LAHAINA - As far as family dynamics are concerned, Lahaina resident Alison Howland has seen it all.
Raised in Honolulu by her grandparents after her biological parents divorced, Howland grew up with her brother and two sisters in a big family setting influenced by the Seventh Day Adventist religion in the home.
She married after high school and had two children, moved to South Carolina and then back to Hawaii on the Big Island.
Things didn't work out there; the couple divorced, Howland became a single parent and she moved back to the Mainland.
She worked for a national airline and earned an in-depth education with Master's Degrees in Counseling and Human Resources Management from Trevecca Nazarene University and in Education from Regis University.
The allure of her island home brought her to Maui some five years ago, and she has continued her extended social science education with doctorate studies.
She is working on her dissertation entitled "Perceived Changes in Parenting Skills and Family Relationships Following a Personalized Intervention in Choice Theory."
She will present a blended family program based on the Choice Theory principles of Dr. William Glasser here in Lahaina as part of her doctorate studies.
She is currently a teacher at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School after previous stints at Lahainaluna High School and Lahaina Intermediate School.
A board-certified psychiatrist for 40 years, Dr. Glasser's Choice Theory is a psychology methodology based on asking yourself, "Is what I am about to do going to bring me closer to what I want to do?"
These theories made sense to Howland, and she now bases her doctorate study on them.
"The ways to have a healthy, happy life that is integrated into Choice Theory appealed to me," said Howland.
"We aim to strengthen families - both blended (any marriage or remarriage with children from a previous relationship) and traditional - through the concepts of Choice Theory. It is a non-controlling psychology that gives freedom to sustain relationships that lead to healthy, productive lives; an internal control psychology to learn to fulfill needs in a reasonable way."
According to Howland, the sessions are free and will include 12 classes with personalized, one-on-one discussions. Times and locations have not yet been determined. For information, call Howland at 283-1486.