Getting to know February’s Featured Therapist, Dr. George James, Jr., Psy.D, LMFT
Dr. George James is a consultant, coach, public speaker, and a licensed Couple and Family Therapist. George specializes in helping couples managing conflict in their relationship, professional athletes looking to explore their emotions on and off the field, as well as adolescents and adult men exploring their identity, or issues around fatherhood, career, etc. George is also as an AAMFT Approved supervisor at Council For Relationships and the Program Director for the Couple & Family Therapy Program at Thomas Jefferson University. Learn more by reading our interview with George below!
Tell us a little about what makes you unique as a therapist and person?
My name is George A. James Jr. I am a first generation American with Caribbean and African heritage. My parents and most of my extended family were born in Jamaica. I am proud Villanova grad. My masters is in Couple and Family Therapy and my doctorate is in Clinical Psychology. I enjoy helping people achieve fulfilling relationships. What makes me unique as a therapist and person is that I believe the various parts of our make up, the things that intersect (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, faith, ability, etc) matter in how we see ourselves and experience the world. As a result, I help clients, students, myself and others to reflect on these parts and how it might impact their current situation. I am also unique because I like helping people in a diverse way. I have been able to speak, counsel, consult, coach and teach people how to overcome everyday relational struggles to build successful connections in love, family and career. Personally, I try to practice what I discuss in therapy. I am married to Candace, my best friend of 20 years, and we have two children, Nalani and Alex. I love sports, the arts, traveling and good conversation.
What is your role here at Council for Relationships?
I am the Program Director for the Couple and Family Therapy Masters program at Thomas Jefferson University and Council For Relationships. In addition, I am a staff therapist and an Approved AAMFT Supervisor. In the masters program, I work alongside Dr. Kenneth Covelman (Chair of the Department of Couple and Family Therapy) to build & maintain the masters program while attending to the needs and desires of our faculty and students. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, which gives me the pleasure of helping couples improve the quality of their relationship, reconcile conflicts and overcome intense situations such as affairs, lack of communication, parenting struggles and much more. I also get to supervise therapists in the field that are aspiring for licensure.
What would your clients say about you?
Full of hope that this process can produce the necessary result. Warm, engaging, practical, great facilitator, valuable insight and advice. With a practical approach to relationships and life, Dr. James helps bring success within the reach of those he influences! Dr. James is devoted to working with people to help them improve their quality of life, to be involved in the healing of their wounds and enrichment of their relationships.
Why are relationships important?
Relationships are important because they are the building blocks to a fulfilling life. Every type of relationship is important. It could be the relationship with our family members, partner, friends or colleagues. They all matter. When we take care of our relationships and invest in them, we see the benefits. But when we ignore our relationships or devalue them, it can cause significant pain.
What do you tell your clients who are struggling with depression or anxiety?
I help my clients to evaluate the situation. Some situations will naturally make us depressed (loss of a loved one) or anxious (final exam at the end of the semester). After evaluating the situation, I help my clients to develop practical tools and resources to help them navigate their anxiety and/or depression. Then I help my clients go deeper to look at reoccurring themes and triggers that might be linked to their depression and/or anxiety.
Is inner peace real?
Yes, it’s real. I think the mixture needed to get to inner peace can be different for everyone. Like going to the mall, there are multiple ways you can get there. At the end of day, no matter which path you take, we all end up at the mall. For me, inner peace is a combination of physical, mental/emotional and spiritual. Taking care of our bodies, being intentional about what we think and feel and taking time to acknowledge our higher power.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give people who may be struggling emotionally and would like to seek counseling but may not be ready?
Give it a try. Going to counseling is not a lifetime commitment and it does not mean you are crazy. We tend to get help in various areas of our lives. It could be a mechanic, personal trainer, business coach, doctor, interior decorator, lawyer and many others. Adding a therapist to the list of people you are willing to get help from especially when we are struggling emotionally could make a meaningful difference in your life.
What makes CFR special?
I have worked at Council For Relationships for 13.5 years. I have learned a lot from my colleagues and have had the opportunity to help train new therapists. CFR provides and fosters a strong sense of community and loyalty among therapists, students and clients. I am a better therapist and a better person because of the relationships I have established throughout the years here at CFR.
Dream job? (Not the one you have now!)
I love doing therapy, teaching and supervising students on a daily basis. I also love the opportunities I have had to speak, write and consult with people of all backgrounds including athletes, actors/actresses and entertainers. My dream job involves using media (tv, radio, film) to help people have better relationships, families and lives. From creating and developing shows, consulting as a mental health and relationship expert, to hosting.
Favorite artist, musician, etc.?
I don’t have a favorite artist, musician or actor. But I love the arts and ability to express ones thoughts/feelings through acting, dancing, music, art, etc. I believe the arts allows us to not only express ourselves but to connect with people in a unique and powerful way.
Dr. George James, Jr., Psy.D, LMFT
Director of the Department of Couple and Family Therapy, Thomas Jefferson University
215-382-6680 ext. 4128