NJPA Coalitions and Partnerships

Inter-Mental Health and Psychological Associations Coalition (IMPAC)

Through the New Jersey Inter-Mental Health and Psychological Associations Coalition (IMPAC), NJABPsi, LMHANJ, and NJPA join together as equal partners to contribute their unique educational acumen, expertise, experience, and perspectives to obtain synergy as a resource to promote equality in mental health care and to zealously advocate for the mental health needs for the diverse population of the state of New Jersey. This will be accomplished by our respective organizations working together to develop initiatives to educate the public, as well as healthcare providers through training, professional presentations and mobilizing resources as needed to provide counseling and psychological services under emergent circumstances. Click here to learn more.

Rachel Coalition
Co-Chairs Morgan Murray, PhD and Nicole Rafanello, PhD
In 2020, NJPA approved participation in a collaboration with the Rachel Coalition, a division of Jewish Family Service of Metro West NJ. Representing NJPA in this collaboration are Co-Chairs: Drs. Morgan Murray and Nicole Rafanello, and NJPA Task Force Members: Drs. Cynthia Lischick, Charlena Sears, Eileen Kohutis, Tamsen Thorpe, Carla Cooke, and Sharon Ryan Montgomery.  Rachel Coalition Representatives: CEO Jewish Family Service of Metrowest, Dr. Diane Squadron; Director of Legal Programs, Rachel Coalition, Division of Jewish Family Service, Suzanne Groisser, Esq.; Attorney, Rachel Coalition, Division of Jewish Family Service, Tara Halpern, Esq.; Rachel Coalition Volunteer, Martin Pollack, Esq. 

In 2020, the coalition succeeded in the:
1. Development of guidelines which included but is not limited to:
a. Professional training requirements for Therapeutic Supervised Visitation (TSV) therapists.
b. Understanding the goals of TSV such that the session focuses on the child’s relationship with the offending parent and not reunification of the family (e.g., reuniting parents).
c.  The need to develop funding strategies for low income clients.
d.  Requirement for TSV therapists to have strong knowledge base regarding intersecting identities and how these relate the power dynamics of power and control inherent to domestic violence 

2. Development of an outline to present to Judge David Katz, Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey – Family Part. The outline provided Judge Katz with the Guidelines and an accompanying rational for each guideline. Based on this outline the judge asked that we develop a webinar to present to the judges of the Family Court. 

3. Webinar presentation on 2/1/21, 12:30 – 1:30 – Essex County Family Court Judges.
a. Presentation of the proposed guidelines by the Rachel Coalition
b. Presentation of scenarios to demonstrate the complexity of dv cases and inherent danger of re-traumatization to children, by NJPA (Cynthia Lischick, Charlena Sears)

In 2021,The Rachel Coalition's goal is to promote guidelines to be used with Therapeutic Supervised Visitation. Increase education regarding TSV among members of the judiciary and among psychologists and other mental health providers. Promote greater safety for children in domestic violence situations.

NJPA Committee on Diversity and Inclusion's Immigration Action Group (IAG)
IAG Co-Chairs
Susan Cohen Esquilin, PhD and Monica Indart, PsyD

IAG Collaboration with New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health (April 2021) 
Goals -
Develop literature for the public and professionals, such as schools, parents, pediatricians, mental health providers, and attorneys regarding the unique needs of young children and their caregivers with respect to immigration stress and trauma.  The literature will be approved by both organizations prior to distribution. (Work in progress)

Contribute to a NJPA database names of social service agencies that serve young children and their families around immigration issues.(Work in progress)

IAG Collaboration with Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

1. One or more trainings delivered pro bono by psychologists to KIND and one or more trainings delivered pro bono by KIND attorneys for CE credits to NJPA, made available through the NJPA CE approval process.


  1. Three trainings were delivered by three NJPA psychologists (Drs. Susan Esquilin, Melany Rivera-Maldonado, and Aileen Torres) to KIND attorneys.  These were very well received.
  2. No trainings have been delivered, to date, by KIND attorneys.
  3. KIND can provide another training on legal issues like the one done by Randi Mandelbaum in 2020, and would create questions so it could be in the NJPA homestudy library.  This would need to be on the calendar by the end of September before the person, who would do this is on a grant, leaves their position.
  4. There was a discussion of the possibility of NJPA providing training for KIND's interpreters. We also discussed the possibility of providing a more interactive program for KIND attorneys.  This is still in discussion.
  5. We discussed the possibility of presenting a program for NJPA about conducting evaluations in immigration matters.  That needs to be done jointly with an attorney from KIND and a psychologist.

2. Availability of a list of psychologists to conduct evaluations on immigration matters for internal use by the IEAG to use to respond to requests by KIND attorneys.


a. A survey was distributed to NJPA psychologists regarding their skills and interest in providing evaluations and treatment in immigration situations.

b. The data on these surveys have not been organized and released.

3. Establishment of a mechanism by the IEAG and KIND for NJPA members who are seeking brief legal consultation about therapy clients involved in immigration matters and for KIND attorneys who are seeking brief consultation about identifying and assisting with mental health issues in legal clients.


  1. There was a discussion about creating a six-month trial period through June 2021 in which KIND attorneys would be available to provide consultation to NJPA members.  The IAG and KIND would create a description of the consultation available and how to access it.

At the end of the trial period, we would evaluate it and decide whether it should continue and how.

  1. The IAG will have to develop a list of psychologists who could provide this kind of consultation, free of charge, to KIND attorneys.

IAG 2021 Report on Other Activities: 

  1. Randi Mandelbaum, Esq., Distinguished Clinical Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School presented a CE program sponsored by NJPA on Immigration Basics for Mental Health Professionals Working with Children and Families on March 6, 2020.
  2.  Dr. Melany Rivera-Maldonado presented a CE program for NJPA on February 5, 2021 on Working with Central American Children and Their Families: The Northern Triangle Countries (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala).
  3. As indicated above, we had committed to creating a list of people for use within NJPA who are interested in providing evaluations and treatment in immigration situations.  A survey was done, but we need to organize that data and create a mechanism for storing and using it.
  4. There was some discussion about finding and/or creating literature for the larger non-psychological community on mental health and immigration, and interest generated among people in academia.  This needs to be re-energized.

Higher Education and Mental Health  Coalition
The NJPA members, Phyllis Bolling, PhD and Maria Neuza Serra, PsyD shall act as the persons of contact and representatives for NJPA. A number of legislative initiatives have recently been proposed that have an impact on mental health services for college students.  Many college counseling center Directors and staff are psychologists and the expertise of these college counseling center professionals may be critical in COLA and the GAA addressing this legislation.  Goals for the collaboration include:

1.  Education - Work with the NJPA Government Affairs Agent to set up meetings and opportunities to education NJ legislators and relevant state department on the reality of existing college counseling services and capabilities for both public and private institutions.

2. Professional Regulations - Ensure that current and further legislation on higher education mental health services does not violate licensed professional regulations as it relates to patient/client confidentiality.

3.  Increase Incentive for Students Seeking Mental Health Services - Ensure that current and future legislation does not discourage students from seeking mental health services.

4. Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion – Ensure that current and future legislation does not cause inequality between students attending public vs. private higher education institutions.

5. Future Legislation – Work together to propose future legislation that promotes incentive and equality for students seeking access to higher education institutions’ mental health services in New Jersey