Five Sessions: War in Therapy – A Few Years Later [Jaime Estades]


The Five Sessions represent a dialogue between the client and the therapist, and where the client asks the therapist a question that no one so far answered: “Would the slaves in South felt better about slavery if they had therapy three times a week?”

Anyone in the mental health field, psychologists or social workers, take a pose when confronted with this question. And then – there is no answer…

The reality is that the elimination of slavery is the only answer. Today we do not have legalized slavery per se, but we have oppression, racism, classism, and disenfranchisement. Should we include activism as a part of therapy, when necessary? Five Sessions struggles with this and other questions…

It is my belief that today we practice psychotherapy that is beneficial for those who have most of their material needs satisfied. By contrast, those with ongoing unsatisfied material needs do not respond to this one-size-fits-all approach. Although this “bourgeois” approach is designed to fit the needs of a specific class – it is applied to all!

That is why we should search for a new “psychology of the whole,” which would embrace the poor and socially/ politically/ economically disadvantaged.

Short bio:

Jaime A. Estades, Esq. MSW is a Columbia University and New York University Adjunct Professor of Social Policy, Law and Social Work Advocacy and PhD professor of Social Policy and research at NYU. He is also writer, labor and community activist has committed his life to advocacy, education, health, and leadership training. In addition, Estades is the writer of the Play and Novel Five Sessions which is a class for master level clinical and advocacy students at Columbia and NYU. In 202 Estades was selected as one of the most influential people in New York City by City and State magazine, the most influential political and policy magazine In New York. have or the past 30 years, he has been working on issues relating to education, immigration, housing, voter registration and family entitlement issues. In 1996, Jaime co-founded the Latino Leadership Institute, Inc. where he still presides as President. The Latino Leadership Institute, a not-for-profit nonpartisan corporation affiliated with the City University of New York, has trained hundreds of individuals on the fundamentals of campaign management and public policy, has hosted numerous colloquia and civic engagement projects for high school students. In October 2015, the Latino Leadership Institute was selected by the White House as one of the Bright Spots of Excellence in Education in the Hispanic Community in the United States.

Jaime has also used his expertise to bolster the work of key nonprofits, including the Boriken Neighborhood Health Center which recently completed renovation of the first eco-friendly (Green) Health Center in East Harlem. Jaime organized 250 families against the Los Sures Development Company, one of the worst landlords in Brooklyn. As Director for Advocacy for the Alliance for Quality Education, Jaime built, managed and coordinated coalitions of sixty community based educational and labor organizations to improve the quality of public education in New York City. In 1996, during the presidential election, as Executive Director of the Hispanic Education and Legal Fund, Jaime spearheaded the nonpartisan registration of over 100,000 new voters in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida.

Jaime, who was a Revson Fellow at Columbia University, received his Juris Doctor from the City University of New York School of Law, his Masters in Social Work from the Hunter College Graduate School of Social Work, and his B.A. from Sacred Heart University in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Jaime continues to inspire the next generation of community activists, as an Adjunct Professor, of Social Welfare Policy at Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work.