A Conversation with Dr. Justin James / by Alexander Jaime


We had the opportunity of interviewing Dr. Justin James, a New Yorker with a rather inspiring opinion of the self, the importance of the power nap and what makes the perfect man.

What's your first thought when you wake up?

I would like to say my FIRST thought is how excited I am for the day, but it’s actually my second. The first thought, embarrassingly enough, is “What day is it??”. I need to reorient myself to get out of my initial daze.  

How do you deal with tiredness?

I try to avoid this at all costs, especially when I work 6-7 days a week, but sometimes it happens despite my structured and routine sleeping habits. On those days I find a 20 minute power nap after work most effective.

Coffee or tea?

If Snapple counts as tea, then Diet Peach

How can we get the Dr. James physique?

Haha - thank you. I eat healthy and exercise 5 days a week. I haven’t found any shortcuts - it takes hard work and dedication.

What's your favorite sport?

Gymnastics.  I am fascinated how gymnasts can do the wildest tricks. Some look like they are defying gravity.  It’s the closest thing to having superpowers, and who doesn’t love that?!

Gym or personal trainer?

Gym out of habit, but a trainer would be great to learn new routines.  It’s difficult for me to get creative. 

What’s on your iPhone for workout music at the moment?

I like fast-beats to keep my energy up, but also something melodic so it's enjoyable. Right now I have some great remixes of Rufus Du Sol and Aquillo

What do you wear to workout?

Something light. Usually a black tank, shorts and comfortable flyknit sneakers.

How do you describe your personal style?

That’s a good question, I’ve never been asked to label my style. Outside of work, I would say I dress minimalistic and clean.  I also get shy with bright colors and patterns. 




Boxers or briefs?

Actually both! Briefs with jeans, and boxers with scrubs.

A fragrance?

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille.

What's your favorite body part? And your least favorite?

I would say my face is both my favorite and least favorite. Not any part in particular but overall. My face is the first thing people see and it’s important to showcase and be proud of that. It’s my least favorite for the same reason. Good skin care takes time and maintaining my beard can be a chore. 


What made you become a psychiatrist, and what is the most challenging aspect of it and the most rewarding thing about it?

I applied to medical school knowing I wanted to be a psychiatrist. I had a passion for mental health and human behavior since freshman year in college. I think my curiosity stemmed from Real World Seattle when I was 12 years old, and seeing Stephen slap Irene in the car and thought “What the hell were they thinking?!”. It’s a strange memory, I know, but it got me thinking. 

I would say that the most challenging thing is that the problems I encounter each day are personal, and often relatable. It isn't about dealing with a broken foot or torn ligament (no offense to my fellow orthopedic surgeons). I am managing people's emotions, thoughts, and fears. The situations hit much closer to home. Those are all struggles we deal with as humans and they can be complicated. There is no exact science to dealing with the mind, at least not yet. 

I think one rewarding piece is the ability to give my patients tools to lead happy, stable lives. The best thing I can hope for is the point in which a patient reached optimal benefit from treatment and has best quality of life.

Where do you go to switch off?

I live in New York City, so sometimes it’s hard to find a place to completely switch off – but being alone is usually my best option. Whether it’s walking through a pretty neighborhood, visiting the park, or just closing the door to my room and reading – if I can get myself to a place where I am alone, it’s easier to switch.

What makes a perfect man?

Humility, Happiness and Confidence. It’s not impossible to transform yourself physically to become the best version. What makes a man perfect is the awareness that we are all the same and we are all in this together. Men who are happy with themselves and their lives, who are naturally confident, are attractive. Lastly, the perfect man looks out for others and does the right thing even if no one is looking.