Impulse is a community newsletter produced by the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology (NCSPP) and distributed electronically at no cost to subscribers. We envision Impulse as an integrative source for local news, events, and thinking of interest to the psychoanalytically inclined. Our goal is to be your guide as you explore the Bay Area's rich array of analytic resources.

We invite you to become a member of NCSPP, if you are not already. And, we welcome you as a subscriber to Impulse. Join us as we highlight the exceptional diversity of psychoanalytic thought and practice in Northern California.

by Danni Biondini, LMFT

“This is basic in a time when people are hungry and desperate for straightforward communication about the life we are all leading in common; inflated or overwrought theory becomes an almost self-indulgent luxury—perhaps even a crime—under the hammer of the world we live in.” - Seymour Krim

Many of the folks in our psychoanalytic community believe that psychoanalysis has subversive power to understand — and transform — the lives we are living, lives shaped by power and contextualized within the sociopolitical realm. I know you’re out there doing cool, good, liberatory, critical psychoanalytic work. 

But you wouldn’t know it from the presentations we give!

Who the heck decided the best way to share ideas is to have someone dry-read a theory paper at a politely nodding, but secretly dozing, audience for over an hour, then host a perfunctory discussion which feels like nothing more than select audience members seeking air time to eek out their own personal point?

I’m sorry, but I have a whole oceans-depth of excitement inside of me and I’m straight-up BORED.

by Jim Meyers, MFT


The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California invites you to attend an informal Open House

Thursday, November 7, 2019
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

530 Bush Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, 94108.

Please join PINC faculty, administrators, graduates, and candidates. Bring your questions, your friends, and colleagues. We anticipate an informative and lively discussion. Dinner will be served.

Parking is available across the street in Sutter-Stockton garage.

R.S.V.P. by Tuesday, November 5 to

by Amber Trotter, Psy.D. 

On Freedom      

The more one thinks, the more dialectics emerge. Freedom presents a particularly slippery dichotomy of agency and acceptance, experimentation and discipline, structure and creativity. Psychoanalysis contains diverse theories of freedom, at times difficult to reconcile, while also neglecting political freedom.

Analytic theory has often been marshalled in support of determinism. A skilled detective, Freud traced symptomatic cues to their etiological origins, and by so doing, staunched a trend to indict mental patients for a lack of willpower. He traced psychopathology to repressive moral codes, sexual violations, and biological processes. One might say that analytic therapy loosens the shackles of freedom, exposing our lack of control, and thus problematizing the whole project of conscious choice. If there is a freedom in psychoanalysis, it is found through surrendering to the mystery of the unconscious and the wild unruliness of libidinal desire.

Yet Freud also championed free will. With effort, psychoanalysis teaches, we can become the authors of our own stories. We can choose to become a different kind of character. We can deconstruct our thoughts and feelings, reject implicit programing and irrational drives, and make alternative choices. Through analysis, we can change our neural circuitry, relational expectations, and even unconscious dynamics – we can intentionally alter our psychic DNA. 

by Molly Merson, MFT

Mental health is a care we must share. Peter Fonagy highlights how collective responsibility for mental health improves both individuals and communities, and encourages all of us to focus on community care as a primary aspect of mental health.

Of Freud, 19th-Century Therapeutics, and Recumbent Posture. How "the couch" came to be a part of Freud's psychoanalysis.

On Sex Without Identity: Feminist Politics and Sexual Difference. Alenka Zupancic is interviewed about the ways in which psychoanalysis, feminism, and Marxism view sexuality and identity.

by Michele McGuinness


NCSPP's Digital Media and Technology Committee is looking for new committee members as we use digital technologies to expand the reach and accessibility of NCSPP to members and the wider community.

Videographer for small workshops:
This person will be responsible for filming NCSPP workshops and have a strong interest in bringing analytic ideas to the world. Typically this could be 1-3 events a year. These responsibilities include working with our livestreaming company in advance to confirm setup and filming requirements, testing and running camera for livestream events, and/or creating brief audio or video clips of the presenter to post on the website. We have the equipment, we just need you!

Social Media:
This person will know how to MC (move the crowd) on social media. As we roll out our video offerings, we need someone who manages to hold the analytic frame while still getting people excited, facilitating a dialogue, and building a wider audience for NCSPP's offerings through social media. The Social Media Person will be responsible for advertising NCSPP events on FB as well as using other social media platforms to get the word out about upcoming events and NCSPP in general.

Blog/Newsgroup/Podcast Person:
This position is still in the planning phase. Responsibilities could include: create and maintain a blog for the organization on varying topics, create podcasts that would be available through the website, and create brief audio or video clips of the presenter to post on the website. This is a great opportunity to attend NCSPP events and shape the organization's approach to digital content delivery.

If you fit, or aspire to fit, one of these roles, we would love to hear from you. For more information please email us.


SUITE WITH THREE PSYCHOTHERAPISTS. Mondays, Fridays, Sundays till 3 pm, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays till noon. Large, quiet, beautifully furnished, fireplace, built-in cupboards, closet, Wi-Fi, Fax. Available now. Amount of rent is based on number of days used. Contact Ellen Salwen, or (415) 710-2524. 

CONSULTATION GROUP. This small, collegial group seeks to develop the capacity to go deeper into the therapy process by openly inquiring into our subjective responses to our experiences and refining and articulating them with a focus on how we each arrive at the individual perspectives that feel authentic to us. We then work together to integrate these multiple points of view into a richer and fuller picture of what is happening in the therapy encounter. Los Gatos from 10:30 to 11:50 am on Tuesdays. The fee is $70. Hugh Grubb Psy.D. (408) 395-7592 or

NICELY DECORATED OFFICE AVAILABLE. Beautiful, historic office building in Lower Pac Heights. The office is bright with a large window. Comfortable couch and chairs, desk, storage cabinet, and locked file cabinet. Shared waiting room and kitchen. The building is centrally located, has beautiful gardens and excellent street parking. It is a nice community and there are many therapists who work in the building. The office is available all day/evening Mondays and Thursdays; Wednesday evenings, 5 pm to close. $575. Contact Katharine Vila, or (415) 871-4330.

PSYCHOTHERAPY OFFICE SUBLET: Lovely upper Fillmore Street location at 2491 Washington Street in a suite with three other analysts. Office is available: Tuesdays Thursdays, and Fridays along with Mondays starting in January. The office has a contemporary ambience with high ceilings, bay window, analytic couch and closet with built in desk. Rent/day is $374. If interested please call Barbara A. Baer, Ph.D. at (415) 346-8868.

PSYCHOANALYTIC LIBRARY comprising of Kleinian, Winnicottian, Independent canons. $1000.

Old couches, new books, hot jobs, cool internships, office rentals? List them in Impulse's Classifieds for a modest fee. Please see our submission guidelines for details.   

Appointment Book: 

Student Paper Presentation
Fri, Nov 1 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm / 507 Polk St / San Francisco
NCSPP / (859) 652-1881 / A. Trotter, Psy.D. / $12 - $15

The Skin Ego Theory
Sat, Nov 2 / 10:00 am - 12:00 am / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / C. Anzieu-Premmereur / free - $30

Perspectives and Reflections on the Human Psyche
Fri, Nov 8 / 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / Rabbi D. Kleinberg, Ph.D. / $5 - $40

Beyond the Consulting Room
Fri, Nov 15 / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm / 507 Polk St / San Francisco
NCSPP / (216) 903-0161 / K. G. Dajani, Psy.D. / $15-$18

Racialized Bodies and the Violence of the Setting
Tue, Nov 19 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / D. Butler, MFT; F. Gonzalez, M.D. / free - $45

The Late Lacan, Narcissism, and Contemporary Psychoanalysis
Fri, Nov 22 / 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm / 1453 Mission Namaste / San Francisco
Lacanian School / (510) 255-5788 / J. Hamilton, M.D. / $40 - $100

Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Therapy \
Sat, Nov 23 / 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
NCSPP / (415) 662-8264 / G. Isaacs Russell, Ph.D., NCPsyA; A. Trotter, Psy.D. / $25 - $60

What can Psychoanalysis Teach us about Hate
Sat, Nov 23 / 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm / 1453 Mission St / San Francisco
Lacanian School / (510) 255-5788 / A. Grose / $40 - $100