Felician Doctoral Students Featured in NJ Psychologist

Felician Doctoral Students Featured in NJ Psychologist



RUTHERFORD, NJ – Felician University is proud to announce that students in the Doctoral Program of Psychology were featured in the Fall 2021 edition of the periodical, NJ Psychologist.


Director of Clinical Training in the Doctorate in Counseling Psychology program, Dr. Nouriman Ghahary, provided the introduction for the feature entitled, All Systems Affected: The Multidimension Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Lives of Doctoral Psychology Students. The conference, Contributions of Psychology to Creating a Just Society: Diversity, Social Justice, and Resilience, held in the spring of 2021, focused on diversity issues and injustices in current society affecting the field of psychology.


The article included the narratives by six Felician students who shared their experiences at the conference. Dr. Ghahary wrote, “they [the students] depicted how they had been affected by the multidimensions of the everyday life demands, privilege and prejudice, responsibilities as students and clinicians, and a deadly and isolating pandemic.” Nia Driver, MS, who is a second-year counseling psychology doctoral student; Marlene Taylor-Edghill, MA, who is a fifth-year counseling psychology doctoral student; Brendan Guarino, MA, LAC, who’s in his fourth year as a counseling psychology doctoral student; Vanvian Hoo, LCSW, who is a third-year counseling psychology doctoral student; Diana Spieker, MA, LAC, who is in her second year as a counseling psychology doctoral student and Suryia Parmanand, MA, EdS, who is a third-year counseling psychology doctoral student were the spotlighted speakers and writers.


Nia Driver, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the height of pandemic, discussed the racial disparity that she, as an African American woman, experienced in all aspects of healthcare leading up to her diagnosis. Driver writes how these experiences and injustices have affected her, mentally and emotionally, and both positively and negatively. In coping with health, safety, and the pandemic, she wrote in her article, My Personal Experience as an African American Woman, “My experience with my health and Black Lives Matter made me realize that everyone deserves equality, and everyone deserves to be heard and cared for.”


The Social Justice of COVID-19 by Marlene Taylor-Edghill, examined the inequalities and disproportionate amount of disease and death within Black, Latino, Native American, and impoverished communities. She wrote, “There is an opportunity to move our field forward, as we deepen our commitment to action and influence other disciplines within psychology to effectively reduce systemic oppression and promote equity and justice.”


Brendan Guarino described in his piece, Parenting During the Pandemic: Being Comfortable in an Uncomfortable Situation, the responsibilities and challenges that not only arise from being a new parent but experiencing that during a pandemic. He wrote, “I, myself, was challenged to not only shift the way I worked with my clients, but also to become creative in providing strategies to help them manage their daily stressors and uncertainties.”


In Vanvian Hoo’s article, entitled, Do You See Me? Making the Invisible, Visible, she discusses racism and mental health challenges within the Asian community that increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I felt the same anger and frustration as my patients, and became aware of the parallel process of recollecting past discriminatory experiences and experiencing present microaggressions and microassaults,” she wrote.


Diana Spieker stated in her article, Health and Diversity, “COVID-19 is a challenge for us because it is touching our vulnerabilities at their core.” She speaks about the struggles she has faced during the pandemic with her own autoimmune disease and how she managed to cope with her mental as well as, physical health.


The last author, Suryia Parmanand, in her piece, Recognizing My Privilege as a Social Justice Supporter, spoke about her quick accessibility to masks and vaccines. She compared herself to her patients, whom she sits opposite from. She writes, “As a psychology doctoral student, the plethora of atrocities from this last year has signified the importance of recognizing my privilege, particularly within the therapeutic relationship.”


To read their full articles, featured on pages 36-44, click here.


To learn more about Felician’s Doctoral Program of Psychology, click here.

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