July 13, 2022

Around the Square: Dr. Sharon Liden

Over 20 years ago, Sharon Liden, Ph.D. LMFT moved to Lanai from Maui. Originally from California, Dr. Liden pursued a career as a teacher before realizing her passion resided more in understanding how students felt about learning than the act of teaching them. Her career pivot led her to obtain licenses in Marriage Family Therapy and Clinical Psychology in California and Hawaii.

Dr. Liden came to Lanai to work at Lanai High and Elementary School (LHES) as the Behavioral Health Supervisor for the Canoe Complex, and after retiring from the Hawaii Department of Education in 2020, she started working in her private practice full time. Her training in therapy has been broad and deep over the last 30 years, and she is loving every moment of it.

Mental health during a pandemic

During the pandemic when other businesses were struggling, Dr. Liden found herself very busy. Her vast experience came in handy when individualizing care to her clients’ specific needs, issues and goals. “The people of Lanai, like people everywhere, have struggles in life, relationships, child rearing and work,” shared Dr. Liden. “The pandemic has made all these issues more pronounced and more difficult to address.”

As it’s not unusual for people to hesitate to seek mental health services for many reasons, Dr. Liden has benefitted from the referral systems of insurance companies that now encourage the use of virtual mental health services. Fortunately, the internet has created a way for people to receive help over great distances, and now, virtual services have become standard.

Licensed in two states, Dr. Liden sometimes found herself speaking with someone across the ocean in one session and someone in Hawaii in the next. Now that quarantine restrictions have eased, she is able to meet with her telehealth clients while seeing her Lanai clients in person once again.

Dr. Liden is primarily a Family Systems Therapist who uses an experiential and humanistic approach to individuals, couples and families. Her work in the community and at LHES helped her to understand the uniqueness of living on Lanai and the needs of the families. As someone who is originally from the mainland, she’s also able to provide those who are new to Lanai with help in adjusting to their new life.

Uniquely Lanai

According to Dr. Liden, the residents of Lanai face the unique challenge of living on an island with a limited choice of employment and resources which can create pressures and stress that others may not understand. As differing cultures and customs also play a role, guiding her clients through effective communication methods has become a part of the therapy process.

After working at LHES for 20 years, Dr. Liden has the opportunity to help people she knew as children, who are now raising their own families. The valuable knowledge of her clients’ childhood history can often help when navigating through everyday challenges, such as relationships and raising children. This personal connection is something she appreciates about Lanai and its tightknit community, and her greatest validation comes from receiving friend and family referrals. “The best referrals are from folks who have benefited from working with me as they see themselves and their families grow through struggles in life,” explained Dr. Liden.

For more information

The past few years of the pandemic have truly opened everyone’s eyes to understanding and experiencing the value of mental health services and how critical emotional stability is.

For more information and to make an appointment, visit Dr. Liden’s comprehensive website at or call her at (808)649-0032. You can find the services she provides, rates, FAQs, an appointment request form and much more.

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