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Richmont Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Keith Myers

A Moment with Dr. Keith Myers


Dr. Keith Myers, Dean of Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor of Richmont Graduate University

1. What are your roles at Richmont Graduate University?

Yes, I work in two roles at Richmont. My first role is Associate Professor. This includes primarily teaching and advising students. I see both teaching and advising as equally vital to mentoring and developing students.

First, teaching in the classroom imparts theoretical and empirical knowledge while applying that knowledge to a real world clinical context. It’s teaching students how to sit with people in the midst of their darkness, and how to celebrate their joys and victories, and everything in between.  Teaching is the primary reason I went back to school for my Ph.D. in my late 30s, and I’m so thankful I can teach at such a vibrant and strong community.

Second, I work from a developmental and interpersonal approach in my advising. I have a great passion for mentoring students in their professional careers, while providing support during their management of life. In my mind, advising is where the personal and professional most collide during their Richmont experience. Advising also provides important touch points for the student while navigating what can be a difficult program both academically and intrapersonally.

2. What do you love about working at Richmont Graduate University?

Well, that’s a good question. As I’ve recently begun my 5th year at Richmont, I’ve reflected on this several times. My love is mostly about the people. We have a wonderful faculty…you might be surprised how much this is not the case across academia. So yes, I enjoy collaborating about teaching, writing, and mentoring students with our top-notch faculty.  Our staff is also at the top of the game and should not be forgotten. They are usually juggling at least two hats and help us do the day-to-day operations. It’s nice to have a President who supports the faculty and serves as a visionary in making our university a national treasure and helping us develop a plan to achieve that goal.  And then, for me chiefly, it’s the care for the students. Due to COVID-19, when we had to transition to fully online in most of the Spring and all of Summer, I missed the professional and personal interactions with the students and their presence in the classrooms. We have some of the finest, brightest, most resilient, and loving students bar none! And you know when these traits show the most? They show most when they begin sitting with clients in the sacred ground of darkness, and that is something I’m proudest of as I get to have a hand in that process of their becoming mental health first responders.

So essentially, this all comes down to what a lot of others have already noted that is distinctive at Richmont – we are RICH in community. And for that, it feels like this will be my academic home for a long time.

3. Many people are experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression due to the current global pandemic. Do you have any tips to help?

Absolutely, it’s such a stressful time for many people during this season of uncertainty on so many levels.  For me, I’m noticing that it is easy to get out of rhythm or balance with everything going on now. So it has been helpful to remind myself to partake in an established Sabbath, a 24-hour period where I don’t do any work. I reflect about what God has done, and I spend time with family. This has a re-centering effect of sorts. Of course, I encourage those of us to continue with or reengage with therapy as these times have a way of evoking our shadow and personal issues. These two have been helpful for me. But, I think the most important piece in all of this collective traumatic experience is to give ourselves grace.

4. You have served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Military & Government Counseling Association (MGCA), a division of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Why are you passionate about counseling or mental health therapy for military veterans?

Well, it’s been an interesting journey. I tell students that I didn’t find my professional identity/niche until I had practiced 10 years in the field (So if that’s you reading this as a clinician, don’t give up!). After a few months of being unemployed, I secured a job at the Shepherd Center, a top-notch catastrophic care hospital in Atlanta for traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. At Shepherd Center, they have an excellent residential program for military members who acquired a brain injury during their service. It was shortly after I started there, that I realized that this population and acquiring additional training in trauma treatment deeply resonated with me.  Personally, I realized why this was the case.  My dad served in the Navy during WWII and both of my brothers served in various branches, and I realized that this was a good professional and personal fit for me due to the unique things about military culture and values that fit with who I was as a person.  So serving on the Board of Directors with the Military & Government Counseling Association for two years made sense to me while empowering more counselors to get into military work.

Counseling Veterans5. I understand you are recently published, tell us more about the book?

I am so excited to talk about my first published book, Counseling veterans: A practical guide.  This project was a labor of love with my co-author, Dr. David Lane. This book is primarily for graduate students who are training to serve in the mental health professions or for clinicians who want to obtain an introduction to the population and common clinical issues that arise.  Each chapter includes a feature called Veteran Voices. This feature is taken from interviews with veterans about the chapter’s topic and really makes the material come alive. Other features include counseling sessions at a glance which provide a case vignette and a glimpse into what an actual session might look like exploring the topic at-hand. It is published by Cognella Academic Press, and readers can obtain a copy here: https://titles.cognella.com/counseling-veterans-9781793516268

Richmont Graduate University Confronts Injustice With Education, Dialogue, and Encouragement to Compassionate Action

The Richmont Graduate University community, with campuses in both Atlanta, GA, and Chattanooga, TN, is addressing head-on social injustice following the death of George Floyd and the protests it fueled across the country. Like many across the nation, the Richmont community is shocked, hurt, anxious, and committed to taking healing action. A specialized, faith-based university focused exclusively on Christian counseling and ministry, events of the last week became a call-to-action for our students, faculty, staff, and all people of conscience.

Dear Richmont Community,

We have collectively struggled through the sobering reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Difficult as this experience has been, recent tragic events in our nation have tested us even further. As followers of Christ, we must acknowledge the truth of these troubling events. More importantly, we must reaffirm our shared quest for a just, compassionate, and equitable society. Our faith makes this pursuit attainable.

Richmont is committed to being a safe and affirming place where every person matters. As a body of believers, when any part of us is hurting, we all feel the pain. To be part of the cure, we must rely on prayer, education, and action. We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to better understand the realities of present-day injustice and take positive action, starting with these steps:

1. Continue to Pray. Pray for true healing, reconciliation, and – most of all – true change in our nation.

2. Educate Yourself. Learn about the history of injustice in the United States and around the world. Do your research. Read books, subscribe to podcasts, and listen to those who continue to experience injustice in their lives.

3. Take Action. Talk with others who desire to be similarly committed, and work to find your unique avenue for social advocacy.

Dr. Timothy Quinnan, President
Dr. Sonja Sutherland, Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion
Dr. Amanda Blackburn, Dean of Students

 

Richmont’s 2020 Spring Commencement Postponed

Each year, the Richmont Graduate University community joyfully gathers to celebrate the signature achievement – graduation – of our School of Counseling and School of Ministry students. As we looked toward our annual commencement ceremony, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a source of deep concern for all. Preemptive prevention is the approach we adopted this semester to protect our students, staff, and faculty. It is premature to abandon that strategy now.

All our actions have aligned with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, as well as complied with the city, county, and state-wide shelter-in-place proclamations. With this in mind, then, Richmont will not hold commencement on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

Dr. Timothy Quinnan, President of Richmont states, “We understand that this news may disappoint some of you. However, our core aim remains the health of students, as well as their family members who would have attended the ceremony. Like other universities also committed to avoiding large public gatherings, commencement will be postponed to a later date, possibly in the early fall. These are trying times, but with faith in God, prayer, and, of course, continued adherence to public health guidelines, I am certain better days are just ahead.”

For more information regarding Richmont Graduate University, please visit www.Richmont.edu.

RICHMONT CARES: A Letter to our Chattanooga Family, from our President

Dear Richmont Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Although the Richmont Chattanooga campus escaped damage from the April 12th tornado, some members of the Richmont community have been significantly impacted. Following the storm that hit Chattanooga during early morning hours, some have lost their homes or have incurred significant damage, and many remain without power. Our care and concern are with all members of the Richmont family who continue to be affected by Sunday’s devastating storms. Our hearts also go out to our neighbors across Chattanooga who are experiencing the impact of this tragedy.

Richmont classes and programming are proceeding as scheduled this week, but we understand that many students and employees face significant difficulties in attending work and class, and in completing assignments. University officials and professors will be flexible and understanding regarding the challenges faced by employees and students. Students and staff are encouraged to contact their faculty advisor and/or supervisor to let them know individual situations.

Throughout the week, as the extent of storm damage and the associated impact to our students, faculty and staff, and others in our community has been revealed, I’m reminded of how well our community cares for those in need. Thank you to everyone who has been helping or offering to help find ways to meet practical needs within our community in response to this tragedy. University officials continue to reach out to students, faculty, and staff to determine the impact for, and provide assistance to, those who are affected.

Richmont community members who have been impacted should reach out to the emergency student fund for assistance by applying here: https://www.richmont.edu/current-students/student-emergency-fund/.

Best wishes and blessings,

Dr. Timothy Quinnan
President
Richmont Graduate University

Tips for Reducing Coronavirus Anxiety

Whenever there is distressing or concerning news, it is always helpful for us to find ways to manage our anxiety. As many of us are aware the World Health Organization has issued that COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is now a global pandemic.

While this is understandably frightening for many, it is going to be essential to take care of our mental and physical health throughout this time.

Below you will find several tips on reducing anxiety about Coronavirus:

  • Keep perspective. When you’re too close to something, it looks really big. Take a step back and acknowledge what areas that you have some level of control in the actions that you take.
  • Be careful about how much you focus on this versus the other important things in your life. Try to find a balance so that you are not overwhelming yourself with stress that this might cause.
  • Don’t fear the fear itself. Stay grounded by engaging in meditative/relaxing activities to alleviate any stress that this current climate might cause.
  • Do what you can. Get prepared to a reasonable degree.
  • Stay healthy and make good health choices. This looks like washing your hands for 20 seconds under warm water and staying away from others if you are sick. Communities and states are issuing daily guidelines for how to best distance yourself and keep ourselves and communities healthy.
  • Get help from a doctor if you need it. If you’re worried about your health, take the necessary steps to seek care. Most doctors are utilizing online chats to determine best steps forward.
  • Stay connected. Fears grow in the dark. Staying connected to others helps you stay grounded and calm.
  • Surround yourself with people and resources that help alleviate your fear and not increase it. Don’t hesitate to seek help from a counselor if you can’t keep your fear/anxiety in the “green zone.” GROW Counseling has many options for providing you the best care during these days, so reach out to us to inquire about your options!

Jasmine Tyson

Grow Counseling


Distance Counseling

Through HIPAA compliant platforms, counselors specifically trained in telemental health counseling are ready to provide you with high-quality mental health care and coaching in order to address a variety of issues and concerns. If you’re interested in finding out more about the distance counseling or coaching practice, click here to email Dr. Keith Myers, Dean of Counseling.

Coronavirus Update

Dear Students, Staff, Faculty, and Friends,

The swiftly evolving situation with the COVID-19 virus has been a cause of serious concern for University leadership. Nothing is more important to us than the health, wellness, and safety of each of you. With that in mind, we have been carefully monitoring the Center for Disease Control (CDC) briefings in real-time, finishing contingency plans, and consulting extensively with public health officials in both Atlanta and Chattanooga.

From the information available and medical expertise shared with us, the best course of action at this stage is a preventative one that minimizes the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on our campus or at our counseling centers. Here is how we will achieve it:

Starting Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 27th, all in-person, on-campus instruction, counseling, and administrative work activities will be suspended for a two-week period. The University leadership plans to resume in-person activity at both campuses on March 30th. During that time, we will vigilantly monitor further developments and counsel from the CDC.

During this temporary suspension of campus activity, course instruction, learning support, tele-counseling, and administration will move to an online platform and be done remotely from home. Students should experience minimal to no interruption of services. Faculty and staff will be equipped with the capabilities to continue to work effectively. Our Hope, Henegar, and Trauma counseling centers will also continue through tele-counseling outreach.

The Deans of the School of Counseling and the School of Ministry will coordinate communication to students with faculty providing detailed instructions on accessing course material through CAMS and answering any other academic questions. Similarly, you will also receive supporting communications from the Vice-President for Information Technology, as well as a virtual wellness check from our Dean of Students.

For counseling center clinicians, student interns, and support staff, you will receive further instructions on working remotely as well as trainings for tele-counseling from the Dean of Clinical Affairs or the Dean of the Richmont Trauma Center.

In shifting from an interpersonal to an online modality for the next two weeks, we understand there will be questions and some challenges. Feel free to direct them to the Deans, their staff and faculties, or the Dean of Students. For this reason, we will also keep in regular communication to share news and updates.

May God keep you and bless our University,

Dr. Timothy Quinnan
President
Richmont Graduate University

Richmont Graduate University Hosts 66th Annual CAPS Conference

Richmont Graduate University is a host institution set to present the 66th Annual Christian Association for Psychological Studies Conference. The CAPS Conference will take place March 12 – March 14, 2020 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Atlanta, GA.

This year’s conference promises to a series filled with training, stimulating dialogue, inspiring spiritual direction, and professional networking. There will be expert mental health professionals from all over North America presenting plenary sessions, invited lectures and workshops.

Richmont’s Dean of Assessment, Planning & Accreditation, Dr. Sonja Sutherland, is featured as a 2020 Invited Distinguished Scholar & Master Therapist. Other distinguished Richmont faculty and students will be present, as well.

For more information regarding the 66th Annual Christian Association for Psychological Studies Conference, please visit https://www.caps.net/conferences/.

Dr. Gary W. Moon, Richmont’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Spirituality, Wins Book Award

Atlanta, GA., US /February 3, 2020/ Dr. Gary W. Moon, Richmont Graduate University’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Christian Spirituality, was recently honored by the Dallas Willard Center for Spiritual Formation at Westmont as co-winner of its annual book award for his biography, “Becoming Dallas Willard.”

Click here for more information regarding Dr. Moon’s award.

Richmont’s Dr. Vanessa Snyder, VP of Richmont Institute of Trauma & Recovery, Featured In Voyage ATL

Atlanta, GA., US /February 3, 2020/ Recently, Dr. Vanessa Snyder, Vice President of the Richmont Institute of Trauma & Recovery was featured in the Voyage ATL, a digital magazine. In the feature, Dr. Snyder discusses her journey with Richmont Graduate University and our Institute of Trauma & Recovery in great detail.

To read the story, visit the Voyage ATL link below:
http://voyageatl.com/interview/life-work-vanessa-snyder/

Richmont Graduate University Publishes Diversity Statement

Atlanta, GA., US /January 20, 2020/ Richmont Graduate University, a renowned Christian university offering specialized professional degrees and certificates, has published a Statement on Diversity. With its 80-year history of transformational work in the Atlanta, GA, and Chattanooga, TN communities, Richmont leaders, staff, and students felt the call to publicly affirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Drafted by a panel of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, President Timothy Quinnan presented the Statement to the Board of Trustees who formally approved it during their December 2019 meeting. As an established leader in Christ-centered counseling and ministry education, and a university of first-choice for top talent, the Statement reflects this continuing quest for excellence with these words:

Richmont is committed to the intentional creation of an environment of belonging that celebrates the uniqueness and diversity of our students, faculty, and staff, with the goal of advancing God’s healing, restoration, and transformation in the lives of individuals, families, churches, and communities.

Dr. Sonja Sutherland, Richmont’s Dean of Assessment, Planning & Accreditation comments, “Our statement represents the university’s ongoing and intentional pursuit of excellence.  In our commitment to embracing diversity and cultivating an environment of safety and inclusion, we seek to create a sense of “home” for all our faculty, staff, students, and alumni.  I am confident and excited about the strides Richmont will continue to make in meeting the diversity and inclusion needs within the institution and the community at large.”

For more information regarding Richmont Graduate University and forthcoming initiatives, please visit www.Richmont.edu.

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Contact: Richmont Communications

Cell: 404.496.1580

Phone: 404.835.6118

Email: communications@richmont.edu

Website: www.Richmont.edu

Founded in 1933, Richmont Graduate University enhances a culture of higher education and innovation, providing master’s level degrees in counseling, ministry, and psychological studies from a Christian perspective. Richmont integrates education and research that advances God’s work of healing, restoration, and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches, and communities. Our belief is that our students should walk into their future careers with a foundation based on the values set before us by Christ. For more information about Richmont’s graduate programs in our school of counseling and school of ministry, please visit www.Richmont.edu.