James Skelton, MSW, LCAS, LCSWA
Primary Therapist for Phoenix (adolescent boys with dual diagnosis)
James’ interest in helping others through their struggles with addiction started in 2010 when he took a summer job in a residential treatment center. He quickly realized that counseling others and seeing people grow was his passion and life’s calling.
James began his career as a chemical dependency counselor in Texas, where he worked for four years in an outpatient setting with adolescents who struggled with substance abuse issues, and their families. While there, he infused the 12-Step program on wilderness trips and other adventure learning activities. From his first wilderness experience, James knew that wilderness therapy was where he wanted to be. He believes in the transformative power of nature, campfires, and adventure!
James initially brought his experience in helping adolescents and parents to SUWS as Phoenix Outdoor’s recovery support specialist for three years before returning to school to finish his bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in religion, and then his master’s in social work. His research focused on the neurobiology of addiction and evidence-based aftercare planning for adolescents. He is described as a straight-talker, enthusiastic, humorous, and insightful. He believes that all people are capable of healing and growth.
In his spare time, James enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and snuggling with his puppy, Maya. Additionally, he considers himself a connoisseur of fine coffees.