West Maui Counseling Center looks to fill healthcare gap
LAHAINA — Seeking to improve access to mental health care on the West Side, Clinical Psychologist Kelly C. Doty recently opened the West Maui Counseling Center in Lahaina.
“Healthcare is an important issue for our West Maui community, and to my knowledge, there are few options for quality mental health care on the West Side,” she noted.
Services provided include individual, couple and family therapy; group therapy, including counseling teenage victims of bullying, Women’s Talk Story Group, Trauma Recovery Group and Interpersonal Growth Group; behavioral medicine/chronic disease management; psychological evaluations; and crisis intervention/debriefing.
She specializes in adolescent and adult psychological services. As a generalist psychologist, she can work with clients who have various different mental health issues.
“I have specialized experience and training in helping people recover from traumatic stress,” she added.
Dr. Doty opened her practice here for both personal and professional reasons. Her fiancé, Aaron Harnick, has been a West Maui resident for over 20 years and has roots in the area.
“It was a natural fit for me to start my practice here, where there were very few resources for mental health treatment,” she said.
“I am hoping that by opening WMCC, it will improve access to quality mental health care for West Side residents and reduce the burden of commuting to the other side to see a psychologist. I also want to work towards reducing the stigma around mental health issues.”
In addition to her 181 Lahainaluna Road practice, Dr. Doty works two days a week as a staff psychologist at Molokai Community Health Center.
Before moving to the West Side, she practiced at Hana Community Health Center from 2008-11, serving the residents of rural East Maui.
She said residents in remote communities face access hurdles to receive therapy or treatment.
“Mental health treatment usually involves a course of psychotherapy over time, and a large part of what makes therapy effective is the relationship you build with your psychologist over multiple sessions. This means that if you live in a rural community, it is more difficult to attend treatment sessions with the added time commitment and difficulty of a commute,” she explained.
“Most people cannot take off work every week for three to four hours to commute to Kahului and back to attend weekly sessions, which prevents them from getting the help they need.”
Licensed as a psychologist in the State of Hawaii, Dr. Doty earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park.
She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Notre Dame and postdoctoral clinical fellowship at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Just last week, she received word that she passed her final board certification exam and is now Board Certified in Clinical Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, a credential above licensure.
She is pleased to be up and running in Lahaina and serving residents in the community.
“I love the idea that I can serve the people who really need it. I think it is especially rewarding to be able to fill a gap for a community with difficulty accessing mental health care,” she commented.
“Mental health has such a significant impact on our overall health — it is an important gap to fill.”
For information, visit www.westmauicounselingcenter.com or call (808) 280-4192.