Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology
Intensive Study Group
Fri, Sep 8, 2017 to Fri, May 18, 2018
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC)
530 Bush Street
7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
Neil Talkoff, Ph.D.
Israel Katz, M.D.
Patricia Marra, MFT
Paul U. Alexander, Ph.D.
CE Credits: 
Participant Limit: 

General Public: $1900
$500 deposit with registration;
$1400 balance due August 26, 2016

NCSPP Members: $1700
$300 deposit with registration;
$1400 balance due August 26
, 2016

NCSPP CMH Members: $1350
$300 deposit with registration;
$1050 balance due August 26
, 2016

One scholarship may be granted based on a space-available basis. Scholarship applications must be received by Friday, August 28, 2015. For more information and to request a scholarship application please contact us.

Early Registration Deadline: 
August 25, 2017
NCSPP offers online course registration and payment using PayPal, the Internet’s most trusted payment processor. All major credit cards, as well as checking account debit payments, are accepted.


San Francisco Intensive Study Group —
Deconstructing the Iceberg: Contemporary Theories of the Unconscious and Clinical Application

Course Overview: 

Freud famously compared our mental life to an iceberg: 10% observable and 90% submerged. While it is generally agreed that the unconscious is the foundational concept of psychoanalytic theory, what continues to be debated is whether the concept pertains to an entity or to processes. Is the unconscious a storehouse of what is forgotten and rejected by consciousness? Is it an enigmatic register of what is unsymbolizable and unrepresentable? Is the unconscious a source of creative intuition that can generate moments of inexplicable insight — aha! — while simultaneously providing inspiration for the free play of mind and body? Is it purely intrapsychic, intersubjectively co-generated, or both?

The 2017-18 Intensive Study Groups will explore these and other theoretical questions, examining their implications for therapeutic action. How do our theories of the unconscious shape our styles of interpretation and intervention? Might this affect the way we listen? 

Can we determine the clinical significance and relevance of our counter­trans­ferences and reveries as possible measures of unconscious-to-unconscious communication? How might different theories of the unconscious apply to different patient populations?

Like real icebergs, theories of the unconscious can be deceiving, reductionistic, or dangerous. Yet, they are also essential in helping us navigate tumultuous emotional domains. We, therefore, invite clinicians of all levels of experience to participate in this yearlong investigation, guided by clinically adept, insightful, and creative instructors. The didactics will be integrated with clinical material in order to facilitate a deeper understanding and use of theory.

Click here for detailed information about individual ISG segments.

Course Objectives: 
  • Participants will be able to discuss how the concept of the unconscious informs how analysts listen to their patients.

  • Participants will be able to compare  the repressed from the non-repressed unconscious.

  • Participants will be able to compare and contrast different models of the unconscious as they are manifest in the clinical setting.

  • Participants will be able to describe challenges posed to clinicians working with patients contending with catastrophic states of mind.
Empirical Reference: 

Bornstein, R.F. and J.M. Masling, ed. (1998). Empirical perspectives on the psychoanalytic unconscious. American Psychological Association (APA). Doi:10.1037/10256-000.


Paul U. Alexander, Ph.D., practices psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and consultation with in­div­iduals, couples, and small groups. He teaches at the Access Institute and at CPMC and consults on group processes in private practice and institutional settings. Dr. Alexander’s work includes study of the intersection of poetry, music, and psychoanalysis.

Israel Katz, M.D., is a member and faculty at SFCP. He is an Editorial Associate for JAPA and was Editor-in-Chief of IPSO, the IPA organization for psychoanalysts-in-formation. Dr. Katz has taught at SFCP, NCSPP, and Access Institute on Freud and also taught psychoanalysis in France, Spain, and Latin America. He has a private practice in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychiatry in San Francisco.

Patricia Marra, MFT, is a member and faculty at SFCP; Chair, SFCP Visiting Professor program. She is also the Book & Film Review Editor, fort da, in which she has published several reviews and interviews. She teaches a variety of courses for SFCP and NCSPP. She maintains a private practice in San Francisco.

Neil Talkoff, Ph.D., is a faculty member at SFCP, has taught American Relational Psychoanalysis and currently is teaching a case conference. He’s instructed at CPMC, where he was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year three times, and has presented at NCSPP and the IPA’s 2016 convention. Dr. Talkoff’s psychoanalytic private practice includes couples therapy and peer consultation.

Target Audience & Level: 

The Intensive Study Groups are for mid- to advanced-level clinicians and community members, or academics and artists interested in the relations of psychoanalytic psychotherapy to culture.

Cancellation & Refund Policies: 

Students not admitted due to space limitation will receive a full refund of their deposit. Cancellations prior to Friday, August 18, 2017: Full refund of deposit minus $100 administration charge. Cancellations after Friday, August 18, 2017: No refund provided.

Contact Information: 

ISG participants are eligible for 12 sessions of consultation with a PINC analyst at $60 per session to help integrate the material into clinical practice.

Administration | registration questions: Michele McGuinness, or (415) 496-9949

ISG Program questions: Brenda Bloomfield, LCSW, or (510) 316-5312

Intensive Study Group Committee

The Intensive Study Group Committee oversees the year-long ISG in San Francisco and the East Bay. The ISGs are co-sponsored by PINC. Each fall the committee puts on an Introductory Event featuring invited guest lecturers who speak to theoretical and clinical themes related to the current subject of the ISG. This event is open to all.

Brenda Bloomfield, LCSW, Chair
Johanna Murphy, Ph.D., Chair
Eric P. Essman, MA
Cecilia Froberg, LMFT
Alice Knutson, MFT