Dr. Jessica Moen is a life-long learner and educator who has a natural instructional presence, which allows for effective and honest rapport and clear delivery of content.
Disciplines of Expertise:
Jessica was raised in a household wrought with addiction, abuse, and neglect, but she would earnestly state that her parents “did the best they could with what they had.” Her parents suffered with depression, anxiety, bipolar schizophrenia, suicidal ideation, and eventually early onset dementia; their attempts to cope through self-medication led to multiple addictions, including shopping, sex, drugs, and alcohol. Her father’s struggles with bipolar schizophrenia and suicidal ideation taught her the power of trauma-responsive relationships as well as the necessity of regulation when the possibility of transference and counter-transference exists. In seeking to facilitate healing change for her father, as her guardian, she experienced a lot of frustration with the limitations of the culture of contemporary mental health services, which focused on treating the symptoms, but never resolving the roots of the catalysts of her father’s mental health challenges. She often wonders, with more than a little sadness and remorse, how differently her parents’ lives would have been if they had been raised within trauma-responsive environments; she is confident that a trauma-responsive environment would have saved their lives.
Her interest and passion for Trauma-Informed Care came after her own paralysis and chronic pain stemming from PTSD and an accumulation of ACEs. After seeking answers and relief from mainstream medical practitioners, she was given recommendations for pain medication, but no real possibility of healing past pain management. This did not sit well with her and she began the quest to find and understand the underlying causes of her crippling condition. With the help and support of her family, she was able to work with various body workers and therapists to find a holistic path to healing; it was during this period of time that she learned about the damaging effects of early childhood traumas and the positive potential for wide-scale healing through trauma-informed and responsive practices and environments. Once she became a trauma-informed practitioner, she dedicated herself to improving her own educational organization to ensure students with ACEs are effectively supported as they navigate their own development and integration.
Jessica has been a public school educator for 20 years in varied districts in multiple states. She has earned a Bachelor in Education, a Masters in Multicultural Education, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. She has taught elementary, middle, and high school classes. Currently, she teachers English at a suburban high school and works to expand effective trauma-informed and trauma-responsive classroom, school, and district practices and policies within her own district.
Her philosophy of education is that all students have an intrinsic desire to succeed and to be a positive contribution to the classroom and school communities. When students exhibit unproductive or anti-social behaviors, it is due to root causes that have little to do with the classroom tasks, population, and environment; however, the classroom culture can function through a trauma-responsive perspective to facilitate students in recognizing the actual root of behaviors and then working to heal that root in order to develop productive responses and behaviors.
A trauma-responsive classroom and trauma-informed school becomes a breeding ground for empathy, tolerance, and healing, which allows for whole-student development and meaningful growth. Trauma-informed schools truly display the practice of philosophical teaching: the focus on the healthy development of the individual through relevant and engaging content and not the mindset of teaching content to groups of students. While the American public school system is the hub of community and the catalyst for an informed citizenry, a trauma-responsive school system becomes the catalyst for an informed and regulated citizenry, allowing for complete individuation and maturation.
Mindfulness & Body Work:
Jessica is a yoga instructor with 12 years experience in teaching vinyasa, meditation, restorative, pre-natal, and post-natal styles. She knows the science behind the healing powers of mindful self-connection and integration, which spurs the restructuring and healing of brain synapses and telomeres. She has witnessed situations where a yoga instructor, with the best intentions, re-traumatized participants by creating multiple triggering situations through unsupported postures and insensitive cues. Where yoga holds the potential for integration of self and healing, without active use of trauma-informed and trauma-responsive practices, yoga can be a cause for further injury and triggering. A trauma-informed yoga instructor will learn to hold space for each student in class and provide supportive postures, adjustments, and cues to facilitate a healing culture that follows students beyond the studio doors.
Her work with pre-natal yoga practices and support has sparked a passion for doula and midwifery. She is excited at the potential of using this understanding to support women in clearing traumas before conception in order to experience a fully integrated, intentional, and healthy conception, birth, and post-partum transitions and experiences. Stay tuned as she finishes this training evolution in her own life.