You are currently viewing From Interns to Licensed Professional Counselors: Two FSB Clinicians Share Their Journeys
Kimberly Lipari and Alexander Arici both started off as interns at Family Service Bureau of Newark (FSB) when they were pursuing master’s degrees at Montclair State University. They both recently became licensed professional counselors (LPCs).

From Interns to Licensed Professional Counselors: Two FSB Clinicians Share Their Journeys

Alexander Arici and Kimberly Lipari started their careers in mental health services as interns at Family Service Bureau of Newark (FSB), an affiliate of New Community Corporation. Both were earning master’s degrees at Montclair State University when they became interns at FSB and both recently became licensed professional counselors (LPCs) working at the agency.

New Jersey requires counselors to be licensed. There are two levels of licensure: licensed associate counselor (LAC) and licensed professional counselor (LPC). Both Arici and Lipari obtained their LAC after completing the graduate program at Montclair State University and passing the National Counselor Examination. Those with an LAC must work under supervision for 4,500 hours, or approximately three years, before becoming eligible to apply for an LPC license. Arici and Lipari both worked at FSB under supervision for the required time and received their LPC licenses in August. Now they are permitted to provide services independently.

Both Arici and Lipari decided to pursue a career in counseling because they wanted to help people. Lipari always wanted to help her siblings and friends when she was young and a high school class made an impact.

“I remember I took a psychology course in high school and it was so interesting to me. I found a calling for it,” she said. “So that’s what I did with my bachelor’s and when I graduated, there’s really not much you can do with your bachelor’s in psychology so I was looking for different things in the field. And being a counselor, it would help people. It felt like something I needed to do.”

Arici had experience receiving services. He was in foster care and had what he describes as a good therapist when he was a teenager. But he didn’t decide to pursue that line of work until he was in college working toward a different degree.

“I was going to school for computer science and then I decided about a year and a half into my program, I don’t really want to pursue this any more,” he said. “I was taking a psychology class at the time and I liked it. So I pursued that instead.”

When the time came to think about a job after graduation, Arici said he had the choice of social work or counseling. He chose counseling because he wanted to “help people deal with their problems and how to solve those problems.”

Arici graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology. He started interning at FSB in 2018 while pursuing his graduate degree and graduated from Montclair State University in 2019 with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. That same year he became a permanent employee at the agency.

“I probably chose FSB because they’re a very community-oriented clinic with a high client population and that stood out to me,” he said.

Lipari attended Rowan University for her undergraduate degree and graduated with a major in psychology and a minor in Spanish. She began her internship at FSB in May of 2017 while completing the graduate program at Montclair State University. She knew others at Montclair State University had interned at the agency and reached out to see if there was an opportunity. When her internship ended and she graduated with a Master of Arts in clinical mental health counseling in May of 2018, she wanted to become an employee at FSB, but there were no open positions at the time. Luckily for her, a position became available shortly after and she became a permanent employee in July of 2018. Aside from feeling comfortable at FSB and already knowing the procedures and clientele, Lipari said the agency offered supervision, which is required with the LAC license she had at the time.

“They give us supervision, which is really important, which you need to get your LPC. A lot of jobs don’t offer that. You have to pay out of pocket,” she explained. “That’s one of the good things about working here. They really give you the support that you need to succeed and move forward.”

FSB Director Christina Ward is happy to assist clinicians during their careers.

“Alex and Kim started here as interns and it’s been a rewarding experience watching them grow as clinicians,” Ward said. “Getting a clinical license is a journey in and of itself requiring a lot of education and a lot of clinical work hours. I have no doubt both Alex and Kim will show continued success in the counseling field.”

New Community Chief Operating Officer Fred Hunter said he enjoys recognizing employees’ accomplishments.

“It’s great to acknowledge our hardworking frontline staff,” he said. “I think it’s exciting to celebrate their dedication to their clients, residents and coworkers, which seems to be a common theme here at New Community Corporation.”

As mental health clinicians for FSB, Arici and Lipari meet with clients one-on-one, provide case management, conduct outreach and work on treatment plans. They both work out of the Kearny office.

Arici’s favorite part of the job is the variety it brings with each unique client.

“Everybody’s different. I enjoy that part of the job. Every day feels different. Every session feels different,” he said. “I’m a people person. So I really enjoy that part of the job. It’s very rewarding at the end of the day.”

Lipari enjoys her clients’ successes.

“My favorite part is when I see people succeeding,” she said. “It’s nice when I’m seeing a client for a while and they’re starting to hit those goals and start implementing the different strategies we talk about. It’s rewarding to see that I’m having an impact on their mental health.”

Family Service Bureau of Newark is a licensed outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment center with two locations. The Newark office is located at 274 South Orange Ave., Newark, and the Kearny office is located at 379 Kearny Ave., Kearny. FSB aims to provide each consumer with the resources needed to improve their quality of life. If you are interested in services, please call the Newark office at 973-412-2056 or the Kearny office at 201-246-8077 or email More information is available online at

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