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 Paula Mandel, PhD


Michael Parsons, a leading thinker in the independent tradition of British Object Relations, takes us into the core of what it means to be truly present in the therapeutic encounter. In describing the internal analytic setting, he elaborates and extends Bion’s concepts of analytic reverie and dream-work, helping extend the reach of analytic work into diverse settings and populations. In this conference, Dr. Parsons will present his paper “Free Association and the Death Drive: The Solemn Freedom of Psychoanalysis.” It will be followed by a discussion by Annie Sweetnam, whose poetic sensibility offers a similarly rich and creative approach to the clinical encounter. In the afternoon, Elizabeth Weisz will present a clinical case to Dr. Parsons, which will be followed by a discussion with the audience.

Saturday, April 14, 2018
9:00 am - 2:30 pm
The David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

by Andrew Harlem, PhD

A PRESENTATION BY JONATHAN SHEDLER, PHD: Where Is the 'Evidence' in Evidence-Based Therapy? How Health Insurers and Academic Researchers Are Gaslighting America

We are bombarded with messages from policymakers, health insurers, and academic researchers that "evidence-based therapy" (a code phrase for brief CBT) is scientifically proven, superior to psychoanalytic therapy, and the gold standard of care. The evidence rests on a house of cards. Research actually shows that these treatments are ineffective. Benefits are trivial, patients do not get well, and even the trivial benefits do not last. Dr. Shedler will discuss the flawed evidence behind "evidence-based" therapy, and how research findings are routinely misrepresented to give the false impression that the treatments are effective. He will also discuss the biases built into research studies that render their findings clinically meaningless. Attendees will come away with the ammunition to respond to critics of relationship-based therapy.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
Cost: Free

by Lorrie Goldin, LCSW

HERE WE GO AGAIN: Guns and Mental Illness

It’s an ordinary school day. Kids and teachers go in and out of the office, phones ring. A young man with an assault weapon walks in.

That’s how DeKalb Elementary, an Oscar-nominated short film based on a 2013 Georgia incident, begins. As I watched, I thought what a wonderful counselor the office worker would make at the crisis hotline where I consult. Remaining calm and empathic to the gunman throughout, she defuses a dangerous situation without anyone being harmed.

The day after I saw the film, a young man with an AR-15 walked into a Florida high school and killed 17 people.

by Molly Merson, MFT

Trump’s Pathology Is Also His Brand. The author argues that knowing and assessing the president based on his public persona is crucial to understanding his approach to politics. The article explores various reasons some psychoanalysts and psychotherapists are speaking up about what they witness of the president’s rhetoric and behavior.

10 Women Who Changed Psychology. Here’s a list which may remind you of, or introduce you to, changemaking women in psychology and psychoanalysis.

Too Much of Not Enough: An Interview With Alenka Zupancic. A richly psychoanalytic exploration of sex and sexuality, this article dives into the topic of Professor Zupančič's new book What IS Sex?

by Jeremy Mintz, PsyD


If not yet commonplace, it is at least no longer unheard of within psychoanalytic theory to address the inextricable links between intrapsychic life and the sociopolitical structures into which we are each thrown. One theorist who is dedicated to revealing the continuity of these two domains is Dr. Orna Guralnik, who NCSPP is honored to host on May 5, 2018, for our Annual Event and Lecture. Drawing from her own empirical, theoretical, and clinical work, Dr. Guralnik will discuss the relevance of political ideology to all human experience, and in particular to dissociation and depersonalization. She will discuss how ideological forces constitute and marginalize identities and can strip people of the symbols necessary to represent experience, leaving some in states of depersonalization. She will go on to illuminate how these forces operate in therapeutic dyads, creating both pitfalls and opportunities.

In addition to Dr. Guralnik’s talk, the event will also include a response delivered by a cultural studies scholar, a case presentation, and Q&A opportunities throughout the day.

Saturday, May 5, 2018
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
The David Brower Center
2150 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
Cost: $40 - $210 (in person attendance); $50 - $260 (live stream)

Appointment Book: 

East Bay Psychotherapy Forum
Wed, Apr 4 / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm / 2001 Dwight Way / Berkeley
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / J. Chess, PhD; M. Wagner, PhD, LMFT / free

San Francisco Psychotherapy Forum
Thu, Apr 5 / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / J. Rousell, PsyD; M. Wagner, PhD, LMFT / free

PINC Open House
Thu, Apr 5 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / J. Meyers, MFT / free

Finding Freedom: Exploring the Relationship Between Agency, Motility, and Aggression
Sat, Apr 7 / 9:00 am - 10:30 am / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / T. Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP; Z. Grusky, PhD / free - $15

Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind
Mon, Apr 9 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / G. Makari, MD / free

Where Is the 'Evidence' in Evidence-Based Therapy?
Tue, Apr 10 / 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm / 1453 Mission St / San Francisco
CIIS / (510) 435-5273 / J. Shedler, PhD / free

Symposium with Michael Parsons
Wed, Apr 11 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / M. Parsons, MD; S. Walrod, PhD / free - $40

The Impact of Technology on the Frame
Fri, Apr 20 / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
NCSPP / (415) 857-4885 / D. Tillotson, PsyD / $120 - $280

Beyond the Consulting Room: A Conversation with Mahima Muralidharan
Fri, Apr 27 / 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm / Private Home / San Francisco
NCSPP / (510) 548-9716 / M. Muralidharan, PsyD / $10 - $13

Where’s Art: A Conversation about Photography Poetry and Psychoanalysis
Sun, Apr 29 / 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm / 1313 Newell Rd / Palo Alto
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / T. McLarnan, MFT / $60

Annual Event and Lecture: A State of Mind
Sat, May 5 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / 2150 Alston Way / Berkeley
NCSPP / (415) 763-8532 / O. Guralnik, PsyD / $40 - $260