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James McLintock is accepting new clients. He specializes in working with couples, adult males, military and emergency personnel. Courtesy photo
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Easing the guilt and shame of asking for help

“I was scared to death and I didn’t know who to turn to,” James McLintock said. “I needed help, I needed to talk to somebody.” In the years prior to becoming a therapist, McLintock’s career trajectory led to him saving many lives. But suddenly he found himself in need of help — a feeling he will never forget.

“I was in law enforcement at the time,” he said. “I had been a lifeguard previous to that. “I felt like I should have it figured out, and yet I was spiraling down.” It took a few tries before he found a therapist he connected with and he was able to work on himself. “I learned the sooner you can get rid of guilt and shame, the better,” McLintock said. “When guilt and shame have no more voice, that’s when the real healing can begin.”

In his work with couples, adult males, law enforcement, fire service and other emergency professionals, McLintock is able to draw from a lifetime of personal and career experience to help people who are lost and struggling. “I remember vividly how it felt to be in that dark place,” he said. “I know how hard it is to reach out. It takes tremendous courage to call and ask for help. I want to make that journey so easy for my clients. I want them to feel safe to be vulnerable.”

Recognizing that connecting with clients is crucial to the process, McLintock makes a point to get his clients the best help possible, whether it’s with him or not. “If I can’t help you, I know ‘who’s who in the zoo,’” he said with a laugh. “I grew up here, and I’ve been in the field for many years. I can connect you with the help you need. I’m here for you.”

With McLintock, what you see is what you get. His website shows images of him at various points in his life, because he wants to connect with his clients. “I want people to see these are my experiences in life,” he said. “I am told I am really down to earth. I try to meet people at their level.” His accessibility and willingness to be vulnerable with his clients allows them to reciprocate.

“I want to connect with folks having a rough season of life,” McLintock said. “Whether they are hurting from a divorce or the end of a relationship, suffering from depression or anxiety, or are lost in their life or marriage. Anyone who doesn’t know which direction to go, I want to help.”

One thing McLintock sees often is that people tend to suffer for many years before deciding to get help. This is especially true with couples. “It’s so interesting to me that when I work with couples, they are waiting five, 10, even 15 years while enduring relationship issues,” he said. “I’m such a fan of working early in the relationship. The moment there is tension, a struggle a couple can’t solve themselves. I try to get them to see things with a different set of eyes.” He said it’s possible to mend and improve relationships, even when infidelity is involved.

“There’s nothing more painful than a broken heart or spirit,” McLintock said. “That’s what people are enduring when there’s a tear in the fabric of their hearts from infidelity, porn — even sexting. I have worked with couples who’ve been able to take a step back and re-launch their relationships. It takes patience, mercy and the courage to be vulnerable while re-learning how to have each other’s backs.”

He said his job is to understand you’re hurting and dive into your heart. “Grace and mercy,” he reiterates. “Often it’s not that one person is seeing it wrong. There is validity to each person’s perspective. If you’re willing to do the work, you can get the spark back. It may be buried, but you can have that relationship again. Even a better one. That’s the beautiful thing about the work I do.”

McLintock is accepting new clients and urges anyone who is suffering to give him a call. He specializes in working with couples, adult males, military and emergency personnel. His office is in Carlsbad and he can be reached at (760) 212-0444 or [email protected]. To learn more about him, visit

(James McLintock MA Clinical Psychology is a Registered Marriage & Family Therapy Intern IMF# 74183 and is supervised by Kathryn Kirk  MA, LMFT, MFC# 44312).

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