Jaime Inclán, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Roberto Clemente Center in New York City, and Clinical Associate Professor in Psychiatry at New York University. Jaime Inclán was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He received his B.S. in Psychology at Georgetown University in 1971 and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1979. In 1982, Inclán founded the Roberto Clemente Family Guidance Center (RCC). RCC is a public community clinic that models integrated medical and mental health care in a community setting, largely serving immigrant and urban poor families. It was the first mental health program in New York State to propose that culture is an essential component of mental health treatment. RCC maintains a fully bilingual and bicultural staff and houses a large clinician training program in family therapy for Psychologist, Social Work, and Marriage and Family Therapy trainees. The clinic has come to be considered a model for training in community systems-oriented treatment and an oasis for immigrant and urban poor families. Their large clinician trainee program includes family therapy training, internships, externships, field placement, foreign visiting professionals, and fellowships. The fully bicultural staff has also made RCC a learning site for professional growth where minority professionals experience the solidarity that comes with majority status. In 1998 Inclán helped Earl Shorris launch the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a community growth and development intervention offering poor and non-traditional students an opportunity to receive college-level education in the humanities and earn post-secondary education credits through Bard College. It is now a national program. In addition, through an ongoing research collaboration between RCC and Partnership to End Addiction, Inclán has been involved in a broad program of clinical research on community-based implementation of family therapy for adolescent behavior problems, fidelity to core family therapy techniques for treating adolescent substance use, and evidence-based practices for treating adolescents with ADHD.
Inclán’s core professional dedication has been to developing a treatment model based on an ecological-systems perspective, and training young professionals to implement and assess the model’s effectiveness. Inclán’s model uses a holistic approach: micro-to-macro level dynamics are parts of a developing whole, where no single dimension is treated as subject or as context, and all dimensions are part of a dialectical growth tension in the lives of individuals. In therapy, human interactions and the power of human creations (e.g., value-orientations, laws, community resources, social biases, and healthcare system dynamics) are considered equally. Inclán’s treatment model engages families though “social-empathy,” an ecological level of empathy based on understanding macrosystemic dynamics operant in the developmental reference groups of the family. Solidarity with the family is achieved through validation of the weight of social circumstances and struggles in their lives, which requires understanding social class dynamics, and the impact of immigration and/or poverty on family dynamics, all of which can facilitate second- and third-order change. The future is viewed as an integral part of the developmental process, and the model incorporates the concept of a “life project” as an ecological-systems level living-force that impacts identity, meaning and purpose. This complements and adds a social dimension to an individual focus on hope and personal meaning. Inclán has written articles on the culture and migration dialogue; class, gender, and ethnicity dynamics; and ways of understanding and working with differences in value systems. Inclán’s work has emphasized the importance of understanding the dynamics associated with stages of the immigration process and helping families navigate the challenges of evolving and accommodating to their new environments, as well as exploring clinical differences and treatment strategies for working with families who migrate as a unit and those who migrate in stages. Inclán is an active member of organizations promoting European/Latin America family therapy training and contributor to the Spanish literature on the subject.