Randall “Randy” Meadows LCSW (E&H ’88) talks to a lot of people during a day’s work. He’s a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, and part of his week is spent doing outpatient psychiatry Kaiser Permanente Medical Group; his role there is as a crisis therapist and he deals with things like work stress, panic attacks, and suicidal and homicidal impulses.
He also has a private practice where he does weekly therapy with individuals seeking personal internal growth. He says therapy is a “strange thing. It is a very intense relationship with a lot of boundaries.” But despite the angst he deals with daily, he doesn’t get frustrated because he has seen so many people grow and succeed past current problems. “I routinely see people overcome their challenges.”
In fact, he sees his role as a privilege. “I’m fortunate: I get to see behind the masks of janitors, lawyers, and movie stars. In one conversation, a janitor may be worried about being judged by the head janitor while a movie star is worried about being judged by Jack Nicholson. We are all pretty much the same on the inside.”
Randy majored in economics and political science at Emory & Henry. And even though he wasn’t loving the program he had nearly completed his MBA at the University of Maryland when his father died. This big life event made him realize life was short and gave him need for some time to reflect; he entered therapy. He was so impressed by the process that he decided to go into the profession.
Randy didn’t get a background in psychology at Emory & Henry, but he credits the College (particularly the political science department) for preparing him for a meaningful adult life. He loves living in the melting pot of Los Angeles, and says his E&H classes started him on the process of embracing the joys of living in a “liberal and inclusive” community. A self-declared Republican when he came to Emory & Henry, Randy recalls a day in class when Dr. Steve Fisher listened closely to what Randy was expressing and said, “You know you’re not a Republican, right?” He gave Randy a stack of books to read that paved the way for the rest of his life. He says his professors never tried to sway his thinking, but they challenged him to “make educated decisions.”
It’s not all work for Randy, and he says he plays as hard as he works. He says Los Angeles has an amazing array of cultural offerings including “theatre, concerts, museums” and more. And he takes full advantage of the California climate: “I can have breakfast at the beach, drive up the mountain to snowboard in the afternoon, and drive down the mountain for evening cocktails by the pool in the desert!” All in a day’s work.