I grew up on the windward side of Oahu, which instilled in me a deep love of nature and serenity. Upon graduation from high school, I moved to Ithaca, New York, where I began my studies in Human Development at Cornell University. There, I studied child and adolescent development while also learning about the power of family therapy to bring dramatic healing and change to the lives of families. Through a combination of lay counseling experiences and coursework, I found my calling to become a psychologist. I applied and was accepted to the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.
My time at Fuller consisted of deep discussions on the intersection of Christian faith and psychology, exploring the cultural context of biblical texts, long clinical hours of practical psychotherapy training, and developing an enthusiasm for the Bible (and therapy!) as story. There, I completed my M.A. in Christian Leadership and M.A. in Psychology along with my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a concentration in Family. During my final year, I also received the Sorenson Award for my paper on Welcoming the Christian Story in Narrative Therapy with Children.
While at Fuller I also worked as the Research Director for the College Transition Project conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute. Given the statistic that 40-50% of high school youth group kids leave the faith when they enter college, we examined the factors that led to some kids sticking with their faith, while others left it behind. For my doctoral dissertation, I examined the role that parents play in developing faith that sticks through supportive relationships with their children and conversations about faith. Our results were published in Sticky Faith: Everyday ideas to build lasting faith in your kids, by Dr. Kara Powell and Dr. Chap Clark. You can read more about Sticky Faith and how to build faith that sticks in your child’s life at www.stickyfaith.org.
After graduating from Fuller in 2012, I returned to Honolulu and began my postdoctoral residency at Kaiser Permanente, Behavioral Health Services. During my two-year residency, I served hundreds of families as part of the Child/Adolescent Team, helping kids and teens overcome depression and anxiety and navigate a wide range of social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. I also completed rotations on the Adult Team and the Chemical Dependency Team, which broadened my therapy skills and helped me discover how much I enjoy working with young adults, too.
I received my license to practice psychology independently in 2014, and opened my private practice the following year. I love that private practice offers me the freedom to provide the very best services to my clients, and to tailor our time together to your needs.
When I’m not at work I try my best to take care of myself. I enjoy spending time in nature and pursuing my interests in art, music, and dance. I am an active member of my local church and strive to incorporate and build on spiritual disciplines that help me become a better person, and a better therapist, too.