Kayne Exemplifies Real Learning for Real Life
By Dan Sheridan
Meet Dr. Jon Kayne, Professor of Clinical Counseling and Psychology at Bellevue University. Bellevue’s Master of Science in Clinical Counseling degree is accredited by CACREP, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Kayne not only teaches the program, he is a practitioner; a living example of Bellevue’s motto – “Real Learning for Real Life.”
Kayne, however, didn’t become what he is today overnight. From his youth, Kayne wanted to serve humanity.
“As long as I can remember, even when I was a kid in school, I wanted to be of service to others. I enjoyed helping others,” he said.
It took Kayne years of hard experiences to figure out the best way to do go about that. He entered college right after high school, but only lasted one semester; college wasn’t a good fit for him at this time in his life, he said. He then tried the military.
“I was one of those idealists who back in those old days joined to serve my country and fellow-citizens,” he said.
Though he enjoyed his military experience, it wasn’t his passion. So, upon his return to civilian life, he tried college again while working a variety of jobs, but he still wasn’t satisfied.
“I was then provided with an opportunity to work in the Middle East, Israel. After a few years working on a border settlement, I came back home and tried college again, but it still didn’t click for me so I became a law enforcement officer. Keep in mind that I joined law enforcement with the mindset that I was going to be helping people.”
Two college tries, the military, law enforcement, and overseas work turned out to be, though he didn’t realize it at the time, necessary life experiences teaching him a very important lesson.
“I came to the realization,” Kayne said, “that the idea of helping people was not a white knight kind of thing where you’re going to rescue people, but instead they really needed someone to listen to them and work with them. With this new realization I was propelled back to college and from that point on there was no stopping me. I got my master’s in clinical social work, then my first job in the field, and while working full time I got my doctorate.”
Kayne was finally living his passion, not with a night stick or M-16, but with his ears providing life-changing service to others. After many years in the clinical counselling field, he came to Bellevue University.
“I joined the Bellevue team in 1987 where I designed the professional studies programs and the accelerated degree programs. The whole time I have been teaching at Bellevue I am also doing private therapy on the side, so I am both faculty and a practitioner. I’m busy and I love it!”
These “side jobs” include seeing vets at Bellevue University’s Military Veteran Service Center; he’s the state wide clinical director through the Nebraska Department of Emergency Medical Services for a critical incident stress management program serving traumatized first responders; and he serves in the Douglas County Jail as an advisor for their veterans unit.
Kayne has watched Bellevue University grow over the last 21 years, especially under the leadership of its President, Dr. Mary Hawkins.
“Dr. Hawkins’ vision has taken this university from being just another private university to being a contender within its class and I am proud to be part of this endeavor.”
Kayne believes Bellevue’s CACREP Accredited Master of Science in Clinical Counseling degree is special.
“What makes Bellevue’s program unique is that just about our entire faculty have ongoing experience seeing clients themselves. Many people who go into college teaching stop doing the counseling and focus on the teaching, we live up to Bellevue’s motto, ‘Real Learning for Real Life.’”
Kayne has touched so many lives, especially his students. Diane Braun, an Adult Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor with Lutheran Family Services (LFS) in Omaha, Nebraska, says of her former Professor and now Mentor,
“Dr. Jon Kayne is my mentor and I am so grateful that I get to continue to work with him in the outside world. I remember the first day I walked into my master’s class, I was so nervous wondering if I should take this big step, I just wanted to run out of the room instead. Then in walks Dr. Kayne calming me through his wisdom by saying ‘the first thing you have to learn how to do is just listen; let them tell their story.’ I never turned back after that. Those simple words stuck with me.”
Upon hearing about testimonies of former students like Braun’s, Kayne thankfully said, “I wouldn’t be doing this if influencing students wasn’t my goal.”
Dr. Kayne encourages those who think they are getting a late start in life. It took him many years to be able to live his passion. “I absolutely believe if I had not done all those things I would not be as good at what I do as I am today.”
Summing up his life’s work, Kayne said,
“I heard a chaplain once sum it up as a ministry of presence. I really believe that. It’s a therapy of just being there for people and listening.”