Doubly Conscious Reflective Practitioner

Written by Jeremiah Page

Halfway through my first unit of CPE, my supervisor told me I was not doing the inner work. I was moved to anger, fear, and a state of confusion because I ensured my verbatims and other assignments were graduate level writings. He explained that I was missing the element of reflection. Cognitive dissonance began working overtime because I had a core belief stating, “You do not talk about the business that happens at home.” However, my supervisor did convey, in the initial interview, that I would be the textbook for the unit. That week, I began my journey as a reflective practitioner. The results: a profound connection with a group of people who will always be with me. Initially, I connected with a retired African American military chaplain male peer who resonated with my reflection to the point of tears. It was the first time a man shed tears in our group. I also began to cry when our two African American women peers joined us. It was a spiritual experience. I fell in love with reflection. In the coming weeks, my reflections became so frequent my supervisor jokingly stated he “created a monster”. It was in that moment, I shared with him that I loved reflection so much I desired to learn how to do his job. Who knew I was creating a CPE learning goal in that moment that I would achieve about eight years later?

Newly certified educator as of Valentine’s Day of 2024, I was invited to reflect in my Phase 2 Integration Interview on a few of the committee’s wonderings. A fellow Jungian noted my appreciation for the concept of W.E.B. DuBois’ concept of double consciousness. He wondered how I reconciled my use of Jung’s concepts of the conscious(ego/persona) and unconscious (shadow) with DuBois’ double consciousness. I, so, appreciated his wondering because it provided opportunity to further synthesize my theory and articulate a concept I live with each day.

Before CPE, I unconsciously navigated the world with the wonderful gift of double consciousness in attempts to remain safe. Society deemed my Blackness unacceptable. So, my Blackness was part of my shadow (unconscious). My Blackness was a source of shame and internalized oppression. For me, double consciousness was about survival. Integrating my beautiful Blackness into my consciousness during my CEC journey was individuation and the work of love.

My newfound awareness via integrating double consciousness has now moved me from survival into transformation. I can own my ego through self-awareness when I present pristinely to build rapport with students. Likewise, I can share challenging empathetic and authentic feedback from my true Self when a student is ready. For Jung, our ego is the center of our conscious and the Self is the center of our entire psyche. Therefore, our conscious has a double center. We can function from our ego or Self through the power of choice. Both components of our psyche are necessary. I am more than double consciousness. I am proudly Black and I am more than Black.

I also see a type of double consciousness in my educational practice when a student teleports to the past and is stuck there. Functioning in the past while in the present is a type of double consciousness. Therefore, students from all demographics experience a type of double consciousness. The best-case scenario is when we use the present to work through the past so that our spiritual care identity is strengthened. That was the courageous work I finally chose in my CEC process that unlocked many of my struggles in that process. An integral part of me is unseen in society causing reason for my double consciousness. The parts of my students that were and often remain unseen may want to continue being unseen for a sense of “safety”. It has been a corrective experience for me, a Black man who has needed double consciousness for survival, to model vulnerability so it becomes a group norm in that students may find courage to be seen. Because of my CEC journey, I enjoy wearing an unzipped hoodie and shirt with tie to the office symbolizing my use of double consciousness.

Realizing all have a shadow, created a sense of psychological safety for me to be vulnerable enough to finish the CEC process. I could better hear most feedback without worrying about the ego or shadow of those offering the feedback. Also, walking with double consciousness is a daily conflict that has resulted in my familiarity with conflict. Ultimately, the words of my beloved and now deceased mentor, Dr. Nicholas Cooper-Lewter, kept me grounded in a process that was not created with the marginalized in mind. He was a psychologist, pastor, author, professor, and wonderful example of a lovingly powerful Black man. He said to me at the outset of my CEC journey, “No one can certify you; they can only certify your work.”. He knew that chattel enslavement never intended me to know who I am at my core. DuBois even likened double consciousness to a type of schizophrenia. However, refusing to become the oppression that society has thrusted upon me, I learn from the collective and continue to grow with hopes and intentions of contributing to a shift of equality and anti-bias across the world. So, I am filled with joy and gratitude to be part of ACPE. I will pay forward the learning gleaned from all who have graciously shared with me in my certification process. My certification did not happen in a vacuum but through differing perspectives of Blackness and beyond.