James Dowell

Mental Health Therapist
Brief info

James is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He enjoys working with youth of all ages and parents wanting to help their child understand themselves better. He loves to work with children who struggle with anxiety, depression, emotional regulation and struggles at school. He has been trained and utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy primarily but utilizes techniques from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, brain science, play and art therapies. He also uses his therapy dog to connect with kids and help them on their therapeutic journey.

I took a longer route to becoming a Mental Health Therapist starting undergrad as a Political Science major and eventually adding in a second degree in Communication. Upon graduation I found what was supposed to be a temporary job working at an elementary school before and after school program. It became apparent pretty quickly that I was meant to work with children. I ended up running one of the before and after school programs for 8 years working with up to 165 students a day. It taught me a lot about how to make sure they are having fun but also learning while we do activities. I have been able to bring those skills into therapy so the kids enjoy the process.

I decided that I wanted to work with students in schools with emotional and behavioral difficulties and went back for my Master of Social Work in 2015. After graduation I worked at a high school as a School Social Worker and then moved to a middle school where I focus on a small group of kids that need more intensive behavioral support. It’s a job I love. I also bring my therapy dog Sirius with me to school to help students to cope and calm when upset. He brightens the days of students and adults alike.

I truly believe that every child can be successful if they have the skills and resources to cope with stress. My approach to therapy is to be person and family centered with a focus on the positives. I move at the pace of the child and in helping them to build skills and knowledge along the way. I like to bring in brain and body science to help them understand why they may be feeling or thinking a certain way.

Let me introduce Sirius. He is a 6 year old black lab/beagle mix who started his therapy dog career almost 4 years ago. I originally got him as a puppy as a graduation present to myself. After training him I realized how great of a therapy dog he would be. We worked for over a year on the training and certifications needed to pass the tests. Sirius passed them all with flying colors. He now comes to work with me 3 days a week and the kids love him (but the adults might love him more). He can bring down anxiety and allow children to open up or he can just be a nonjudgmental face to talk to.

When I am not working, I love to be with my niece and nephew. I also love to travel, hike and explore with Sirius. I enjoy gardening and growing plants.