Who Am I?
My name is Dr. Damaris Conrad and I have been in practice as a licensed Marriage, Family Psychotherapist for the past 24 years. More importantly, I have been a Born-Again Christian for over 40+ years. I believe that I have been called to the Therapy field since I was a teen ager. The Lord has given me many opportunities within the counseling arena that other people have not had the incredible pleasure of serving in, as He has confirmed His Direction in over and over through the years.
I hold licenses as an MFT in California and in Idaho, and Clinical Supervision certification. I also teach online in Masters/ Doctoral programs for CACREP Therapy program in Higher Ed both in Christian Universities and secular ones for the past 20 years.
I have been married for 41 years and I will be the first one to admit that marriage is one of the toughest relationships you can commit to. Together, we have 2 adult children who are married and are enjoying their love and life partnerships for the past several years. We too, have walk through many hills and valleys with various challenges a long-term marriage offers, and there were many days we wondered if our marriage would survive or become just another statistic. We have been there and understand the uncertainty and questions these times bring up.
Why Choose a Christian Therapist?
There are several distinct differences between a Christian Therapist versus a secular Therapist.
1) Although Christian Therapists are often trained from a secular mix of theory and concepts, they will bring to the counseling process a belief in integrating the Word of God into the psychological principles, not the other way around. Whereas, secular Therapists will often use humanistic principles, even Eastern or metaphysical philosophies to address and resolve issues which are in conflict with the principles of the Word of God or mislead us with vain philosophies that do little to bring us into wholeness.
2) Another difference is the we are taught that marriage is a 3-strand Cord, each of us and the Lord and together we are expected to uphold our commitment to each other and before Christ in a covenant relationship. Within the context of that relationship we recognize that it is not by our power or strength that healing, understanding, wisdom, insight come from, but it is from the Holy Spirit who guides us, illuminates our understanding, empower us. The Christian Therapist is simply the vessel He uses in the lives of the couple. We also honor the Word of God as the foundation on which we build everything else.
3) One very unique difference is using a Christian Therapist is the fact that we watch and observe the model of how Jesus ministered to others. He often responded to their heart needs, emotions, physical, medical, behaviors, attitudes before addressing their need for a Savior or for salvation or their walk with Him. He modeled grace in his interactions with others not judgement and condemnation.
4) He used that method as a bridge to reach their hearts-- and He became the healing Balm for those needs, as He ministered to their spirits. (Mind, Body, Spirit) wholeness, healing, and empowerment in HIM.
5) Lastly, a primary difference in using a Christian Therapist is that their mandate is different than perhaps a secular Therapist. We are called to be ‘ministers of reconciliation’ in the Body of Christ, and although that doesn’t mean all relationships will go back to being the way they were, it does mean that we are to work towards redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation, and when warranted, restoration between those in conflict. (II Cor. 5:18)
Redemption, Forgiveness, Restoration
It is important to note here that not all relationships can be restored, (as I discuss in my book, The Fork in the Road: When Your Spouse Goes Left and You go Right; as some relationships are just not safe to return to, nor is it even wise to work towards restoration with those who remain unrepentant or hard of heart, or continued in addictions and bondage or destructive patterns of behaviors to the spouse and family, self. But all relationships can work towards grounds of reconciliation, even if that means that we agree to disagree, or reconciliation ends up being just one-sided so the spouse can move forward and/or be released from a destructive relationship.
Couples in Crisis
One of my greatest passions is specializing in issues with couples in crisis. Marriage and family issues have their own unique markers and when we are in crisis, we try many things to bring back the peace and status quo. Many therapists in the field shy away from couples' work because it can be uncomfortable for everyone involved. However, what I enjoy is watching the interactional styles we each bring to the coupling process as we attempt to negotiate our need to be heard, rebalance the power dynamic in our relationship, or we attempt to find solutions for issues that are threatening to bury us and the other part of our “dynamic duo” is refusing to engage or work together as a team.
Our goal in marriage is not about thinking alike, although we put a lot of emphasis on this attribute. However, it is more about learning how to think together and respecting the differences when we don’t! Sometimes the tools and skills we have may not be enough, and we need to explore what is maintaining the symptoms and why we keep getting stuck into the same old patterns. Together, we will work on identifying what those patterns are, the role the patterns of (behaviors, beliefs, attitudes) serve while we explore how to navigate the minefields that threaten to blow up our relationships.
In my practice, I use a mix of Family Systems, Cog B, EFT and some Integrative models of treatment as the need arises. My role in therapy is proactive, engaging, while providing gentle compassion and listening skills to (what is said and not said) as we explore personal growth as individuals and work to bring repair, resolution, and reconciliation skills to the issues.
I have had some significant experience working with Christian couples, pastors, missionaries, ministry couples and even Christian Therapist couples who are in the “gold-fish” bowl of ministry, and find themselves ‘caught’ in that place where they have issues but have no one to help them through the significant challenges they face. The pressure and expectations of the faith-based community is for these couples to have it all together, when in fact, they are like each of us, flaws, failures, struggles and sometimes, successes!
Population(s) and Issues I Serve
The population I work with include Individuals, Couples, Families. I also provide consults for Church Leadership issues for those who have experienced challenges unique to the ministry/leadership/staff and missionaries.
Here is a just a small sample of issues I work with which include but are not limited to the following:
•Marital Issues (intimacy, fidelity and infidelity, destructive behavior patterns, communication challenges, trauma, abuse, etc., parenting, infertility, sexual issues, in-laws, boundaries, work-life-ministry balance, Stages of Marriage & Parenting, Conflict Resolution, sexual issues, aging, empty nest,)
•Stress, Anxiety, Depression
•Forgiveness and Destructive Relationship Patterns
•Relationship Issues (Boundaries, Assertiveness, Mindfulness, Communication, Self Esteem & Other Esteem, Identity, Multi-Generational Patterns)
•Premarital & Seasons of Marriage
• ADHD (Adults, Adolescents, Children)
•Health & Wellness: Adjustment & Growth as it relates to the relationship
•Trauma and Different Forms of Abuse, Victimization
•Ministry and Leadership Couples
•Grief & Loss
•Divorce & Separation (Challenges, Recovery, Healing)
•Blended Family Issues
•Career and Vocational Transitions and Challenges
Live, Phone, Chat, Video
If you are looking for a Christian Therapist who is trained in clinical Marriage and Family issues and who believes in the sanctity and commitment in the marital relationship, integrity, accountability, repentance, forgiveness, restoration, and using and empowering each of our God-breathed roles to build a healthy marriages in Him, then let’s get started today.
Dr. Damaris Conrad
- Stress, Anxiety
- Relationship issues
- Family conflicts
I also have experience in Addictions, Trauma and abuse, Intimacy-related issues, Parenting issues, Anger management, Self esteem, Coaching, Compassion fatigue, ADHD
LMFT #CA LMFT 33016 (Expires: 2021-12-31)
LMFT #ID LMFT 6947 (Expires: 2020-12-31)
Only had one session so far, but the first one went well. She's easy to talk with, and a good listener.