David H. Friar, M.D.

At present I am not able to accept new clients.  If  that changes, this message will be removed. 

The Simple Facts:

I came to Hawaii on the S.S. Lurline at the age of 5, my father being in the Army. Though I've lived and studied elsewhere, Hawaii has always been my home.  I've provided the next few paragraphs for people who are interested in the details of my training and history, but please skip ahead if you just want to get a sense of who I am and how I work.

Education and Career:

  I attended college at Williams College and the University of Hawaii, graduating in 1975.  Wanting to work in social services but not yet headed for medicine,  I worked for 11 years in settings such as Hale Kipa,  Hawaii Job Corps and Castle Medical Center.  

     With the support of my wife and my parents, I attended medical school at the University of Hawaii, where I graduated in 1990.  For specialty training in psychiatry, I moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I completed a four-year residency program at the University of New Mexico.  

When our daughter was born in 1998, we moved home to Hawaii to be close to family. I worked for the State for 12 years, in a variety of settings. In Hilo, I spent 3 years as a staff psychiatrist at the Community Mental Health Center.  I provided outpatient psychiatric care to severely mentally ill adults, many of whom had substance use problems as well. 

      Returning to Oahu, I served at Hawaii State Hospital for 6 years, as Chief of Psychiatry and Chief of Addiction Medicine. 

     My final 3 years with the State, I was Medical Director of the Windward Community Mental Health Center, serving Windward Coast communities  from Waimanalo to Kahuku.  Poverty, homelessness and the legal system were major issues for most of the people I served, along with substance abuse and mental illness.     

     Over the years I learned a great deal from the men and women I served.  I often felt humbled by their dignity, courage and generosity.

     I moved into private practice in 2010 in order to focus more on psychotherapy, and less on medications.  

     My psychiatry training focused on individual and group psychotherapy.  I was fortunate to have a spectrum of fine teachers, including Freudian and Jungian analysts.  My most important mentor was the late Dr. John Talley, a Jungian analyst in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    In recent years I have become

interested in Ericksonian Hypnosis and a widely accepted treatment for psychological trauma known as EMDR.       
My orientation is psychodynamically informed, eclectic, and humanistic.  I don't work with diagnoses,  I work with people- their feelings, history and personality.  I find this work endlessly  challenging and rewarding.

How I Work:

In our first meeting we'll sit down for 60-90 minutes, and interview each other.  By this I mean, we'll try to see whether we can work together productively.  Usually, this is no problem- we both feel comfortable and it seems likely I can be helpful.  But sometimes we will not be a good fit for each other, for whatever reason. At that point I will do my best to help you find the right doctor.

I will ask for some basic background information, and listen as you tell me about the situation that brought you to see me.  We'll try to identify the main issues that need to be addressed, and make a decision about where to start- what your priorities are.  If anything needs to be done immediately, we'll make arrangements for that to happen.

The way I see it, we work together as partners. You are my employer, and I am your expert consultant.  I make the recommendations, and you make the decisions.  Together we explore territory that is unknown, as well as what is known. My role is to create a space that is safe enough and clear enough so you can speak freely, hear yourself think, and feel what you feel. If you are feeling trapped, or stuck, or out of control in some part of your life, we go through a journey together to help you regain your clarity and power. What that journey consists of, is different for each person. At times, the work can require from you a great deal of courage, commitment and creativity.

I do not automatically use medications, but sometimes they can be very useful tools. I avoid prescribing whenever possible, and my goal is to use the least amount of medications needed. I am very careful with medications that can be habit-forming.

     I am Board Certified in Addiction Medicine as well as Psychiatry.  I often work with people recovering from alcohol and drugs, and compulsive behaviors of all kinds. I try to provide safety and openness for important subjects like sexuality, money and trauma which many people find difficult to discuss.     


My clients are wonderful, suffering human beings. So am I. Ultimately, we are all in the same boat: the complicated, terrifying,  painful, and sometimes joyful predicament they call the Human Condition. In this work I am privileged to meet a wide range of people. I consider it an honor to be allowed to briefly enter people's lives. I will do everything in my power to treat you with respect and compassion, and to be truly helpful.

(808) 394-8151