How the Wayne Institute Helped Me Grow as a Therapist

By Jeff Yocom, LCSW

 

I cannot overstate how much my work at the Wayne Institute has increased my skill and confidence as a therapist. The greatest benefit I received is that the Institute expanded my therapeutic toolkit by providing a practical model for integrating psychodynamic theory into my practice.  However, my year in the Institute has helped me evolve as a therapist in ways that benefit my clients regardless of the theory or technique I am employing at any given time. I feel much more comfortable and confident in session, and clients respond to that. They stay engaged in treatment and refer new clients, which has really helped me build my practice.

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It’s All About Character

 

It was one of those days, a day made more poignant by my awareness of summer drawing to a close.  By way of marking this transition, my husband and I decided to spend time at a friend’s home on Lake Winnepesaukee and were rewarded by the sight of sparkling water, the laughter of children, and a soft breeze filling the air.  We arrived just in time to embark upon our friends’ honored family tradition, the nightly sunset cruise.  Immediately, I was struck by the intergenerational ease and the order as five dogs, seven adults, and six kids boarded the boat.

Observing the family, I was drawn to seventeen year old Charlie.  You know, one of those kids who grabs you with sweetness and charming good looks, a kid who is poised on the threshold between innocence and adulthood.  As I watched Charlie’s attentiveness to everyone around him, I noticed that in spite of his shyness and soft demeanor, he exhibited a palpable quiet confidence.  Charlie, quick on the uptake as he prevented disaster by stopping one of the dogs from jumping into the boat as it was pulling away from the dock; Charlie, teasing his sister and cousins playfully, Charlie, offering drinks to everyone on board, and helping his grandmother navigate Face Book.  Then later, Charlie clearing the table after dinner, loading the dishwasher, bringing the candlelit cake into the dining room, as we celebrated his grandfather’s 80th birthday.  Read more ›

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The Glorification of Greed

Lately, I’ve been struck by a dramatic decrease in kind-heartedness that seems to have permeated much of the American landscape. It’s as if the tough economic times have exposed a core vulnerability in the human fabric of what we thought was our resilience, resulting all too quickly in a posture of collective resignation and/or a laissez-fare attitude. If I were kind I might describe this core vulnerability as the exposure our collective naiveté. Somehow, in spite of 9/11, we continued to believe that we were (or ought to be) infallible and impermeable. If I were not so kind, I might describe this core vulnerability as the exposure of our collective grandiosity. We ought to be impermeable? We ought to get what we want when we want it? When did ‘I wish I could have’ turn into ‘I deserve to have and have it now’?

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The Rise of Incivility

Have you noticed the dramatic rise of incivility that has permeated the tone of American dialogue?  Whether we focus on bullying, exchanges with shop store clerks or political debate, rudeness, and one-up-mans-ship no longer seems to be the exception to the rule.

As a psychologist, I have grown increasingly alarmed by the subtle war on civility that has been flying under the radar screen for quite some time now.  Maybe we ought to consider this a new form of American terrorism, a sleeper-cell called “us”.

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The Happiness Factor in Aging

Medical science assures us that people are living longer. This is not new news. However, what if we considered this information from a slightly different perspective? Laura Carstensen, the director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, states,“More years were added to the average life expectancy in the 20th century than in all prior millenniacombined!” What is equally interesting is that fertility rates have fallen across the same time period that life expectancy has gone up. By the year 2015, people in the U.S. over the age of 60 surpassed those under the age of 15!

What does this all mean? For one, it means that as increasing numbers of people live into old age, they have the potential to exert greater influence both individually and collectively. It also means that planning for the future after the age of sixty takes on greater significance. Read more ›

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Let’s Stop Using Narcissism As a Four-Letter Word

Have you noticed that the word narcissist has morphed into a term of derision and contempt that is easily thrown around at will?  But how many people really understand where the term comes from or what it means?  How often have we heard, “Her husband is a narcissist,” or “My boss is such a narcissist!”

Understand narcissism from a clinical perspective requires a little historical background.  The clinical etiology of narcissism originated from the Greek myth and was used psychologically to describe relational or environmental circumstances that resulted in one or more of the following: Read more ›

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Teaching Our Children How to Lead an Authentic Life

What is authenticity? Simply put, authenticity is the ability to be true to oneself. Are there conditions or guidelines that parents can follow that will foster the development of a healthy, confident, authentic sense of self in their children? Absolutely, yes!

The expression of an authentic self is measured by the freedom individuals feel to express their unique gifts, talents, ideas, and desires with a relative degree of spontaneity. Read more ›

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Lessons on Maintaining Motivation

For those of you who believe that the millennial generation is just a bunch of entitled slackers with a poor work ethic and no loyalty to anyone other than themselves, let me introduce you to my buddy Josh. Josh is a twenty eight-year old young man who has developed a code to live by. I asked him what he meant by that, and he said that he creates a “Power List” every night before he goes to bed. His Power List consists of writing down ten things that he must complete the next day in order for him to stay focused and achieve his goal.

I asked him, “So, what goes on your list?” He replied, “Anything that I can realistically complete in one day that gets me closer to my goal.” Read more ›

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