CUH Counseling Center to Launch New Programs


Kelsey Sablan

Elisabeth Mather (left) and Leilani Riahi (right) are excited to expand the Counseling Center’s services this year.

Chaminade University is expanding its counseling center department with two new programs being offered. Leilani Riahi, the new counseling services director, and Elisabeth Mather, a licensed Mental Health Counselor, will start Let’s Talk and Vibe sessions by the end of September. 

Let’s Talk and Vibe offer informal counseling sessions for students with no long-term commitment. Let’s Talk has more options for students needing to talk about “not so serious” topics. Vibe provides a space for students to hang out with counselors and establish a relationship with them. 

“Counseling is coming into a space that’s safe, comfortable, and empowering to explore things like your goals, identity and challenges that are a barrier to a life worth living,” said Riahi, who is a licensed clinical social worker.

An idea adapted from Cornell University, Let’s Talk increases the accessibility of counselors to students who are hesitant or ashamed to receive counseling sessions. Let’s Talk is a first-come, first-serve service for non-emergency conversations and just casual conversations with a counselor. It will be an informal session offered virtually through Zoom (meeting ID: 921 8572 9460 and passcode: 072540) starting on Wednesday and in-person starting on Thursday in the Campus Ministry conference room (T.C. Ching), but it will relocate later this semester to the Hale Lokelani multi-purpose room. 

Vibe will offer students an artistic space to informally hang out and talk with counselors. The counseling center will have various activities for students as a way to stress relieve. The location for the event is still to be determined. Vibe is planned to happen every last Friday of the month starting with Sept. 30.

Both services have the option to remain anonymous and have no paperwork to fill out.

Riahi mentioned another service, group therapy, which is still in the works and will hopefully launch in Spring 2023. 

In addition to new programs and director, the counseling center will be relocating to Tredtin Hall, in the president’s old dining room, soon. Riahi explained that the delay is due to permit issues. With the new location, the counseling center hopes to start its internship program with the Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program at Chaminade University in Fall 2023. 

The counseling center offers 10 free counseling sessions per “presenting challenge” with Riahi or Mather. If students need more than 10 sessions for a challenge, the counselor may refer them to an off-campus resource. Sessions can cover topics such as academic distress, anxiety, relationships and more. 

Students interested need to be actively enrolled in classes in order to receive counseling. To receive a session, they can call (808-735-4845) or email ([email protected]) the Counseling Center. Afterward, students will receive a phone call to get pre-screened and see if their issues can be addressed with the counseling center. Then students will do an intake session with a counselor by filling out the forms and sitting down with a counselor to get a better understanding of the issues at hand. 

Riahi encourages Chaminade students to seek counseling sessions and take part in the new services whenever they are going through difficult challenges. 

“You are not alone in feeling that way,” Riahi said. “What helps us grow is right above our comfort zone.”