Doctoral psychology student Schenike Massie, M.A. interviews alumnus Lynn Means, Ph.D.
By Schenike Massie, M.A. and Lynn Means, Ph.D.Dr. Means attended Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies from 1975-1984, and received a Certificate in Psychoanalysis from the Institute in 1990. He continues to stay involved with his alma mater as often as possible. This year, he took on the role of clinical supervisor to current Derner doctoral students. Dr. Means is an active member of the mental health professional community, a successful private practice psychologist and a proud Derner graduate.
SM: What did Derner look like when you attended?
LM: Well, back then there was no Hy Weinberg Center; we were on the top floor of the business building. I remember going up all of the stairs and running into faculty like Dr. Millman. We often ended up talking and climbing the stairs together. There were other faculty members around, like Darryl Feldman, who was the director of the clinic at that time. The clinic used to be in the old counseling building. It was old and worn but very comfortable and it had windows, which was nice. Marty Fisher was around then and taught a Rorschach course; it was great. I came in as a master’s level student, but every day I was faced with something I did not know. It was like coming to a feast. I read everything and took everything in. I remember there was an NIMH grant. We did not have GAs or TAs then; the grant provided financial support for students to attend. Gordon Derner was still at the Institute. Man, he was a character. There was a rumor that he was a ringmaster in a circus before he entered the field. I remember him being really involved—he taught a Sullivan course. George Stricker was teaching the research courses; Pat Ross was teaching statistics but he has been for a long time. Janice Steil and Joe Newirth were around then as well.
SM: Do you remember your group interview?
LM: Of course. Bob and Jerry Gold ran my interview. I remember they invited a woman from Harvard, another male student, and myself [to attend Derner]. It was unusual for them to invite three students from the same group, but they did. There was a really anxious guy to my left, the Harvard woman to the right, and the other guy was across from me. I don’t remember anyone else being in the room besides those three, myself, Jerry and Bob. We discussed our professional relationships. I had experiences with groups so I jumped in the conversation. The guy next to me said something way too tense and anxious. I remember him sinking his own boat.
SM: What is your best Derner memory?
LM: I don’t know if I can pick a best one because there are so many. I really loved it there.
SM: What have you done since you graduated from Derner?
LM: I’ve done a lot of different things. I worked in the New York school districts in Queens and Nassau, I worked with drug and alcohol programs, I was the chief psychologist at Peninsula Counseling Center, and taught classes at Adelphi (Child and Abnormal Psychology) and Patterson Craig. I’ve also had my own private practice for 27 years and counting. I did some research on dual diagnosis, outcomes of cocaine treatment, and short-term psychotherapy. I’ve worked in halfway houses as well.
SM: Wow. If you had to start all over again and apply to doctoral programs, would you choose Derner again?
LM: Oh, yeah! When I went on internship to Kings County there were interns from other New York schools.I found that I had such a better foundation than my peers. They were often lacking conceptualization tools. I was impressed with the preparation Derner gave us.
SM: Do you have any advice for young professionals?
LM: I would say get experience under your belt so you can expose yourself to as many populations as possible. Don’t be afraid of madness and you’ll have a good foundation. It is also important to work around other people if possible.
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