Nija Jackson, LMSW
I grew up and lived in Queens, New York throughout my childhood and adulthood years. I am the only child to my mother, Pamela; however, I have siblings on my father’s side who I never gotten the chance to build a relationship. I had a strong foundation growing up in a single parent household. Even though I was not raised by my father, my mother instilled strong values and morals that made me who I am today. My entire family is from North Carolina.
I strongly identify myself as a proud African American female. Also, I feel completely comfortable referring as a Black woman because that is who I am. Being black is beautiful and I would not change it for the world.
Initially, I attended LaGuardia Community College to major in Computer Programming and then I decided to change my major to Human Services. I graduated with an Associate’s degree in 2000 and transferred to New York City College of Technology where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2003.
I decided to pursue my graduate studies at Adelphi University, and received my Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Clinical Practice in 2007. Then I went forward to obtaining a Post Master’s in Parent Education & Parent Guidance in 2013.
I am not currently in school, but I may return to school in the future to work on getting a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. As for right now, I have no plans to go back to school. Instead, I am working on getting my LCSW and I have plans to partake in a variety of professional trainings to obtain certifications that will help me enhance my growth in being a better clinician.
When I was a college student, I was going through my own personal struggles. Being in the field has helped me to dig deeper within myself and gain insight into my own challenges and develop ways of healing. I truly want to help others begin their healing journey. Also, I found passion and motivation working in the social work field when I completed professional internships at Women In Need where I provided employment services to individuals experiencing homelessness; and Safe Horizon working with survivors of rape, incest and sexual assault. I knew that I wanted to continue to work in the helping profession.
I demonstrate an appreciation for diversity, sincere compassion and an interest in the individual’s health and psychological well-being. I want to continue guiding and equipping clients with the skills needed to advocate for themselves and to be open to change. I am a firm believer in instilling positive affirmations, and in knowing your self-worth. Being resilient and identifying your strengths makes an individual a valuable asset to society. I enjoy helping people of color develop different ways to express themselves through challenging situations without feeling shame. I strongly believe that providing therapy is not about offering services, it is all about developing solutions for clients to cope and move forward in their personal and professional lives.
I am a NYS Licensed Master Social Worker and I am in the process of preparing to take the License Clinical Social Worker examination. I have established several years of extensive experience working with diverse populations of all ages diagnosed with mental health disorders, autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities in various social service capacities. I am equipped with a comprehensive background in conducting bio-psychosocial assessments as well as providing direct services; case management; crisis intervention, support and counseling. My current professional experience consists of applying my social work and clinical skills to consult with caseworkers and supervisors on complex cases involving vulnerable adults that have been susceptible to abuse, self-neglect, neglect by others and hoarding. Prior, I worked as a medical social worker providing ongoing social work services to a diverse adult population to meet their medical, social and emotional needs of up to 100 patients in a healthcare capacity. My clinical experience began in utilizing the Applied Behavioral Analysis approach. I facilitated one-on-one ABA therapy sessions. I did this with young children with various intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, autism spectrum disorder as well as providing guidance and direction to children in improving their daily living, communication, social play interaction, language and academic while reducing challenging behaviors for intervention and preschool programs. Also, I conducted in home parent training sessions, counseling, psychoeducation and emotional support to families to help them gain an understanding of their child’s clinical diagnosis and collaborated in making appropriate intervention strategies. I have worked with individuals and their families who are dealing with personality disorders; anxiety, depression, difficulty transitioning; adjustment disorders; significant trauma; and other mental health concerns. For the past three years, my experience working at a private psychotherapy practice own by Amira Crawford under LCSW supervision was a phenomenal opportunity because I offered ongoing individual psychotherapy to young girls and women of color utilizing treatment modalities such as mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, strength-based, person-centered approaches and stress management. In my role, I helped clients with coping; problem-solving skills and assist with developing solutions and resource connections. In addition, I volunteer by delivering online academic planning and college advice to high school and college students on a weekly basis as an Academic Advisor within Career Village.
I care about Black people because I am a Black person myself and I embrace my Black culture. We are made of different shades and skin colors which makes us unique human beings. I strongly feel we as Black people are warriors and survivors because we overcome inequalities and adversity. We have experienced tremendous struggle which makes us strong, intelligent, and resilient.
My first experience of racism was when my first-grade teacher who was Caucasian had told me that I was not going to be anything in life. It made me feel sad and hurt that a teacher would be so harsh and critical of me in a negative manner. I was so young and experienced that ordeal. I never told anyone and decided to keep it to myself. As I got older, I knew deep down inside that I would not internalize the harsh statement and begin to conquer the world by showing others that I have the potential to succeed. Even today as an adult, I still can recall the painful memory. Through this experience, I have learned to process my feelings in a healthier way; move forward and not to be so stuck in a person’s ignorance. I know who I am as a human being and I am proud to be me no matter what other people think of me. I strongly believe that a person’s way of thinking has nothing to do with me. I continue to strive and work hard to prove it to myself and society that I am worthy of accomplishing my goals.
In my social work professional career, I’ve helped my clients break through the obstacles that seem to be holding them back in life. Also, I help people identify and achieve their personal goals by coping with the issues that are causing them anxiety and stress. I am trained in Mental Health First Aid and has several professional certificates in the provision of a wide variety of assessments and therapeutic treatment modalities. My clinical approach is based on utilizing a variety of techniques and skills drawn from recognized therapeutic modalities including the Strengths Based Approach; Person Centered Approach; Crisis Intervention; Applied Behavioral Analysis Approach; Psychoeducation; Psychosocial Model and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to address life transitions; adjustment issues; emotional trauma; depressive symptoms; anxiety; internal pain and distress. I continue to complete frequent training and participate in ongoing education to update my clinical skills and knowledge base to be an effective therapist and build a therapeutic alliance with clients.
Being in the Social Work field since 2009, I have come across many clients. What many have shared with me is that I have been resourceful, helpful, understanding and an attentive listener. I can recall when a client expressed to me that I bring positive energy and she can sense that I am a nice person with a caring spirit. Another client stated that I am a breath of fresh air. Clients tend to let their guard down and feel more at ease when I am in their presence.
I am excited to be expecting the arrival of my second child in late October 2020. I like to engage in enjoyable activities such as going to the movies, amusement parks; shopping; bowling; going out to different restaurants and museums. Pottery and creative artwork are my desired activities because it gives me an opportunity to release tension, be relaxed and feel a sense of calmness and serenity. In the future, I hope to start my own life coaching private practice.