Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology

Crisis and Growth

An “open secret in our world,” wrote philosopher Stanley Cavell, “is that we do not know what legitimizes either divorce or marriage.” As psychotherapists, we seek to help people sort out dilemmas of sustained commitment, while sharing in the prevailing cultural uncertainty. This course provides a grounding in current theories of adult development and couple development as a means for considering the normative crises and challenges of long-term relationships, including feelings of disconnection and deadness, affairs and infatuations, addictive behaviors, and aging.


Join NCSPP for an exclusive viewing and reception with artist Eric Goodfield, as we explore his photographs from a psychoanalytic perspective. Nicole Hsiang will open the discussion with her observations about the work.

Annual Psychoanalytic Couple Psychotherapy Event 2014

Join us for a stimulating, educational day with our visiting scholar from Edinburgh, Scotland, Molly Ludlam, M.A., a distinguished clinician and writer in the field of psychoanalytic couple psychotherapy, and the Editor in Chief of the journal, Couple and Family Psychoanalysis. Ms. Ludlam will discuss the work of W.R.D. Fairbairn (1889-1964), the Scottish psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. In the morning session, Dr. Leora Benioff will discuss Molly Ludlam’s paper, and in the afternoon, Ms. Ludlam will give a clinical case presentation of a couple. Audience members will then meet in small groups with PCPG faculty members to discuss how to integrate Fairbairn’s theories into clinical practice with couples.

Dehumanization: From Trauma to Treatment

In this course, we will explore the theory and practice of witnessing and acknowledgment in the clinical hours. We will consider how a focus on rehumanization elevates witnessing to equal status with insight and interpreting, and how this shift can move psychotherapy into territory beyond inner conflict and relational deficit. This course aims to address the theory and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy within a sociopolitical context.

Foundations: Advanced Klein (Clinical Klein)

This six-week course is the second in our two-course series, “An Introduction to Melanie Klein.” In this course, we will deepen our understanding of contemporary Kleinian theory and technique by closely studying two clinically oriented papers. This course is a follow-up to the previous Klein course held in the spring. Previous participants are encouraged to continue their study. However, this course is also open to all interested. Some familiarity with Klein is preferred.

Student Paper Presentation 2015

fort da and the Pre-Licensed Committee are hosting an evening to celebrate Daniel G. Butler's paper, "Falling through the Cracks: Precarity, Precocity, and Other Neoliberal Pressures," which was awarded fort da's 2014 Student Paper Award. Daniel will present his paper, followed by a discussion of the paper with stephen Hartman.

Annual Event and Lecture: A Day with Salman Akhtar

NCSPP is honored to bring renowned psychoanalyst and poet Salman Akhtar, M.D., to the Bay Area. Dr. Akhtar posits that the discord between the subjectivity of minorities and their cultural “holding environment” (Winnicott, 1960) causes chronic mental pain or, in Freud’s (1926) terms, seelenschmerz. The unease felt by minorities arises from being stereotyped by a majority’s projections, as well as from the figure-ground discord in their own subjectivity. Seeking to anesthetize their distress, minorities might retreat from social participation, dream of times/places that could accord them majority status, and even discharge impotent rage via acts of terrorism.

Spring Happy Hour

Missed our Fall Happy Hour? Do not despair! Spring is around the corner. Let’s connect and celebrate this time of year, full of promises. Wherever you are in the licensure process, join a community of friends, colleagues, and ardent fans as we ring in the PLC's second annual Spring Happy Hour.

Reflective Spaces | Material Places May 9

Community mental health practitioners are under enormous pressure to deliver more services with fewer resources, while the problems that we are challenged to resolve are increasingly complex. As we strive to provide meaningful interventions that address the social, psychic, and justice demands of those who struggle the most, we have an even greater need to carve out spaces — both within our minds as clinicians and within our places of practice — to reflect on our work and connect with one another. Since our inception in 2012, we discovered that many of us are passionate about encouraging a dialogue between community work and psychoanalytic thinking. We hope to continue to build a community around doing so.


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