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by Jermel Quillopo, staff writer

In mid-December, local Dr. Kaniala Kekaulike joined the HPU family as the founding director of counseling offering counseling and behavior health services to students.

Kekaulike has two bachelor degrees, one in Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa and one in counseling psychology from Chaminade University. He earned his doctorate degree in counseling from Argosy University.

Kekaulike has worked at Tripler Army Medical Center where he completed his doctoral internship. He also completed his doctoral practicum at Hana Community Health Center and worked at UH-Manoa as a academic advisor for the Hawaiian Studies Department. He has even worked for The Department of Education as a therapist and behavior health specialist. Now at HPU, he is creating a counseling and behavior health program from the “ground up.”

Kekaulike said the counseling program he is developing includes individual, group, couple, and family therapy counseling. Kekaulike wants the program to help students deal with issues such as depression, stress management, and alcohol and substance abuse.

Before Kekaulike, there were no counseling program for students at HPU and advisors at the Academic Advising Center took care of these type of problems. However, there were so many inquiries “about counseling that the advisors couldn’t handle it all,” said Kekaulike. HPU had to take action in order to provide students the help that they needed.

“ With the program we want to look at each person as a whole,” said Kekaulike, who wants the program to help each student with their own individual needs. “The services that we offer will look at the person and see how their issues are affecting them all together,” said Kekaulike.

Kekaulike plans to utilize various majors such as psychology and social work in clinical counseling. “Traditionally, interns and post doctoral will participate in increasing their clinical assessment and direct therapy services, as well as participating in various trainings on campus and in the community,” said Kekaulike.

Rev. Dale Burke, HPU’s chaplain, has also partnered with Dr. Kekaulike by providing services to the program. Kekaulike said that Rev. Burke will give students a choice of providers to address their personal issues. Rev. Burke will be available to students who seek a spiritual perspective through counseling.

Kekaulike also mentioned that the counseling program also works closely with the resdent advisors at the Hawai‘i Loa campus’ residence halls, and is set up to respond to crisis situations at HPU.
“ Crisis situations are those in which the students are a danger to themselves and others, like suicidal threats, actions, and harm towards others,” said Kekaulike.

“ I’m impressed with the faculty and staff and how they are very dedicated to the students,” said Kekaulike.

He also is surprised at how the University tends to the students needs. “I wouldn’t come early and then leave late if I didn’t love my job,” he added.

Counseling services are available for registered HPU students. HPU faculty or staff can also contact Dr. Kekaulike for consultations or concerns regarding their students. For more information and scheduling call the Hawai‘i Loa campus (808) 236-3587 or Downtown at (808) 544-1184.




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