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  • 16 Feb 2021 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    Information gathered and presented by Amanda L. Hess, MSc, LMFT, LMHC, MBACP

    Introduction to Sea Level Rise around Hawai’i

    The sea level off the Hawaiian Islands’ coast is ten inches higher than it was in 1950 ( This increase is mostly due to climate change, ice melting into the ocean, and sinking land, causing major problems.

    To address land development and rising sea level, Senate Bill 2381 was introduced in Feb. 2020, prior to COVID-19, by Senator Rhoades of O’ahu. A previous, similar bill did not pass Hawai'i legislature. Legislators are looking to “double shoreline setbacks to 40 feet and set that 2-meter height limit for new developments,” (Lovell, 2019). These parameters were set based on the projection that by the year 2100, seas are expected to rise at least two meters, a conservative estimate. Per Senator Rhoads’ aide, Larry Kane, the rise is accelerating, and the estimate is now projected to occur by 2070 (personal communication with Larry Kane on Jan. 31, 2021). 

    Estimations for O’ahu

    O’ahu is expected to be the hardest hit island. Even a 1-meter rise could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, (Lovell, 2019; Oleson, 2019). Potentially:

    • 9,400 acres of land would be flooded
    • 2-meters of water would push the beach up against Campbell HS in ‘Ewa
    • Low-lying areas, like Maili and McCully would be under water
    • Mapunapuna would be permanently flooded
    • The sea could reach all the way up to King St. at two meters
    • Most pronounced effect would be Kakaako and Waikiki
    • Magic Island would actually become an island and Waikiki would be lost
    • Parts of Farrington Hwy. in the west and Kam Hwy. in the east would likely be flooded, cutting off sections of the island and preventing transportation of supplies
    • ~13,000 residents impacted (not including tourists and homeless)
    • ~$12.9 billion USD in economic losses
    • The Biggest financial loss in the greater HNL area and Windward side

    On O’ahu, at 3-meters and beyond (Oleson, 2019): 

    “…There will be major flooding along the southern coast from Diamond Head to Barbers Point. Waikiki, Kakaako, downtown, and Kalihi will flood up to the H1 highway. Seas will reach the gates of Fort Shafter. Facilities at Pearl Harbor will be inundated to mauka of Kamehameha Highway. Ewa Beach will be under one meter. Kailua floods from the marsh side, and Enchanted Lake will be ocean to a depth of two meters.

    The area from Haleiwa to Waialua will flood to two meters. At ten meters, the southern shore from Diamond Head to Ewa to Barbers Point disappears by as much as nine meters. Ford Island is gone. Seas will extend mauka to the H1-H2 interchange above Pearl City. Hawaii Kai is up to nine meters under water. Kailua floods completely past Enchanted Lakes. Downtown Haleiwa will be under nine meters of sea…” 

    Estimations – Outer Islands

    On Kauai, at 3 meters, Hanalei will flood to a depth of a meter, and the small boat harbor at Nawiliwili will flood (Lovell, 2019; Oleson, 2019). On the south coast much of Waimea will be under two meters of sea water. At ten meters the south coast, including Waimea and the Pacific Missile Range, will be up to seven meters underwater. Hanalei will be flooded to five meters; much of Nawiliwili to about a meter.

    In Maui, sections Honoapiilani Hwy. are quickly falling into the ocean already. Projections show much of downtown Kahului will be flooded with a two-meter rise in sea level. At three meters, most hotels at Kaanapali on Maui are inundated. Downtown Lahaina floods to two meters as does much of Kihei. Much of downtown Kahului floods. At ten meters each will be submerged up to t=nine meters, including the entire airport.

    At three meters, on the Big Island, downtown Hilo floods. The highway at Kailua-Kona is interdicted by the sea. At ten meters much of Hilo and the airport will be underwater by five to six meters; the Kona airport to a lesser, but still inoperable, two meters.

    Parts of Molokai are in danger of being cut off with sea level rise and Papahanaumokuakea Maritime National Monument will largely disappear at three meters and completely at ten meters. 

    What does flooding mean for residents?

    Resources will be overwhelmed. There are approximately nineteen full-time ambulances and two part-time ambulances operating on O’ahu at any given time (Kubota, 2019). Depending on how much their homes flood, residents may be able to continue to live in their homes. At 36-inches of water, the American Red Cross (ARC) deems a home uninhabitable (2012). 

    The ARC outlines dwelling damage classification as follows: 

    Affected by flood: 

    • extremely minor damage to a dwelling
    • 0-12 in. of water in the living area of the dwelling
    • Standing water in the yard

    Minor Damage: 

    • sustained damage and will require repairs, but currently habitable
    • 12-36 in. of water in the living area of the dwelling
    • Basement flooding where it is believed there is no one living in the basement

    ARC renders shelter assistance when dwelling experiences the following: 

    Major Damage: 

    • not currently habitable, but can be made habitable with repairs
    • 36-60 in. of water in the living area of the dwelling
    • Basement flooding where it is expected the basement is being used as living space
    • The physical plant of the home is under water (e.g. hot water heater, furnace, etc.)


    • currently uninhabitable and cannot be made habitable without extensive repairs that would be too costly (e.g. total loss of structure, complete failure to major structural components)

    What does this mean for MFTs?

    Potentially, MFTs could be rendered professionally ineffective if directly impacted by disaster, e.g. loss of office, supplies, transportation, internet and phone service, etc (West-Olatunji, 2020). Personally, MFTs could also be exposed to trauma by witnessing their own friends, family, and communities being negatively impacted. They may develop mental health impairment or overindulge in alcohol and other substances to cope and become unable to perform their duties. 

    Action Steps for MFTs

    Most importantly, MFTs should have a 14-day minimum disaster supply kit ready for both home and business environments (O’ahu Department of Emergency Management, 2017). Looking at recent disaster responses, federal responses and community rebuilding is taking longer since Hurricane Katrina (West-Olatunji, 2020). The unofficial recommendation is to be prepared for six months. MFTs should also consider: 

    • Having regular talks with clients, friends, and families about disaster preparedness
    • Becoming trained in Psychological First Aid
    • Volunteering with helping agencies such as ARC, CERT, DOH Medical Reserve Corps, Search and Rescue, etc. 
    • Coordinating with local organizations to propose a Disaster Mental Health Coalition, like in California
    • If working in a disaster helping role, MFTs should try working in areas other than their own neighborhoods



    • American Red Cross (2012). Disaster Action Team Manual. Pg. 7-5.
    • Lovell (2020). Six Feet Above: Where To Draw The Line On Sea Level Rise. Honolulu Civil Beat. Accessed on 01/28/21 from:
    • Kubota, L. (2019). A new ambulance on Oahu is helping ease the strain on EMS (slightly). Accessed on 02/02/2021 from:,by%20about%205%2C000%20each%20year.
    • NOAA Office for Coastal Management (2021). Assessing Climate Change and Coastal Hazards in Kauai. Accessed on 01/28/21 from:
    • Oleson (2019). How Worried Should We Be About Sea Level Rise? Honolulu Civil Beat. Accessed on 01/28/21 from:
    • Hawaii’s Sea Level Is Rising. Accessed on 01/28/20 from:
    • UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology accessed on 02/01/21 from:
    • West-Olatunji, C. (2020). Disaster Mental Health Counseling: An MHA Credential Course. Accessed on December 19, 2020 from:

    About the author

    Amanda Hess has over 10 years of experience in the mental health field. She currently works in private practice on the island of O’ahu and volunteers with the O’ahu Medical Reserve Corps.

    For more information please visit the HIAMFT website.

  • 29 Oct 2020 9:42 AM | Anonymous

    MFT License Renewal

    Melissa Wilson, MA, LMFT

    So you want to be sure and know when and how do I renew my license. This is an important step in our profession as it allows us to continue to collect payment from insurance companies. Here is the down low on license renewal.

    All licenses will get a reminder from the DCCA that it is time to renew your license. But I would not just rely on mail alone as things get lost, delayed, etc. First and foremost, make sure your address is up to date with the DCCA. To change your address go to ​​, log in and select change address. Also check on your license when your expiration date is. Expect a renewal approximately one month prior to renewal from the DCCA.

    Secondly is CEU’s. In 2017 Hawaii began implementation of CEU (continuing education units) for all licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. This was implemented by our organization at the time to advance our profession. This is a requirement. Below is the actual up to date information regarding CEU’s. DCCA does not currently need proof of CEU’s but if you get audited during renewal time they will ask for proof of CEU’s.

    “Beginning with the renewal for the licensing triennium 1/1/2017 - 12/31/2019, and prior to every triennial renewal thereafter, each licensee shall complete 45 credit hours of CE within the 3-year period preceding the renewal date; provided that a minimum of 6 credit hours are in ethics. Thus, to renew for the licensing triennium starting on 1/1/2017, the licensee shall complete 45 credit hours of CE between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019. A first-time licensee is exempt from the CE requirement for the first license renewal. For instance, if you were initially issued a license between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019, you are exempt from the CE requirement for this renewal period only.”

    To summarize, we need 45 units in 3 years. First time licensees are exempt from CEU’s for the first renewal. Keep copies of all your credits, dates, places, title of workshops and who provided the workshop just in case. If you have any questions please call DCCA, marriage and family therapy division at (808) 586- 2692.

    About the author

    Ms. Wilson resides on the island of Kaua’i where she owns a private practice providing services as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Ms. Wilson is the HIAMFT Kaua’i Chapter Representative and Chair of the HIAMFT Continuing Education Committee.

    For more information please visit the HIAMFT website.
    And be sure to find on social media!                                                                         

    FB: @MFTHawaii
    IG:  @HawaiiMFT

  • 9 Nov 2019 10:36 PM | Anonymous

    It’s all here: Requirements & Instructions – Marriage and Family Therapist License

    All Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in Hawaiʻi have:

    • A graduate degree in Counseling Psychology / MFT track, or a closely related field
    • Practicum and post-master’s direct therapy experience and supervision hours
    • Taken and passed the MFT National Examination

    How do I earn my degree?
    We are fortunate to have Chaminade University that offers the only classroom-based MFT-track program that will qualify your for licensure as an MFT in Hawai'i. There are a few online or hybrid programs available, however, if you choose to attend one of these programs BE SURE it is accredited (e.g., COAMFTE, WASC,  or similar) and includes all of the requisite classes for a Hawaiʻi MFT license.

    Who supervises my intern hours?
    You will need minimums of 300 hours of verified practicum experience and 1000 hours of post-master’s direct supervised experience with 200 hours of clinical supervision from a qualified supervisor. Be certain your supervisor(s) meet the qualifications outlined in the application information, which includes a minimum of two years of licensure in good standing.

    I have my degree and hours, so how do I apply for the Hawaiʻi MFT license?
    In order to apply for a license to practice marriage and family therapy in Hawaiʻi, you must submit documentation verifying your accredited degree, with proof of minimum levels of graduate-level studies in specific courses related to marriage and family therapy, along with practicum and intern hours verifications. All these forms are in the Requirements and Instructions.

    Then there’s a national exam?
    After your application is approved, you will be mailed instructions regarding registering to take the National Marriage and Family Therapy (NMFT) exam. You are encouraged by the PVL to be mindful of exam dates and deadlines; for more information on the exam visit

    What if I already have my MFT license in another state?
    If you are Licensed MFT in another state and are a Clinical member of the AAMFT, you will not need to submit the above documentation when you provide an original letter from AAMFT verifying your Clinical member status. Note that you must remain a Clinical member of AAMFT until you receive your Hawaiʻi license. You also must have taken and passed the national exam instructions on either taking the exam or having your passing score recognized are on the application form. Of course, you also are encouraged to join and participate in Hawaii’s own MFT organization: HIAMFT. See details for joining on this website!

    That’s it?
    All licenses must be renewed every three years, and licensees must have completed 45 hours of continuing education, including 6 hours of Law and Ethics to renew.

    What law governs the MFT license in Hawaiʻi .

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