Early Career Psychologists (ECP)

Articles, resources, summaries of third party websites, and forms found on the NJPA website are not intended as legal advice and also not a substitute for advice directly from the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners. The information should not be used as a substitute for obtaining personal legal advice and consultation or as a substitute for advice directly from the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners prior to making decisions regarding individual circumstances.  Please take the time to review the third party websites for more details.

About the ECP Committee ECP Committee Officers Contact Us ECP Resources

Member-Only ECP Resources Page

About the ECP Committee

The ECP Committee is an NJPA committee consisting of early career psychologists (ECPs), including permit holders. The purpose of the committee is to:

  1. Promote the needs of permit holders and ECPs
  2. Strengthen the representation of permit holders and ECPs in NJPA
  3. Support and expand resources for permit holders and ECPs within New Jersey
  4. Foster leadership for permit holders and ECPs within NJPA and the New Jersey community, and
  5. Raise the consciousness of NJPA members and New Jersey psychologists about issues of diversity that specifically impact permit holders and ECPs.

ECPs are defined as those psychologists who received their doctoral degree within the past 10 years. These include non-health service psychologists. Permit holders are defined as psychologists, usually health service providers, who completed their doctoral degree, but are not yet licensed. They are either in the process of applying for or have already received a temporary permit in order to work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Permit holders fall under the umbrella of ECP, so long as they have received their doctoral degree within the past 10 years.

Current efforts of the ECP Committee include the following:

  • Change NJ legislation so that all supervised predoctoral clinical hours can count towards licensure requirements, making it easier for psychologists to become licensed after graduation
  • Increase the transparency of the licensure process by providing educational information to ECPs through this website and through didactics
  • Create a directory of postdoctoral employment opportunities for researchers and clinicians in NJ
  • Provide networking and mentorship opportunities for ECPs
  • Create a community of ECPs to support each other
  • Foster a leadership pipeline to increase ECP representation in NJPA

You can view a list of identified ECP needs that the committee aims to address here.

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ECP Committee Officers

Anna Urbaniak, PhD, Chair

Anna Urbaniak, PhD, is Chair for the NJPA ECP Committee. She is a bilingual-Polish clinical psychologist licensed in New Jersey, New York, and PSYPACT participating states (please see: https://psypact.site-ym.com/page/psypactmap). She is currently working full-time at Stress and Anxiety Services of New Jersey. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and related, body-focused and repetitive behavior (BFRB), as well as trauma and stress-related disorders. Dr. Urbaniak’s treatment interests also extend to integrated behavioral health and the treatment of insomnia. She is also an adjust professor at William Paterson University teaching Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Practicum courses to doctoral psychology students. 

Nicole Djakow-Fransko, PsyD, LPC, Secretary

Nicole Djakow-Fransko, PsyD, LPC, is the Secretary for the NJPA ECP Committee. She is currently a psychology permit holder in the state of New Jersey. Dr. Djakow-Fransko earned her M.A. from Rowan University in Mental Health Counseling and Clinical Psychology. She earned her M.S. and doctorate (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania, and was one of the NJPAGS representatives for her program. Dr. Djakow-Fransko is also a Licensed Professional Counselor in NJ. Dr. Djakow-Fransko has experience in a variety of settings including forensic, outpatient, integrated behavioral healthcare, substance abuse, and schools. She has experience in both individual and group therapy, as well as conducting risk of sexual and non-sexual violence, and survivor-of-abuse evaluations. She currently works in private practice as well as with a telehealth-only company with a primary focus on depression, anxiety, and sex offense-specific treatment. She has a long history of volunteer work and is excited to be able to join the 2021 NJPA ECP team!  

Melany Rivera-Maldonado, PhD, Past-Chair

Melany Rivera-Maldonado, PhD (pronouns: she, her, hers), is the Chair for the NJPA ECP Committee. She is a licensed bilingual-Spanish psychologist in New Jersey and New York. Dr. Rivera-Maldonado is currently the Director of Clinical Training at YCS Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health, where she oversees an APA Accredited Psychology Doctoral Internship Program, and supervises psychology externs. She has taught at higher education institutions and currently provides consultation and workshops to non-profits on topics such as, diversity, child development and trauma informed care. In addition, she has a part-time private practice in Jersey City where she provides therapy and assessment services. At NJPA, she collaborates with the Immigration Emergency Action Group (NJPA), and was recognized in 2020 with the Distinguished Teacher Award. Her work integrates multicultural issues, attachment theories, psychodynamic therapy and the impact of early relationships across lifespan. 

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Contact Us 

NJPA [email protected]

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ECP Resources

The following resources are available for NJPA members.

  • Licensure Resources: This page provides a step-by-step guide to becoming licensed as a psychologist in NJ, with helpful links and other resources to make the licensure process more transparent.
  • Post-Doctoral Programs in NJ: This page offers a directory of NJ post-doctoral job opportunities that provide appropriate supervision for permit holders or newly graduated researchers.
  • Other Resources: This page provides additional resources for ECPs, including information about loan forgiveness and career development.

Member-Only ECP Resources Page

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Exciting NJPA Advocacy News!

NJPA is a recipient of the 2018 Early Career Licensure Project Award! The award of $1,000 is given to support NJPA’s efforts to promote legislative change in New Jersey by using the award funding to offset cost of printing of supplies, mileage and miscellaneous costs to meet with legislators, and miscellaneous costs of the governmental affairs agent.

NJPA is working to amend the New Jersey licensure law to allow all predoctoral hours to count toward licensure requirements (that is, by elimination of the current predoctoral/postdoctoral distinction). This would allow more psychology graduates to become licensed sooner, which would incentivize them to remain in New Jersey. A more efficient road to licensure would result in Medicaid, Medicare, and insurance companies providing reimbursement for early career psychologists’ services sooner. This would be beneficial for both the public and for early career professionals. As they would be able to obtain reimbursement for services sooner, more early career psychologists would be able to work in clinics that cater to under-insured and Medicaid-only populations and make a livable salary.

NJPA made this issue a top priority for the past two years, and it remains the number one legislative priority for 2019. In 2017, a task force consisting of early career psychologists (ECPs) and psychology students was created to assess the most important needs of permit holders and ECPs. Difficulty becoming licensed in New Jersey emerged as the foremost issue for the majority of participants. The NJPA ECP Committee was re-established in 2018 with the goal of representing the many needs of New Jersey ECPs, including advocating change to the licensure process. NJPA recognizes the importance of retaining young psychologists, not only for the sake of mental health care in the state, but for the future of NJPA itself. As older generations of psychologists retire, there is a need for young psychologists to fill the void they leave. Moreover, NJPA depends on the dues of constituents and their service in leadership positions within the organization.

Thank you to Drs. Lucy Takagi and Lale Bilginer who guided the work of the ECP Task Force. A huge thank you to Drs. Michelle Pievsky, Stacie Shivers, Christopher Thompson, Anastasia Bullock, Brittany Bertani, Dina Silverman, and Mary Toolan for all of their hard work! We would also like to thank those who participated in the ECP licensure workgroup.


NJPA recognizes the unique interests and concerns of early career psychologists — that is, those who have received their doctoral degree within the past ten years. Join the NJPA Early Career Listserv dedicated to the needs of ECPs. Call Central Office at 973-243-9800 to make sure you are on the list!

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