iStrive | Mental Health Professionals

iStrive is an opportunity for ACAP’s advanced clinical candidates and Master Degree graduates to provide individual and group psychotherapy services for iStrive clients while accumulating the clinical hours required for licensure and certification under supervision of senior faculty. This is a unique advantage in services for the community and these clients, as well as for ACAP.

ACAP and iSTRIVE Case Statement

Who we are:

Combined with an accomplished board of trustees, exceptional directors and an expert faculty, the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis (ACAP), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has been “promoting potential and transforming lives” for over 35 years, delivering cutting edge treatment, modern psychoanalytic techniques and innovative ways to “treat and teach” the emergent needs of its patients and students.

What we do:

ACAP ( is a unique nonprofit organization in Livingston, New Jersey.  We seek to transform lives through:


TEACHING: We offer accredited degrees – a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and a Masters in Psychoanalysis in partnership with the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis; and a Certificate in Psychoanalysis.


TREATING: 5,000 hours of treatment through our North Jersey Consultation Center (NJCC) each year.  No one has ever been turned away due to psychological issues or payment difficulties.


TRAINING: Continuing education programs, conferences, and professional development are offered regularly to organizations, parents, mental health practitioners, teachers, and clergy, among others.

How we do it:

We provide 20,000 professional volunteer hours a year provided by ACAP directors, alumni, students and volunteers, offering our services.  Basically all of our income is from tuition and fundraising which supports our general operating expenses.

We are small but feisty and committed to serving the community. We are starting a program to help the rising number of young adults in our area on the autism spectrum who are aging out of usual services. We know we can help with our unique approach that we have applied to other problems like schizophrenia and dementia, as well as conflicts in the classroom or workplace.  This program is in keeping with our wish to serve the community, with a planned pilot beginning September 2018.  We have committed to having our first gala/fundraiser to benefit this new endeavor on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston.

Our New Endeavor:

ACAP’s iSTRIVE: Enriching the Lives Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum (ASD).

Let me begin with an anecdote of the types of clients we seek to serve:

David G. is 23 years old and is diagnosed with autism. He graduated from the special needs school he attended for most of his childhood and has been receiving supportive services. He is making a transition to a new day community and works part time. His family receives state supported services Monday to Friday. On the weekends, David is at home pacing and unable to get involved in the same activities that his siblings participate in, especially since they have become young adults.

            Since these changes, David can become frustrated and isolated. This has resulted in tantrums and verbal outbursts on the weekends. The family members find themselves unable to attend to David with the kind of attention and engagement that he needs and fear that he will further lose ground on the gains he has made. ACAP is set to launch “ACAP’s iSTRIVE,” a Saturday pilot gap program that will provide these young adults with the emotional, social, and recreational supports they need on Saturdays.

Challenge, Opportunity, Solution



The Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis (ACAP) is prepared to help individuals with a range of developmental delays who have lost their usual support system and structured programs through the aging out process and are in need of continued social and emotional support. This unfortunate reality is being described as “the coming Tsunami,” 

One in forty-five children was identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder in NJ. These students have access to programs and services until age 21. However, when they graduate high school they “age-out.” They lose access to critical services. But then what?

In the next decade, a half million young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder will not have the skills needed to find a place to live, and a job. This is bringing a wave of anxiety to those who care for them. It is a transition that many parents of young adults on the spectrum fear for good reason. In addition to a reduction of supportive services as the students age- out, there is a lack of affordable weekend quality programs.


ACAP is a training and treatment center with extensive experience and success in treating the most vulnerable populations in New Jersey including at-risk families, elderly, children and emotionally disabled persons. ACAP has served the doubly underserved, both helpless and hopeless. It is also a psychoanalytic institute that offers a clinical training program leading to a Certificate in Modern Psychoanalysis and applied psychoanalytic Master of Arts degrees in collaboration with The Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis.



The ACAP’s iSTRIVE program:



Relationship building



Emotional Intelligence

ACAP’s iSTRIVE is the first Saturday service for young adults on the autism spectrum offered in Essex County. This expansive model combats the emergent inevitabilities in the neuro-diverse young adult community to overcome obstacles that prevent them from reaching their full potential.

This new program will provide a win-win service that will meet the needs of: a) aging out students who may have no other place to turn for services and weekend programming; b) provide the much needed support and respite for the family members who have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder and; c) provide hands on training and the hours necessary for ACAP students who are completing their master degrees and working towards credentialing and licensing.

The pilot program will start out by serving 10-15 students for four hours on Saturdays, 32 weeks a year (2 semesters). The salary expense for the program will be reduced by utilizing ACAP students to provide treatment and counseling. This internship will fulfill new accreditation guidelines and provide the additional clinical training hours needed for ACAP students to become effective mental health professionals, prior to graduation.


ACAP’s iSTRIVE goals:

Extend socialization and friendship skills

Provide services for weekend hours

Improve social and emotional functioning

Create community awareness and education

Provide group activities and individual psychotherapy

Family respite care

Provide training and support to the caretakers


ACAP’s iSTRIVE Objectives:

The first objective will be to provide socio-emotional and vocational and prevocational mentorship, empowering neuro-diverse young adults to overcome obstacles that prevent them from reaching their full potential in all areas. Emerging adults, age 21 and over, whose essential life skills mature in a nontraditional pattern and are often considered to have plateaued simply because of chronological age. We want to encourage and promote the continued growth we know is possible. Our experience is that these valuable community members learn in divergent ways that are often sparked by emotional connectedness and coincides with the learning process and socialization opportunity. Our socio-emotional program provides this experimental platform combined with concrete skill building and self-advocacy training.

Our second objective, equally important, is to provide a support and educational network for the families of the nontraditional young adult. We recognize the commitment required to shepherd successful adulthood. Without support, parents can suffer burnout form confronting the challenges of multiple bureaucracies coupled with other family and work demands. ACAP’s iSTRIVE program offers opportunities for parents to thrive along with their adult children.

Our third objective is career networking and community awareness building. With our interactive process, individuals will begin to grow using opportunities provided to begin a fully satisfying and productive adulthood.

Throughout the three-year pilot program we will study and better understand the needs of our clients and families in a way that will allow us to create curricula to meet their comprehensive and growing needs. We will have data from continuous assessments to expand the services such as vocational training and residential services. Through various resources we will be able to expand the pilot program model and continue to fill an unmet need in the community.  for TEACHING, TRAINING, & TREATING


Please Join Us for our

iStrive Fundraiser Launch Event

… Celebrating Dr. William Semel’s 50 years of serving children and families in our communities.

… Honorary co-chairs — Governor Richard J. Codey and Bruce Litinger, Executive Director ECLC.

We would be most pleased to share the evening with you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

6:00-9:00 pm

Crystal Plaza

305 W Northfield Rd

Livingston, NJ 07039

Reception and Light Supper,
(Glatt Kosher)

Silent Auction

Program introducing iStrive to the community

RSVP by April 15.

Individual tickets – $150.00

Sponsorship Opportunities: We hope you will consider iStrive sponsorship opportunities in your generous giving budget. As a helpful guideline about program expenses, it costs about $5,000 per year to support one young adult in the program.

Platinum Level
$10,000 – Table, event recognition, full-page journal ad – priority seating

Gold Level
$5000   – 8 tickets, event recognition and full-page journal ad

Silver Level
$2500   –  4 tickets, event recognition and half-page journal ad

Bronze Level
$1000 – 2 tickets, event recognition and half-page journal ad

For those who cannot attend the May 1 party, but want to help support the program and our young adults, their families, and the many community partners who will benefit from it. Please feel free to indicate amount on the response card or contact us. Every donation will be gratefully received and put to good use for ACAP iStrive.

Dr. William Semel says:

“In medical school, they rarely mentioned autism. In my pediatric practice, I began seeing children with autism and, sadly, there wasn’t a lot of help I could offer. Nobody could. It was left up to the parents to figure how to support their children. Some enrolled in mainstream schools, others in special schools. When they outgrew school and became young adults, what then?

If all the parents and patients with special needs I’ve known over the years could have had a program each weekend like iStrive, offering advice, structured activities and friendship, they’d have gobbled it up. Please join me in extending best wishes and support to ACAP’s iStrive program.”