2020 Alumnus of the Year, James Mast ’09, MA ’16

Guiding Light

As ships seek guidance in the darkness by way of a lighthouse, so Christians are called to be shining beacons of light in a world that, at times, feels very dark. Mental Health Outpatient Psychotherapist James Mast ’09 is a beacon of light in the mental health world as he walks with his patients toward wellness while combating the often-negative stigmas surrounding mental health.

During his time at Eastern University, James was meaningfully impacted by the passion and expertise of his professors in the psychology department. He recounts, “My professors taught me what it means to be a Christian professional, putting ethics and human dignity above all else.” As a follower of Jesus, James was taught to love his enemies. He says, “Loving my enemies became easier when I understood the principles of psychology. The more I understood why good people can do bad things, the fewer enemies I saw in the world.”

As a licensed professional counselor, James believes that the integration of his faith into his practice has made him a more effective and empathetic therapist. “Understanding the ways in which faith interacts with thinking, feelings, and behavior continues to be an important part

of my work as a mental health professional,” he shares. While continuing his partnership with Penn Foundation, a community mental health organization, James is also excited to grow his new private practice in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

James’ goal is to create a community that removes any negative stigmas regarding mental health in order to create what he describes as a “more welcoming and healing body of believers.” By always displaying positive regard toward his patients and seeking to demonstrate Jesus’ love for them, James radiates light through his work. “My code of ethics as a follower of Jesus and my ethical standards as a professional counselor inform one another,” he shares.

As James looks to the future, he is excited to continue integrating his faith into his new practice — as well as watching his daughter continue to grow. By walking in love and expanding his circles, the reach of his light promises to continue to grow wider and brighter.

This article was originally featured in the Spring 2020 Edition of Eastern Magazine. View the full magazine here.