Founder Focus: Interview with James Castro

Intentional Impacts


James Castro, founder of Conscious Health and Wellbeing, opened his counseling practice this past fall in Boerne, Texas. However his story does not begin there. James has been serving his community for the past 30 years as a licensed therapist. He recently sat down with us to share his story, lessons learned along the way, and to help us gain a better understanding of his newest venture, Conscious Health and Wellbeing. James is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) currently serving Kendall County and the surrounding areas. When you first meet James, you are instantly put at ease by his warm and caring nature. You also quickly discover that he is not only a wealth of knowledge, but a truly present and engaged listener as well. It is evident that James has a genuine passion for helping others discover the best version of themselves.

The Journey

James Castro arrived in San Antonio in 1994 in pursuit of a masters degree from St. Mary’s University. He describes himself at this time in his life as “just a kid, searching for purpose.” James had never visited Texas before making the 20 hour drive from Steubenville Ohio, where he just completed his bachelor’s degree. With only the plan to get his master’s degree, James set out eager, ambitious, and in search of finding direction and meaning for his life. However one thing James will tell you he was certain of from the very start, was that he had always felt a calling to help people. It was that calling, and his servant heart, that would shape the next 30 years of his story.

A Wealth of Experience

James graduated from St. Mary’s University with a masters degree in marriage and family therapy. Something he had always struggled to understand was, “why so many people were unhappy, angry, fighting, and struggling within their family unit.” Upon graduating, he remembers realizing that his true calling was to help people to find a more positive and productive way to live and interact with others in their life.

While starting his own practice had always been a goal, like most recent graduates, that wasn’t where his professional journey began. His first position out of school was working for the community/county mental health agency, where his mission became to serve those in poverty who were suffering from severe mental health issues. He provided therapy services and guidance to a community of individuals that often struggled to find access to mental health support. He eventually became a director of the children’s division, where he gained valuable experience working with Child Protective Services, juvenile probation, school systems, city and county governments, and other non profits, all with the focus of aligning support services for those in need. While the work was difficult and demanding, he always felt purpose in having the opportunity to lift up those around him. James would go on to serve as the executive director of a local foster care agency, and also spent many years consulting. Throughout his years of service James would always come back to the question “how can I continue to help others live a great life?” This always drove and inspired him to continue forward on his mission.

Introducing Conscious Health and Wellbeing

Fast forward to the summer of 2023, after dedicating many years to providing therapy services within his community, James decided he was ready to realize his dream of starting his own practice. Over lunch one afternoon at Richter Tavern, James was introduced to a friend of a friend, who just happened to be making his way through his own entrepreneurial journey. Baron Wiley, who James recognized from Boerne Radio, told him about Das Greenhaus (DGH), a business incubator that had recently opened its doors in Boerne. Not only would Das Greenhaus provide James with the physical space he needed to establish his practice, but the DGH community could also provide him with mentorship, education, and networking opportunities. Baron helped James realize that this could be the ideal environment for an entrepreneur like himself, just starting out on establishing his own practice.

He said it all happened much quicker than expected, and by October of 2023 Conscious Health and Wellbeing was officially established. The mission of Conscious Health and Wellbeing is to help families, couples, and adolescents to be successful, as they deal with the life stages and transitions that people go through. “People often come out of difficult times and are struggling to find their best self. They are carrying trauma with them. I want to help people have a great life,” is how James describes his work. Conscious Health and Wellbeing offers individual, family, couples, and crisis counseling, along with senior concierge support.

Learning Along the Way

After just 5 months in business, James can already identify many lessons learned along the way. One of the biggest challenges he says, has been in learning how to market himself. From finding clients and generating referrals to creating his website, it has not all been a walk in the park. What he said he has learned though, is that there are so many resources and people out there, willing and ready to help. He recently began working with a local company, Manifestive Design, who have helped him to refine his brand, communication strategies, and website design. “Callie is helping me learn to be intentional about how things look. She is helping me design a consistent feel to my brand.” All things he never had to consider before starting his own practice.

Joining the Boerne Chamber of Commerce and the Das Greenhaus community opened doors to networking and finding a community of entrepreneurs he could surround himself with. “I’ve found truly valuable support that I could not have made it without” he says. His business mentor, Justin McKenzie, is helping him to really be thoughtful and intentional about the way he shares his story, how he offers and promotes his services, and the choices he makes about structuring his business. Above all else though, he says he has been most blessed by the immense support from his wife. He lit up when he described how much her enduring belief in him and his dream meant. “Trust is huge in this industry, and it takes time for people to find you and change their habits and make the choice to invest in you. I am trying to be patient knowing that,” he says.

When asked if he could go back in time and give his 18 year-old self one piece of advice, he said he would tell himself, “dedicate time, energy, and prayer to figuring out your purpose. And figuring out that purpose, in context with God.” He says his faith has been a guide throughout his journey and he believes that one’s faith plays a huge role in determining what you do and what you pursue.

Intentionality Behind the Name

In his new podcast, James eloquently explains his intentionality in choosing the name Conscious Health and Wellbeing, and the decision to not include the term “mental health” in his business name. He explains that the term mental health can often be associated with a stigma. “I think it keeps people away from accessing services and support that likely could help them through what they are struggling with. My intention was to remove the word ‘mental’ so it is not a barrier for people.” “I looked up mental, and the word itself comes from ‘negative, stigmatizing, frames of reference.’ It is considered a disorder and implies there is something wrong with you.” James further explains why he was so intentional about selecting the word “conscious” to be a part of his name. “Conscious, meaning ‘awareness, knowledge, awake, to notice and be alert, to perceive, and be aware of surroundings, sensations, and thoughts’ brings a much more positive light to this work we are all doing on ourselves. To me it is empowering and helps people see themselves as having the ability to work through whatever it is that they are facing.”

Masters in Health

In addition to opening his own practice, James also recently collaborated with longtime friend Billy Lister to start a podcast. Masters in Health aims to bring awareness and access to all things health and wellbeing. “When people need help or support they don’t know who to go to. Or they have difficulty accessing that support. Throughout my career it has always been important to me to make sure that we always have our ‘directory’ ready to assist people,” James says in explaining why he started the podcast. James and Billy’s goal is to build up the podcast so that it provides another resource for the hill country community to turn to when they are looking to better their mental or physical health. “To know what services are out there and where to go for something matters. There are so many people who feel something is missing or are looking for a service but just don’t know where to go.” This month, James and Billy aired their first episode of Masters in Health. The pair plans to continue recording bi-weekly episodes moving forward.

What Sets James Apart

According to James, those who know him best would describe him as “passionate and persistent in bringing relief and support to others.” It means a lot to James, that people can see how much he invests in his work and how much it truly matters to him. His colleagues would tell you that he is strong at identifying problems and recommending courses of action, but what really sets him apart is that he doesn’t stop with just “recommending.” He helps people identify action steps, and then provides continual support “around, over and through it,” whatever it is that someone is facing. James says ultimately his goal is to be remembered as someone who helped others learn to communicate better. Whether it be in raising their kids, talking with their spouse, interacting with coworkers, or even how they communicate with others in their community. “We can always learn to be better,” he says. “We can always shed the negative we have internalized and replace it with healthier understanding.”

To learn more about Conscious Health and Wellbeing or to inquire about becoming a client, visit James’ website at Conscious Health & Wellbeing. To hear James and Billy on the Masters in Health podcast, visit Masters In Health.

Article by Samantha Morganroth, Program Coordinator, Das Greenhaus

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Published on: Boerne Lifestyle
Published on: Boerne Business Monthly