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Meet Our Therapists

How We Work

Pono Roots Counseling Center is as therapy and training center. Each PRCC therapist is selected for their ability to provide truly transformative client services.  PRCC team members have more than ample life, educational, and hands-on clinical experience. As the lead and supervising therapist, Kristine works with each client on initial intake, assessment, and treatment planning while supporting the client's therapist throughout the treatment time. Kristine conducts weekly individual supervision with each therapist, as well as monthly group supervision. 

Kristine Altwies


Meet our Team




Kristine Altwies, MA/LMFT

Clinical Director


Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History/German

from Kalamazoo College, and a Michigan Secondary Teaching

Certificate; a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from

Argosy University, and Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure in the

State of Hawaii, Michigan and New Jersey. I am pursuing my Ph.D. in

Family Systems Psychology at the University of Louisiana/Monroe.

I am an AAMFT qualified supervisor. I am EMDR trained.

Experience: Prior to starting PRCC, I worked in adoption as the Executive 

Director of Hawai’i International Child Placement and Family Services,

Inc. (HIC) and coordinated adoptions around the globe. On that journey

I worked with children and families as a parent trainer, therapist and 

coach. In addition, I’ve worked as a sex abuse treatment therapist 

specializing in work with perpetrators and victims. Prior to that I was a

secondary education teacher (public and private schools) and was 

managing editor of the Wiley Encyclopedia of Psychology (2nd Ed.). 

Beliefs: I believe every person is born perfect, and the challenges we experience along the way come at the hands of others,  managed with greater or lesser success in our own hearts, minds and bodies. I know that coming to understand, accept and love ourselves is key to mental and physical health.  I believe in the importance of conscientious parenting,  and encouraging curiosity in children. I believe the best therapeutic relationships are collaborate and cooperative. Since we all come from a family, of one sort or another, I believe in the importance of understanding these origins in order to achieve optimal personal insight. I believe in the power of the human being to heal and thrive, and also understand that many of us carry heavy loads.

Approach:  I am a family systems therapist, with an affinity to Internal Family Systems (IFS), Narrative, trauma-informed, social emotional learning, Strategic, Cognitive Behavioral systems and somatic awareness work. I am EMDR trained, and a member of EMDRIA.  I use a strengths-based approach in parenting. Our thoughts, dreams and family histories matter, and can aid self-discovery. My role in the counseling room is to listen, reflect back, and draw out truths. I am not an expert, I am a supporter who aims to deeply understand you.

Clients: Couples, teens, individuals ages 18+.  I am LGBTQIA+ supportive and connected. I embrace all religious affiliations, believe in body-positivity, and love all ages and stages of the human experience.  I welcome any family experiencing concerns about their neuro-diverse children, or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs).

Languages: I offer treatment in English, and can understand basic German.

Fees: $250+ hour, sliding scale available. I accept  HMSA, UHA, HMAA, and Tricare West.

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  • EMDR

  • Anxiety/Panic 

  • Depression

  • Adoption/Family of Origin

  • Marriage/Relationship support

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Eating Issues

  • Parenting

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Spirituality

  • Gender Identity Support

  • LGBTQIA+ Support

  • Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

  • Other Issues 

  • Depression

  • Military Transitions 

  • Relationship Difficulties

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Parenting

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • College/Graduate School Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Spirituality

  • Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

  • Family Conflict

  • Anxiety

  • Marital and Premarital

  • Men's Issues


Karisa Yoshida, MSCP, MFT-I

Pre-Licensed Counselor

Education: I have a Master of Science degree in Counseling

Psychology from Chaminade University with a focus in

Marriage and Family. I also have a BA in Business Administration

from Argosy University and have completed the Leeward

Community College Certificate of Substance Abuse

Counseling Program. I am currently working on my Ph.D. in Marriage

and Family at Chaminade University.


Experience: My work experience includes supporting clients from the

Sex Abuse Treatment Center, Family Peace Center for domestic

violence, and Care Hawai'i for substance use. I have experience with

individual therapy and group therapy. Other experience includes

several years working as an instructor or martial arts for children and

adults. I have specific experience to supporting clients who are in an

abusive relationship, attempting to leave, going through a difficult or

unsafe separation, and how to heal when trauma is present. Most

importantly, I do not discriminate on a survivor's gender identity and/

or sexual orientation having worked with men who are survivors and

survivors from same-sex relationships.


Approach: My framework considers a client's larger system (family/community), their personal identity, interaction with societal pressure, quality of relationship dynamics, and how trauma is present in their lives. I believe that it is okay to be unsure, confused, or not be on track to have it all figured out. I believe that healing is deeply personal and can require different needs across the life span. I am affirming and supportive of a client's gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. The approaches that I resonate with are emotion focused, acceptance and commitment therapy, system perspective, LGBTQIA+ affirming and I recognize and validate experiences of Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).


Clients: I am open to supporting clients from diverse personal and cultural backgrounds, clients who are in sexual and gender diverse partnership and clients as young as 13 years old. I personally identify as a cisgender woman with community roots as an Asian American.

Fees: $125/hour, sliding scale. At this time I do not accept insurance.

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  • Depression

  • Adoption/Family of Origin

  • Relationship Difficulties

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Eating Issues

  • Parenting

  • Neuro atypical children

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • College/Graduate School Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Spirituality

  • Gender Identity Support

  • LGBT Counseling

  • Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

  • Other Issues 

Jane Kim, MA/MFT-I

Pre-Licensed Counselor


Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies,

minor in Art, and concentration in Elementary Education, from

Concordia University Irvine, California; a Master of Arts degree

in Marriage and Family Therapy, concentration in Art Therapy,

from Notre Dame de Namur University, in Belmont, California.  

Experience:  Being passionate about children early on, I began

my career as a therapist, trained in Applied Behavior Analysis

therapy.  For 15 years I served as lead therapist and Coordinator

of Services for children with autism and related disorders.

During my Master's program, I became the dedicated mental

health therapist, across two elementary schools, in the Pajaro

Valley Unified School District. Shortly after that,  I took a break

rom working outside the home, to devote myself to raising my

three children. 


Over the span of 20 years, I became an accomplished visionary

within the world of education, serving the East/West Coast and 

Hawaii, as a mental health therapist, visual arts teacher,

preschool teacher, and core content teacher.  I am currently the

Visual Arts teacher at Holy Nativity School and have been a summer

school teacher at Punahou School, for the last five years.  

Beliefs: Every person has a story to tell, and I am here to listen, validate, and meet you where you are at.  There is creativity within us all and it is important to explore it, with guidance at times, to gain greater self-awareness.  I believe the parent is the expert and best advocate for their child, and I am here to support parents in strengthening and forming healthy attachments.  The foundation should be centered on positive mental health, as mental illness can infiltrate all aspects of our health and well-being, and any change can be traumatic, even if it seems minimal.  As a mother to two daughters and a son, I believe in the importance of supporting the development of healthy attachments and creating a safe outlet for children to express themselves in their language of art and play, for their overall well-being.  Therefore, whether someone wants to talk, express their thoughts and feelings through their play and/or art process, every individual is valuable and deserves be heard without judgement. 

Approach:  My approach is strengths-based, and as a family systems therapist, I help each individual identify their "self" in how s/he exists within their family unit.  As a trained play therapist, sand tray therapist, and art therapist, I look at the narrative and help individuals find the best modality to work through trauma, to help process and cope in healthy ways.  I also use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to break negative thinking patterns and I just believe in being present for every person.  

Clients: Children, teens, parents, for individual and group sessions.  I respect all races, cultures and ethnicities; sexual orientations, religions and spiritual affiliations. 

Languages: I speak English and understand Korean.

Fees: $125/hour, sliding scale. At this time I do not accept insurance.

  • Play therapy

  • Autism

  • Art therapy

  • Family Conflict

  • Depression

  • Child/Parent conflict

  • Teen struggles

  • Neuro atypical children

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Charles "Chuck" Kamai, MA/LMFT, CSAC

Licensed Therapist

To book a session with Charles, please contact:

Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Argosy

University; a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from

Argosy University with Licensure in the State of Hawaii; I am also a

Certified Substance Abuse Counselor through the State of Hawaii,

Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. ​

Experience: I spent the last ten years employed in various roles within

the substance use disorder field. This journey allowed me to work in both

clinical and non-clinical settings and levels of care. I had the privilege

of walking with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences,

all challenged with overcoming substance dependence. 

Approach:  I view therapy through a family systems lens. My

foundation is Experiential, and my approach is Integrative, which

ties systems theories to the unique needs of each individual and

family. I am trauma-informed and versed in evidenced-based

interventions to address substance dependence. I am culturally

sensitive and value diversity-recognizing how cultural trauma affects specific groups. My role in session is non-judgmental, curious, and collaborative; I strive for authenticity and relatability; I consider myself a fellow

journeyperson and guide who deems the therapeutic relationship as an integral part of healing.

Beliefs: I believe in wellness from a holistic perspective-emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, and cultural.  When life affects these domains, imbalance and discord exist.  I acknowledge our unique experiences, which influence our values, beliefs, worldview, and how we perceive ourselves and our environment. I believe in autonomy and eliciting innate strengths to navigate the uncertainties of life. I consider the human spirit to be resilient. ​


ClientsCouples and individuals ages 18+.  I am LGBTQIA+ supportive. I respect all faiths and spiritual practices. I invite any family experiencing concerns regarding substance dependence and other issues.

Languages: I offer treatment in English and can understand basic Hawaiian.

Fees: $150 hour, sliding scale available. We accept HMSA, UHA, HMAA,  and Tricare

  • Substance Dependence

    • Addiction​

    • Alcohol use

    • Drug abuse

  • Anger Management

  • Anxiety

  • Behavioral Issues

  • Career Counseling

  • Chronic Pain

  • Depression

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Divorce

  • Dual Diagnosis

  • Gambling

  • Grief

  • LGBTQIA+ Support

  • Life Coaching

  • Life Transitions

  • Marriage Counseling

  • Medication Mangement

  • Men's Issues

  • Relationship Challenges

  • Self Esteem

  • Stress Management

  • Spirituality

  • Other Issues 


Kapi'i De Mello, MSCP, MFT-I

Pre-licensed Counselor


Education: I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology

with a minor in Hawaiian Studies and a Master of Science Degree

in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and

Family Therapy from Chaminade University of Honolulu. I am

currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Education program at

Chaminade University where I am studying Organizational

Leadership with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples.


Experience: I have experience working with children for over seven

years in a variety of settings and have worked with children as young

as age 3. I hold a certificate of training in Brain Development in

Children: Neuropsychology and the Therapeutic Power of Play. My

experience also includes working with those of Native Hawaiian

descent, utilizing culturally sensitive practices and approaches along

with Hawaiian values and understanding. I have primarily worked with

both the individuals and family members of those who have been

diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. I have conducted parent

workshops on the effects of covid on children, teens, and young

adults, and the importance of social competency for school age children.

Approach: I enjoy working with children, conducting child therapy, along with culturally sensitive therapy approaches including Hawaiian values and understanding. I utilize a variety of approaches including solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems approaches.

Beliefs: I believe that all individuals should attend therapy for the betterment of themselves and their relationships. I believe in the importance of a collaborative therapeutic relationship. I believe all individuals are inherently connected to their land, their home, and the places with which they are rooted. I believe that all individuals have the power to build a happy and healthy life. I believe in the importance of knowing our history in order to better understand our future, and I believe that the effects of our ancestors’ triumphs, successes, trials and tribulations still affect us today.


Clients: All individuals ages 3-103, couples. I embrace all religious affiliations, believe in selflove, and the power of self care. I welcome all families facing concerns about their children with ADHD and anxiety.

Languages: I offer treatment in English and understand Hawaiian.

Fees: $125/hour, sliding scale. At this time I do not accept insurance.



• Anxiety

• Spirituality

• Relationship Difficulties

• Life Transitions

• Stress Management

• Self-Esteem Difficulties

• Women’s Issues

• College/Graduate Issues

• Cultural Background




Karisa Yoshida
Diane Kay
Jane Kim
Charles Chuck Kamai
Kapi'i De Mello
Madonna Tinorua

Christina McKay MSCP, LMFT 


Currently taking telehealth clients only


Education: I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from

Loyola University in Maryland, and a Master of Science degree in

Counseling Psychology from Chaminade University. I am currently a

Doctoral Candidate in Psy.D Clinical Psychology Program at the

Hawai’i School of Professional Psychology.

Experience:  I have over 12 years of experience working with youth

and families in a variety of contexts. I specialize in child therapy and

use a wide range of modalities including play therapy, talk therapy,

art therapy, and narrative therapy. I also enjoy working with

struggling teens and parents of all types (single parents, adoptive

parents, parents working towards reunification, and parents who

just need a little extra help). My experience includes working with

traumatized and at-risk youth, parents struggling with substance

dependence, and divorced or single parents. I take pride in providing

a thorough assessment and diagnostic process before providing

therapy to accompany the recommendations. I am certified in

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy and Child Maltreatment, and have

worked for the judicial system recommending treatment modalities

to families involved with Family Court. 

Beliefs:  I believe that there are no “bad” children or “bad” parents. Instead, there are symptoms of deeper issues that appear in families through behavioral issues, marital distress, and overall family system dysfunction. My goal is to help heal the areas of each family that are hurting; whether it be on an individual or familial level. Through thorough, individualized assessment and supportive understanding, my sole aim is to strengthen relationships within the family system.

Approach:  I am a family systems therapist with roots in attachment theory. I take a trauma-informed, mindfulness-based approach with my clients. Fundamentally, I believe that when our basic needs of safety, security, and healthy relationships are unmet, it impacts our perception of the world. I strive to create a safe, open, accepting, and collaborative space to allow for healing and growth to form secure attachments and a restored sense of safety in the world.

PCIT: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is an empirically supported intervention that has been found to be an effective intervention for numerous behavioral and emotional issues. This treatment modality specifically focuses on decreasing externalizing child behavior problems such as defiance or aggression, increasing child social skills and cooperation, and improving the parent-child relationship. PCIT is the only evidence-based practice in which the parent and child are treated together throughout the course of treatment, and is great for working with children ages 2-7. There are modifications for specific populations and it can be used as prevention (for externalizing problems, child maltreatment, and developmental delays.  

Clients: Children, Parent-Child, Families, Individuals aged 2+.

Fees: $150 hour, sliding scale available. We accept HMSA, UHA, HMAA,  and Tricare

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  • Depression

  • Adoption/Family of Origin

  • Relationship Difficulties

  • Life Transitions

  • Difficulties with Self-Esteem

  • Eating Issues

  • Parenting

  • Neuro atypical children

  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Professional/Career Issues

  • College/Graduate School Issues

  • Stress Management

  • Sexual Abuse

  • Spirituality

  • Gender Identity Support

  • LGBT Counseling

  • Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

  • Other Issues 

Christina Greenup

Ann Kedl, BA

Parent Coach

Education:  I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications

from the University of Minnesota. My most valued education and

life work experience has largely been around working with

children and families in a variety of settings, including public

education, social services and founding an international NGO

focused on orphan care and adoption.

Experience:  My early career was in public school special education,

K-5; I am experienced both personally and professionally in

advocating for children in the public education system. I spent a

number of years working and living in Asia, supporting severely

medically fragile children, developing a foster family program and

helping to facilitate adoptive placements for special needs children. 

I am passionate about helping adoptive families better understand

their children’s needs and uniqueness. I am the mother of two adult

daughters, they to continue to provide me with valuable life lessons

both as a woman and a parent.

Beliefs: I believe that we are all amazing creations that have intrinsic

value and the cry of our hearts is love, belonging and acceptance.

With that as a centering belief, I am aware that we all walk through this life with a different set of experiences, relationships and responses.  Through an understanding of these we will be better equipped to navigate our lives and develop empathy and understanding for others.  Healing is a holistic journey which can involve traditional therapies, nutritional and health related changes and exploring creativity as a valuable outlet.

Approach: I work from the idea that creativity is healing in any sense. Regardless of how one views the "soul", we can learn about ourselves, what makes us tick, and how we best function, through creative endeavors. We can also provide stress release through creative expression. Understanding that making art and being creative are different, I work to demystify creative options, and aim to make creativity more accessible to more people. You don't have to be good at art, to benefit from creative work or to allow creativity to play a role in your healing and resetting journey. My passion has always been fiber arts, primarily weaving. I enjoy introducing people to the healing nature of “creating” using your heart, hands and mind to express yourself through creations of color and texture.

Clients: Preteens, teens, adults. 

Fees: $75-$100 hour, sliding scale available.  I am sorry, I do not accept insurance. Group and fiber arts work fees vary and are posted along with sign up information. 

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  • Adoption/Family of Origin

  • Eating Issues

  • Parenting

  • Other Issues 

Ann Kedl
Jordan Shimabukuro

Heidi Smoot, MFT-I

Pre-Licensed Counselor


Education: I completed my Master of Science in Counseling

Psychology in Marriage and Family Therapy at Chaminade University.

Experience: For over 12 years, I worked as a wedding and event coordinator,

helping couples achieve their goals and work through the stressors of planning.

While I loved the excitement and joy of these events, I realized that my true

passion was helping people on a deeper level which led me to pursue a Master

of Science in Counseling Psychology in Marriage and Family. My direct

experience includes two and a half years of study through Chaminade

University’s Master’s program. Previously, I was an intern therapist at PonoRoots

and in that experience I worked with clients of various backgrounds and ages,

from mid-adolescents to seniors, on a wide range of issues including physical

abuse, sexual abuse, anxiety, substance abuse, depression, infidelity,

communication issues, career development, self-care, self-esteem, marital

conflict, marital dissatisfaction, OCD, borderline personality disorder, bipolar

disorder, mania, postpartum depression, and more.


Indirectly, my previous professional and personal life experience growing up in

Hawaii are a foundation from where I can call on to bring perspective and

guidance to my clients.

Beliefs: I believe that therapy is a collaborative process, and I strive to create a safe and supportive space for my clients to explore their thoughts and feelings. It's an honor to be a part of my clients' journeys, and I'm committed to helping them achieve positive and meaningful change in their lives. Having been born and raised in Hawaii, I'm passionate about working with couples and individuals of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. I'm dedicated to helping my clients achieve their goals and improve their mental health and well-being.

Approach: My overall approach to therapy is holistic, collaborative, and client centered. It is rooted in the belief that our mental health and well-being are interconnected with our relationships and the world around us. I draw on a range of modalities to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets the client's unique needs and goals - helping them build stronger relationships, increase self-awareness and self-compassion, and improve their overall well-being. I may draw from established techniques such as a Family Systems Therapy approach and incorporate Attachment Theory, the Gottman Method, Internal Family Systems (IFS), or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to name a few.  

Clients: Mid-adolescent to kupuna.

Fees: $125/hour, sliding scale. At this time I do not accept insurance.

·       Anxiety

·       College/Graduate Issues

·       Depression

·       Discernment Counseling

·       Grief, Loss, or Bereavement

·       Life Transitions

·       Pre-marital counseling

·       Relationship Difficulties

·       Stress Management

·       Self-Esteem Difficulties

·       Stress Management

·       Sexual Abuse

·       Women’s Issues

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Olivia E.

Client Services Specialist


Currently a graduate student at Chaminade University of Honolulu

pursuing a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology with a focus

in Marriage and Family Therapy.



My first career was in Broadway Theatre Management and it allowed

me to work and travel globally with highly creative and unique people.

I am anxious yet excited to make the transition into the mental health

world and this feels like the perfect time. My time as a graduate

student at Chaminade has changed my perspective on my own future

and my own ability to contribute in small and large ways to this


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Heidi Smoot
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