A Pioneer in Her Field
Dr. Kelly James
School of Psychology & Counseling | Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision
Licensed Professional Counselor, Professor, Author & Radio Host, Award-Winning Mental Health Professional & Regents 2021 Alumnus of the Year
The work of Dr. Kelly James is not only fascinating but groundbreaking. As a certified clinical trauma professional, she uses a combination of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with Internal Family Systems therapy to help her clients heal.
Every client James treats bears unique, complex challenges. It’s these differences that add significance to her work and wonder to this consistent outcome: Breakthrough.
James, a Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling graduate (‘11) and the 2021 Regent Alumnus of the Year, is a recognized trailblazer in the mental health field. For 2019-20 she was selected Top Mental Health Professional by the International Association of Top Professionals for her innovative therapeutic techniques that heal the mind, body and soul.
Since 1997, James has used what she learned in the field and in the classroom to improve the clinical experience and better treat mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.
James tells her clients: “Love your future by healing your past.” This call to action is the foundation of her approach and has become her practice’s motto, adding, “When things change inside you, things change around you.”
When Your Journey Aligns with Your Purpose
James became determined to make a difference in her field when a professor in her bachelor’s psychology program said only 10% of people get well from therapy. “That’s not good enough,” she thought to herself. She also felt that God said, “That’s not good enough for Me, either.”
From that point, James began exploring how she, as a clinician, could help more people get well. “If I teach, I can teach what I know, and the numbers will grow exponentially of those I can help,” she reasoned. And from that seed, James embarked on a path to earn two master’s degrees (Licensed Professional Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy) at Oral Roberts University and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision at Regent.
James’ graduate training, particularly her study at Regent, taught her how to apply biblical and spiritual interventions as a practitioner in her field. She shares, “I should preach Jesus at all times and only use words when necessary. My presence in therapy sessions is to be as Christ-like as possible while integrating the techniques I use.”
“Love your future by healing your past.”
James considers herself fortunate to have been at the right place and right time when she completed her master’s program. “I got to work with Dr. Bruce Perry, a world-renowned child trauma professional and founder of the Child Trauma Academy. That experience painted my understanding of how trauma impacts a person, the damage it causes to the brain, and how to heal the brain,” she explains.
The work experience also helped James recover from her own childhood trauma, which she kept secret until her twenties. A victim of sexual abuse, she often thinks about how her life might be different had she gotten therapy when the abuse was happening.
James says her healing journey is what gave her the heart to help children. “I did what I needed to become a Registered Play Therapist – Supervisor (RPT-S),” she says. “It was during this timeframe that I learned about EMDR and how it helps reprocess the part of the brain where the trauma is stored.”
Changing Lives Through EMDR
Referring to the animated Disney film Inside Out, James explains that the writers of the movie met with neuroscientists to write the story exactly how the brain works. The brain stores experiences as images along with the feelings and thoughts of those experiences. Trauma experiences are anything prolonged, overwhelming and unpredictable.
“[EMDR] therapy effectively heals the prolonged, overwhelming and unpredictable experiences. It takes the emotional pain away from those experiences, so they no longer have any power in your life,” she shares.
She adds that this powerful and effective therapeutic approach has been widely researched with proven benefits for various issues, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), stress, anxiety, depression, and panic, to name a few.
James helps her clients target the area in their brain where traumatic emotions, thoughts, images, and unprocessed memories are stored by using bilateral stimulation of EMDR therapy to heal those experiences. One EMDR session is the equivalent of 10 hours of talk therapy, she says. This type of therapy can help resolve unprocessed traumatic memories for permanent healing. “I’ve seen a 98% success rate using EMDR even when an individual doesn’t want to divulge distressing details. In the years using EMDR therapy, only two clients were not able to allow themselves permission to reprocess their past.”
James says, “God designed human beings in His image with the ability for our brain-body system to heal. The subconscious mind is our supercomputer that records everything about us, and it knows the order of the things that need to be healed in our lives. When we heal our lives, we can live in the wholeness that God designed us for.”
More About Dr. Kelly James
Dr. James, LPC, is a seasoned mental health therapist, having worked in the field in various positions since 1997. She focuses her research, presentations and training interests on the neurobiology of trauma, quantum physics, energetic healing, how trauma impacts the individual and child therapy, emphasizing parenting skills.
For nearly two decades, James has operated a private practice in Tulsa, Oklahoma, working with individuals who have experienced trauma or distressing events. Her first 10 years of private practice were limited to part-time as she also worked with children and families in Department of Health Services custody.
James is an adjunct professor at Yorkville University in Canada, teaching various classes in the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program. She is also an affiliate professor for the Counselor’s View of Italy Institute in Reggello, Italy.
James’ national, live weekly radio show Why Aren’t You Over This by Now? is based on the trauma book she co-authored by the same name, available at whyarentyouoverthisbynow.com.
In addition to holding her LPC in Oklahoma and operating as an EMDR therapist, James has earned several certifications that include Approved LPC Supervisor, National Board-Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), Child and Adolescent Trauma Professional (CATP), Certified Emotion Code Practitioner (CECP), Certified Body Code Practitioner (CBCP), Certified Professional Coach (CPC), Certified Life Coach (CLC), and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor (RPT-S -retired).
To learn more about James and her private practice, visit drkellyajames.com.