In Memoriam of Dr. James Incorvaia


In Memoriam of Dr. James Incorvaia

It is with great sadness and a very heavy heart that we share with you that our Vista family has experienced a great loss in the passing of Dr. James Incorvaia, Director of the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center and Institute. He was committed to his Reiss-Davis family and will be remembered as a great man, mentor-teacher and a friend who has had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many. Dr. Incorvaia has provided leadership and a profound commitment to Reiss-Davis for over 45 years. His years of dedication originally began when he himself matriculated as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 1972, and continued when he was hired as Director of the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center & Institute in 1975. Our grief is embedded in our deep respect for his steadfast leadership, his lifelong commitment to the field of psychodynamic child psychotherapy, and his advocacy and care for children and their families. Jim worked relentlessly to promote children’s mental health services in the community and inform the professional community of recent, cutting edge theoretical development in the field. He was a well-respected leader and educator in the field of child psychotherapy.

“Dr. Incorvaia’s steadfast commitment to the betterment of children’s mental health – especially low- income and disadvantaged children – in the field of child psychology and psychotherapy, coupled with his vision, innovation, and unlimited source of energy, made a significant impact on the patients, fellows, and faculty he has served and worked with.”

“Dr. Incorvaia’s steadfast commitment to the betterment of children’s mental health – especially low- income and disadvantaged children – in the field of child psychology and psychotherapy, coupled with his vision, innovation, and unlimited source of energy, made a significant impact on the patients, fellows, and faculty he has served and worked with.”

– Kenneth Skale PsyD,
Past-President of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association

– Kenneth Skale PsyD,
Past-President of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association

Through his 45+ year career, Dr. Incorvaia has continuously led and launched innovative programs and projects that have provided a wealth of training opportunities and services to hundreds of clients and therapists. He oversaw the training of over 200 postdoctoral and postgraduate fellows with psychodynamic coursework and supervision through the Reiss-Davis Postdoctoral/Postgraduate Clinical Fellowship. He is also an internationally renowned expert for teaching and training on the Rorschach. The PEDS (Psychological and Educational Diagnostic Testing for School-Age Children, Adolescents and Young Adults) a program offering psychological and educational testing assessment, he created and headed since 1983, has provided assessments to thousands of children, many of whom were low-income and disadvantaged. He authored a series of books from the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center, providing psychotherapeutic guidance in print:

  • Handbook of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, Vol. I : A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment (Jason Aronson Publishers; 1995)
  • The Handbook of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy: New Directions in Integrative Treatment (Aronson, Jason Inc.; 1998)
  • Understanding, Diagnosing, and Treating ADHD in Children and Adolescents: An Integrative Approach (Jason Aronson, Inc.; 1999)

Dr. Incorvaia was the recipient of the 2020 LACPA Distinguished Service to the Community, Diversity or Social Justice Award. When accepting the award, reflecting his grace and humility, Dr. Incorvaia thanked his colleagues at Vista and shared the following with his peers:

“I am grateful for my direct and indirect clinical supervisory and administrative work as a psychologist trying to make a difference in helping to meet the needs of the ever-growing mental health work with children, adolescents, and parents in the Los Angeles community and beyond. This award must be shared though in part by each of my child and adolescent patents as well as all the fellows and students for all they have taught me and for all they have encouraged me to continue to do for almost 50 years.

It’s been my pleasure to teach, train, and supervise hundreds of trainees over the decades, and to see, consult and learn from a myriad of young people and their parents that I have had the honor of working with diagnostically and therapeutically…”

“I am grateful for my direct and indirect clinical supervisory and administrative work as a psychologist trying to make a difference in helping to meet the needs of the ever-growing mental health work with children, adolescents, and parents in the Los Angeles community and beyond. This award must be shared though in part by each of my child and adolescent patents as well as all the fellows and students for all they have taught me and for all they have encouraged me to continue to do for almost 50 years.

It’s been my pleasure to teach, train, and supervise hundreds of trainees over the decades, and to see, consult and learn from a myriad of young people and their parents that I have had the honor of working with diagnostically and therapeutically…”

Dr. Incorvaia had an ardent belief for clinicians, that knowing how to work with a child carries over to their adult-based practices. He liked to remind clinicians, “If you know how to work with children, you can work with anyone.” He inspired his staff and administration to see the world through his eyes of compassion and understanding.

“There are simply not enough words to convey Jim’s impact on not only Vista, but the community as a whole. It was due to his unmatched tireless efforts that the Reiss-Davis Graduate School became fully accredited.”

“There are simply not enough words to convey Jim’s impact on not only Vista, but the community as a whole. It was due to his unmatched tireless efforts that the Reiss-Davis Graduate School became fully accredited.”

– Lena Wilson
President/CEO, Vista Del Mar

– Lena Wilson
President/CEO, Vista Del Mar

“We will always remember him with deep gratitude for his teachings, his contributions to the field of child psychology, his relentless spirit in facing challenges, his creative mind, and his kind and gentle heart. Jim was truly “one of a kind,” those who had the privilege and opportunity to work with him will forever be thankful for the meaningful impact he had on their professional growth. His moto was “I want you to become the best therapist you were meant to be.”

“We will always remember him with deep gratitude for his teachings, his contributions to the field of child psychology, his relentless spirit in facing challenges, his creative mind, and his kind and gentle heart. Jim was truly “one of a kind,” those who had the privilege and opportunity to work with him will forever be thankful for the meaningful impact he had on their professional growth. His moto was “I want you to become the best therapist you were meant to be.”

– Simcha Saiek, PsyD
Training Director, Clinical Fellowship
Reiss-Davis Child Study Center & Institute

– Simcha Saiek, PsyD
Training Director, Clinical Fellowship
Reiss-Davis Child Study Center & Institute

We look forward to honoring Dr. Incorvaia and his commitment by continuing his work through the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center and the Reiss-Davis Graduate School. We are resolved to continue his work as we pursue his vision.

To share a remembrance, please click here: https://www.reissdavis.edu/incorvaia.html

To continue the legacy of Dr. Incorvaia, please click here to make a donation towards the Dr. James Incorvaia Scholarship Fund.