How did you become interested in this line of work? (tell us a little bit about your background)
This is deeply rooted and complex question. Unconsciously, I believe being a young woman of color in a very patriarchal world and household began the set up for intuitively “learning” how to give others what they need-so I can be “safe.” I truly believe I have been a caretaker and a nurturer for many many years, and only now in my 40s really unpacking boundaries and understanding how to get my needs met without feeling like an “angry black woman” to a larger world.
Consciously, I was part of a peer education group during my undergraduate college years. Here in PEP Peers Educating Peers- we had group therapy work, trauma work, unpacked inner child wounds, discussed our sexuality and abuse histories, and I was introduced into 1:1 therapy. I realized not only was therapy ESSENTIAL and everybody needed it (yes I was that person) but that I was also a natural at holding space and helping people connect more deeply to their wounding AND one another. I grew up in Jersey City, NJ (we stare at NYC) and I grew up with an immigrant mother who is Black & Indigenous Panamanian to whom school was essential; and a poor Irish/ Italian father. So survival was a way of being and living, and part of my own cultural and racial complexity lended itself to understanding the anti-blackness around me, within me and towards me. It is always evolving.
Please share a wellness tip or word of advice that relates to the workshop you will be presenting.
Question Everything. Part of my call to action and process is to become curious. Question theories I am learning, why I am learning, whose theories are these, how do they help me serve the People I work with, and who is excluded from this theory/ framework/ table, etc. I believe firmly that in decolonizing our respective fields-we must first begin within and look at how we have the colonizer’s inside of ourselves, first & foremost.
What or who inspires you? (This could be anything from your mentor to your favorite quote)
I am deeply inspired by Black x Brown mother’s these days. I am not a biological Mother-but I MOTHER many. Even so, during a global pandemic, amidst one’s own workload, homeschooling, holding emotional & energetic space for others AND amidst so much violence on Black x Brown bodies this past year- it has been TIRING, EXHAUSTING & VIOLENT. I am thinking of mother’s grieving for their children, mother’s worrying about whether they will have to grieve for their children and mother’s who are pushing past sickness, poverty, immigration etc. in order to provide for their children. I am especially inspired by mother’s at or below the poverty level. Completely in awe.
What personal or professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Honestly, I am proud of leaving my institution of Higher Education in December and becoming a FT entrepreneur although it had never occurred to me that THIS was a possible path. I am proud of setting boundaries & limits with systemic and institutional violence. I am proud of the ways I am choosing my physical health & my emotional health FIRST. I am proud that I am choosing life and adventure over the Known.
Dr. Jennifer Mullan has a Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies; a Master’s in Counseling & Community Agencies from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Dr. Mullan is currently a full-time Psychologist at New Jersey City University’s Counseling Center. She has 15 years of experience in clinical practice, higher education, teaching and grant writing. MORE
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