KKC Therapists

Dr. Tillich, Vishaka Jokiel & Steve Katz discuss couples therapy with Midweek writer Rasa Fournier.

King Kalakaua Center for Humanistic Psychotherapy is an association of diverse therapists with a humanistic orientation and a commitment to innovative approaches to therapy. Though each therapist is a private practitioner, these individually trained and carefully selected clinicians share common core values as they relate to therapy and the founding values of the King Kalakaua Center.

This shared humanistic orientation helps to create a collaborative, caring and thoughtful environment for patient and therapist alike. Similarly, the diversity of the therapists, each with their own unique qualities, styles, training and specializations, provides a variety of nuanced approaches to therapy.

The therapists at the King Kalakaua Center bring a wide variety of diagnostic and treatment skills to the people of Hawaii. These include psychiatric evaluations, psycho pharmacological treatment, individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy with adults and children, psychological testing and assessment, substance abuse treatment, stress management and experiential and didactic staff training.

With 13 therapist at KKC, clients are sure to find a therapist who will gain their trust, and carefully assist in guiding them on a path of deeper, more complete awareness of self and world.


Our Values


While therapists at the King Kalakaua Center each have their own individual beliefs and approaches to therapy, all hold certain values in common.

  • The BELIEF that psychotherapy is an interpersonal process, involving self-exploration, which takes place within and cannot be separated from the political and social context.

  • The BELIEF that the therapist must be both an expert consultant on personal problems and a genuine human being able to communicate with their clients in an open and non-manipulative way.

  • The BELIEF that one mark of the self-actualized person is their capacity to create for themselves a meaningful life style and value system.

  • The BELIEF that the goal of psychotherapy is not to adjust the client to society or to the therapist’s value system but rather to increase the alternatives available to them.

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Humanistic Aprroach

What is “humanistic psychotherapy”? Humanistic orientation, also known as the 3rd Force in psychotherapy, was established in the late 1950’s in America. It was born of a rebellion towards what many saw as limitations of the first two forces in psychotherapy: Psychoanalysis, the 1st Force (think Freud) and Cognitive Behaviorism, the 2nd Force (think Pavlov’s Dog).

Freudian psychoanalysis focused on the unconscious, believing that the motivation for behavior was rooted there and must be integrated with the conscious mind, thereby providing insight. This attempt to make the unconscious, conscious was believed to be cathartic and healing.

Cognitive behaviorism ignored the unconscious mind in favor of environment influencing behavior. Therefore, changing the environment could produce a desirable result in the patient.

Humanists believed that both the 1st and 2nd Forces ignored a crucial element of humans: feelings. Humanistic psychotherapy is an approach that emphasizes the study of the WHOLE person. Therapists with this orientation look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer (themselves, your partner, your family member, etc.), but also through the experience of the patient. The Humanist focuses on feelings and on emotions. Humanist practitioners believe that if you can get in touch with your emotions, your life will be richer and you will become more aware of what is motivating you. Humanism is about the whole being; it is a holistic approach to healing.

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Just as we believe talking to a therapist helps people become more actualized so we believe therapists talking to each other helps them to become more actualized therapists. In accordance with our beliefs, we have weekly staff meetings where we discuss cases (the confidentiality of clients is always maintained) and ourselves, as therapists and individuals. Additionally, all the therapists at King Kalakaua Center have case discussion time individually with Dr. Tillich. Clients have the right to request that their therapist not discuss their case with Dr. Tillich or other co-therapists.

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Our History

In 1971, in Aina Haina, Hawai’i, King Kalakaua Center for Humanistic Psychotherapy was born of the shared vision of Dr. René Tillich and the late Dr. Linda Meyerson Tillich.

Together, they wished for a change in the way that mental health services were delivered and they took it upon themselves to establish a Center that would live up to their ideals.

Dr. Tillich and Dr. Meyerson Tillich were the founders of Awareness Therapy, an approach to psychotherapy that focused on individuals’ tendencies to exaggerate and neglect certain aspects of reality.

Later, Dr. Tillich, along with Dr. Laurie Sanford, applied this core theory to couples therapy and expanded upon it, to create the Two-on-Two approach to couples therapy for which the King Kalakaua Center has become widely known.

Over the decades, King Kalakaua Center has continued to evolve, thanks in large part to the many seasoned and talented clinicians who have practiced at King Kalakaua Center in years past. The contributions and experiences of these past practitioners have helped KKC to continue to refine its mission and continue to grow in order to meet the needs of the patients and the therapists in the current culture.

Today, as the longest operating private psychotherapy practice in Honolulu, King Kalakaua Center operates in East Oahu, and remains a vibrant, living legacy of the shared vision of Dr. Tillich and Dr. Linda Meyerson Tillich.

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