make you both more aware of one another and make sense of the world in a new and significant way. Individual identities can be formed and transformed by the quality of our relationships and interactions with others. Let us make them healthy! When it comes to therapy, I believe in a client-centered and collaborative approach. While I may be an expert on how therapy works and the process, I am not the expert on your life and the difficulties that you are experiencing. This is why therapy is collaborative and person-centered. I work best with individuals and couples that are committed to breaking their painful, unproductive cycles and are ready to explore, change and grow. Everyone deserves to be understood, acknowledged, loved, and to belong. We have the ability to be freed from the pain of disconnection, and to be our authentic self in meaningful, fulfilling relationships. It is my belief that when we have healthy and emotionally intelligent individuals, we have healthy and emotionally intelligent couples and families.
For couples that love each other deeply but feel stuck, I offer support with resolving issues surrounding extended family and spiritually, strengthening intimacy, recovery and healing from betrayal, improving communication and connection, decreasing conflict, infertility, expecting and new parents, and multicultural couples. For those that are dating or engaged and want to focus on things such as wedding planning frustrations, family planning/children, strengths and areas impacting personality dynamics and communication skills, and culture and spirituality. For families or individuals, I offer support in navigating through adult children/parent relationships and the transitional phases between adolescent daughter/mother relationships.
Dr. Christian is a Licensed Professional Counselor (#69091) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (#202828) in Texas under the supervision of Dr. Paul Stanford (#202565). She graduated from Dallas Baptist University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and double minored in Criminal Justice and Social Psychology, and also received a Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) from DBU, and has a Ph.D. in Family Therapy from Texas Woman’s University. Her love for helping others becoming more loving and authentic towards themselves started when she worked with adolescents and their families in a church setting and then expanded her work to women and children receiving services in a domestic violence shelter. Dr. Christian has done seminars and been invited as a guest speaker in many churches to discuss sexuality and faith and how to talk to your adolescents about sex. Before venturing into private practice, Dr. Christian has worked with startup private pay mental health and substance abuse facilities and has spent a majority of her time introducing, creating workbook content, and conducting couples and family therapy in rehab facilities. Dr. Christian did part of her doctoral clinical training at UT Southwestern’s Family Therapy Clinic where she was under the leadership of Connie Cornwell. That experience led her to Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and to obtain an Externship opportunity under the teaching of Dr. Sue Johnson. Dr. Christian is also Gottman Level 1 Certified and a facilitator of Prepare/Enrich.