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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Empowering People To Empower Themselves

Jan 29, 2017 08:51PM

Dr. Matt James, Ph.D

Dr. Matt James, Ph.D., Master Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Trainer and President of The Empowerment Partnership, an international firm dedicated to personal transformation, credits his upbringing for his life’s work. Raised in Hawai’i, James’ parents instilled in him a belief in energy and consciousness. “When I was growing up, energy work was common discussion at the dinner table,” recalls James, known to most as Dr. Matt, who shares that he first began meditating at age 5. “Every kid goes through a phase of wanting to be like their parents. I saw my dad meditating and I wanted to emulate him. And the practice stayed with me.”

       These experiences sparked the beginning of his path in the healing arts. Throughout his childhood, James studied with many spiritual teachers. He was entrusted with the Huna lineage of the Bray family. Huna is the energy, healing and spiritual development utilized in ancient Hawai’i. James was a longtime student of Uncle George Na’ope, Master Kumu Hula, founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival and honored as one of Hawai’i’s Golden Living Treasures. Around age 12, James attended his first fire walk with Tony Robbins and by age 13 he was a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) by Richard Bandler.

       In his early 20s, while James was well on his way to making a name for himself in the human potential movement, he had what he describes as an "awakening" of sorts. “I discovered there’s a whole world of people out there entrenched in their emotional baggage. I was shocked to find out how many people were dealing with this.” In response, James, who was given the honor of carrying on the 28 generation Bray Family Huna lineage from Hawai’ian elders, began teaching Huna weekend seminars on the mainland. However, when he realized that people outside of the islands had no idea who he was or what he was teaching, he went back to school to get his Ph.D. in Integrative Health Psychology.

       James, now equipped with over two decades worth of study, decided he needed to blend his training and expertise. “I asked myself ‘how do we honor the fact that we live in a modern world while reclaiming the wisdom of the ancient spiritual traditions?’” he says. “My aim was to weave them together—the modern and the ancient—in a way that could truly help people become more empowered.” He accomplishes his goals through his transformative trainings and workshops where he blends several modalities including Huna, NLP and Mental Emotional Release® Therapy (MER®) which James himself developed. “MER is a clinically researched collection of techniques that helps people release stress, anxiety, fear and other negative emotions. It has been clinically shown to get rid of depression and allows people to have true freedom from fear,” he says.

       James also shares his wisdom through the many books he has authored, including his newest title Empower Your Life Through Mental and Emotional Release.  “Overall, I want people to have hope. It is possible to overcome negative emotions. I grew up in a reality of ‘if you can release negative emotions in one area, you can do it in all areas.’ And it’s true, that’s the best part,” he explains.

       While James has been teaching and practicing NLP for 35 years and is gearing up for his 54th Huna Workshop in 27 years, he says that he continues to stay inspired by this life-changing work.  “There are two main things that motivate me—my students and my kids. When it comes to my students, I really love building relationships with them and watching their lives transform through these modalities. It’s such an honor for me to help empower them to empower themselves.”

       His 17-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter grew up with these techniques which James says has helped them both in countless ways. “I firmly believe that the Forgiveness Technique that I teach at every training saved my daughter’s life. It enhances relationships with those you love, and helps you learn to let go,” he says. “My daughter used the technique to successfully remove some heavy emotional baggage that she had been carrying since preschool when her best friend died. She felt so much relief afterwards. These techniques also helped make my son the awesome guy that he is today.”

            James affirms that we all have the ability to empower ourselves. “And sometimes we get stuck. But we don’t have to stay stuck. No matter who you think you are—you are so much more than any of the labels you’ve placed on yourself. It’s time to become the person you’re meant to be,” he adds.


Join Dr. Matt James and his team for the following upcoming events.

Integrative NLP Practitioner Certification® Training
February 23-26. Cost: $194. Location: Sheraton La Jolla Hotel, 3299 Holiday Ct., La Jolla

Described as a user manual for your conscious and unconscious mind, neuro-linguistic programming is used by many successful people to bring about immediate and effective changes in life. Now, Dr. Matt of the Empowerment Partnership aims to equip the masses with these exceptional skills. See event spotlight page 9.

Empowering Your Life®: Personal Growth Seminar Weekend
March 3-5. Location: Radisson Newport Beach, 4545 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach

Empowering Your Life is an inspiring three-day event where participants will learn how to resolve the past, let go of their baggage, get to know what’s truly most important to them, and set goals to getting there. Attendees will learn a process for getting in touch with their emotions—positive and negative—and be taught how to manage these emotional states during life’s difficult times.

For more information and to register, call 800-800-MIND, email [email protected] or visit

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