In 1976 Bill Buchanan attended the Religious Consultation and Research Society (RCRS). RCRS later became Psychological Studies Institute (PSI), which then became Richmont Graduate University in 2008 . Even though Bill didn’t finish the semester, thanks to a difficult course in Greek, he made friends he still sees 40 years later; and he’s always had a love for Richmont and its mission. He earned his Masters at the University of Southern Mississippi and then entered the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Georgia State University.
Linda and Bill met at Georgia State University. Linda was pursuing a Masters Degree from Georgia State and a diploma in Christian Counseling from PSI. She and Bill took an Adlerian class together at Georgia State and were surprised to learn they had PSI in common.
After graduating, Linda accepted a position with PSI. She worked at PSI coordinating practicum and community outreach experiences for students. She and Bill then moved to Oklahoma where he completed a doctoral residency and she worked in an alcohol and drug treatment center. The following year, Linda began a doctoral program in counseling psychology at Georgia State. During that time she worked for Atlanta Counseling Center as a therapist and began specializing in eating disorders. After completing her doctoral program, Linda opened the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders which offered day treatment and intensive outpatient treatment programs. Linda worked as a co-owner and clinical director at the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders for 23 years and then sold the program in 2017 to Walden Behavioral Care (WBC). Linda now works for WBC as senior director of clinical services. WBC offers residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient care for the treatment of eating disorders. More about Linda including information on her new book, A Clinician’s Guide to Pathological Ambivalence: How to Be on Your Client’s Side Without Taking a Side, may be found at www.LindaPaulkBuchanan.com.
Bill is in private practice as a clinical and forensic psychologist in Alpharetta at North Point Psychology . He is an Approved Supervisor for AAMFT, and focuses on psychological evaluations and therapy. Many of the evaluations are forensic in nature and include custody, competency, parental fitness, child abuse, and criminal cases including murder and rape. He has testified as an expert witness more than 350 times and recently spent six hours with an inmate on death row.
For nearly 30 years he has supervised doctoral students in clinical psychology. They typically do a year-long practicum and spend two days a week in Bill’s office where they administer psychological tests and learn about assessment and diagnosis. Bill typically has 4-5 doctoral students each year. He has also supervised many Richmont students in marital and family therapy and has served a faculty member at Richmont teaching Psychopathology, Ethics and Professional Issues.
For more than 30 years Bill has been a consultant and supervisor for Eagle Ranch, a children’s home near Gainesville, Georgia. Amazingly, Bruce Burch, the senior counselor at Eagle Ranch, was in class with Bill at RCRS in 1976!
I have loved teaching classes and supervising students at Richmont. I am still in touch with many of the students years later. I also love how Richmont fosters intellectual honesty and rigor in integrating psychology and the Christian faith.
As a Christian getting a degree in psychology at the University of Georgia, I had felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere. My psychology friends did not understand my faith and my Christian friends did not understand my choice of major. Going to PSI, I found a group of people who believed in the integration of the two. I felt like I had a place to belong and I formed very strong relationships with my fellow students.
My words of wisdom would be nothing new, but they are the concepts which have helped me along the way. First, I would tell students to hold onto the belief that God knows His plan for them even when things aren’t working out the way it seemed they would. There were many turns along my path to opening the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders. Second, be sure to have a balance between work and play. Getting the highest grade in the class is not what it’s cracked up to be. Learn for the sake of learning, instead of the grade, and focus on what you think will enable you to be an effective therapist. That will allow you to have time to play and develop longstanding relationships throughout the process.
I think many students, if not most students, come to Richmont stronger in one area and weaker in the other (strong Christian walk or strong foundation in psychology). The natural tendency is to favor one’s strength, but I think that is a mistake. My advice is to focus on the weaker area and learn everything possible. It’s hard, but this will produce the growth you need. Based on my own advice, I guess I need to take New Testament Greek!