Looking forward to hearing Christopher Bollas' insights this month into distinctions between engaging conscious and unconscious material in psychoanalytic work leads me to reflect on the inspiring and remarkable growth of our Northern California psychoanalytic community over the past two decades.

When the NCSPP welcomes Dr. Bollas on June 17 for his presentation "The Escape from Free Association," it will be our 19th Annual Lecture. The Annual Lecture has been a cornerstone program for NCSPP since the organization's inception. At that time, the lecture was the large annual public event — there were no others. Nowadays we are accustomed to many large exciting psychoanalytic events throughout the year, many put on by NCSPP and many others offered by other psychoanalytic organizations. It's remarkable to reflect that back in those days — 12, 15, 18 years ago — the Annual Lecture stood alone in providing a large forum for psychoanalytic psychotherapists to gather and to think, listen and learn together about an important topic.

In this year's lecture Dr. Bollas will share his view that much of contemporary technique and theory focuses on material that is largely conscious. He will attempt to refocus the lens through which we view our work on what he believes we have lost sight of: the unconscious. In particular, he will challenge the use of "here and now transference interpretations" as impairing our capacity to be in contact with the patient's unconscious. It seems that he will be interested in opening up space for free association between ourselves and our patients in a way that he feels has been closed down.

I hope to see a wide representation of our vibrant community at this year's lecture and hope it will not only be a rewarding day itself, but also a reminder to us all of how the dedication and care of psychoanalytic practitioners and scholars in our area has created a community where an illustrious day like this is just a small sample of what's offered to us throughout the year. If you want to learn more or register for the Annual Lecture, please visit the Events section of our web site.

Beth Steinberg, Ph.D.
President, NCSPP