Mari Inouye Giel

Social Worker/Therapist

Class of 1996





By Chelsey Buyuan



Mari Inouye Giel is a social worker with the Department of Health, Developmental Disabilities Division.   She also has worked as a therapist, where she provided counseling, behavioral interventions, problem solving techniques, insight building, skills training, and substance abuse counseling for adolescents who are placed in short-term residential treatment.  She was also hired as a consultant for individuals with autism and their families.  She continues to work with individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities by coordinating services for them and helping them make choices to take control of their lives.  She has spent seven years in the field of human services.

        Mari decided to pursue the field of psychology because she enjoyed working with others and was fascinated by observing the behaviors of others.  She is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado where she majored in psychology with a minor in early childhood education.  Working in the field of psychology has taught her to be stronger and to take life’s experiences one day at a time.  She has also developed a greater appreciation for life and values her personal relationships with her family.  In her opinion, the best part of being a therapist is when you can touch the life of just ONE person.

        She graduated from Waiakea High School in 1996 where she became interested in psychology through her psychology teacher, Mrs. Thelma Wegner.  “I really enjoyed her class and decided to take a few psychology classes when I was college.

        For the many Waiakea High students who are thinking of majoring in psychology in college, she says that it is difficult to find a job with only a bachelor’s degree.  She began work on her master’s degree two weeks after earning her BA.  And even with a master’s degree in counseling there are so many people in the field that it is VERY important to get as much experience as you can, even if it means volunteering.  She suggests that students look at all aspects of psychology, because it is a very broad field.  “Psychology doesn’t necessarily mean therapy or counseling. Areas such as human resources in businesses, research and statistics positions, as well as psychiatry and even forensics can also be possible areas that can be explored.”

Because a counselor/therapist hears so many people’s problems, it is probably the hardest part of being in the field. She finds that being able to separate work from home life requires having great support from family and friends (especially your spouse or partner), and receiving regular therapy herself keeps her happy and healthy.  She says that being able to take care of yourself is the most important part of being an effective catalyst in changing others.

The hope of changing one bad habit, one thought, or increasing a client’s quality of life in any way is what keeps her going.  Achieving any of these, she feels, is a success story.  “Every client that I’ve had has been a memorable experience not just because of what they did, but how they impacted my life and changed me. You will hear stories that will make you disgusted and repulsed, but these are the people that need therapy the most.  I try to remember that most times it is their choice to be there and to get help.  As long as an individual is willing to change, they will be successful when you supply them with the tools to facilitate their own change.  You’re not there to change people, just to help them change themselves.  She concludes, “To be in this field you must be prepared for it.  The human mind is the most delicate, sensitive, and powerful thing ever.”

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