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 June Lin-Arlow, AMFT 

When I started to get text messages from well-meaning White friends checking in on me, I knew something was up. I opened the news on my phone, and my heart sank. Six Asian women were murdered by one man’s desire rooted in patriarchy and White supremacy. I felt nothing. It was so normal and so horrifying at the same time that my body could not process the dissonance. These texts felt intrusive, like finding out about something that happened in your family from someone who was not in your family. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know before they did. 

I thought about responding that I was “still processing but thank you for checking in,” but I’ve been letting the part of me that takes care of White people rest these days, so I didn’t respond. Until that point, my heart was already breaking from witnessing attacks on elders and hearing from friends being targeted by anti-Asian assaults over the last year. I was thinking through the conversations I could have with my elders about how we could protect ourselves while being in solidarity with our BIPOC community. This news pulled me back into a paralyzing numbness and later rage, where I could not do anything useful. 

by PINC 


Saturday, April 17, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm, via Zoom 
Register at 

International Visiting Scholar Hayuta Gurevich reconsiders Winnicott's regression to dependence in light of the groundbreaking work of Sandor Ferenczi. Early developmental trauma is imprinted in the psyche as fragmentation and pathological dissociation, which inevitably arouse survival modes of self-holding. Winnicott's ideas about 'regression to dependence' suggest that in analysis such regression enables the patient to relinquish self-holding, yet this process revives the early malignant relations with the analyst. Re-reading Winnicott through Ferenczi's conceptualizations, and understanding Ferenczi in hindsight through contemporary theories about the intra-psychic impact of early trauma - may help us deal in analysis with the compulsive repetitions of early malignant relations. The focus will be on enactments in which the analyst is being the 'bad object' in the concrete analytic relationship, and on the need of the patient to work through this repetition in order to enable a development of an ambivalent relation to a 'good object'.  

by Lorrie Goldin, LCSW

“The purest form of listening is to listen without memory or desire.” - Wilfred Bion

I don’t really understand Bion, but his words suffused me as I watched Nomadland, the widely acclaimed film based on Jessica Bruder’s 2017 book and starring the brilliant Frances McDormand.

An article about Nomadland’s director Chloe Zhao describes the essence of her film-making: “Zhao tried to make herself porous, immersing herself in life there and attempting to get past the familiar narratives offered up to expectant visitors.” This porosity feels akin to Bion’s philosophy. It is hard to achieve. 

Just how hard struck me while watching Nomadland. The film is about a widow, Fern, who loses not only her husband but her job, house, and town in the Great Recession. She takes to the road along with a proliferation of older itinerant Americans who live in their vehicles as they travel from one short-term, low-wage job to another. I expected it to be a searing indictment of America’s winner-take-all system that creates down-and-out losers I could pity from a distance of privileged political righteousness.

by Molly Merson, MFT

What’s Repaired in Reparations: A Conversation among Psychoanalytic and Social Activists. At the spring conference for the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology (formerly called APA Division 39), this podcast taking up the topic of reparations was recorded live in front of an online audience. You may find the description at this link, and the recording will be made available at a future date.

The Warrior’s Path Report. APA Division 45, The American Indian and Alaskan Native Society of Indian Psychologists, has released a “paper of color” stating the need for a decolonized and anti-racist psychoanalysis. This report is an in-depth challenge and call to all psychologists and psychotherapists to “dismantle the Eurocentric structure and practice of APA.” You can find the report at this link.

Psychoanalytic Dialogues 31:1. This journal edition of Psychoanalytic Dialogues, published March 2021, contains rich and powerful articles that challenge Whiteness and racism in institutional settings and in individual dyads, and invite the reader into clinical, personal, and political spaces. Articles also weave the social into psychoanalytic thinking, highlighting how the social informs our work even though it is often displaced from psychoanalytic narratives.


PARTNERSHIPS FOR TRAUMA RECOVERY in Berkeley is a community mental health organization serving refugees and asylum seekers. We are seeking a Director of Client Care and several other clinicians to join our team. Positions can be viewed here:

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Appointment Book: 

Reading Group for Community Mental Health Clinicians
Sun, Apr 11 / 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm / Zoom
NCSPP / (415) 496-9949 / Discussant TBA / free

Student Seminars: Becoming a Couple
Wed, Apr 7 (begins) / 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-2438 / D. Iscoff, MFT / free

The Body Remembers/The Body Wants to Forget
Fri, Apr 9 / 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / Z. Grusky, Ph.D. / free - $40

International Visiting Scholar Hayuta Gurevich
Sat, Apr 17 / 9:00 am - 12:00 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / H. Gurevich, et al. / $50 - $190

Holding it Together
Sat, May 1 / 10:00 am - 2:00 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / L. Briggs, Ph.D., et al. / free - $40

Symposium – Addressing Basic Faults
Tue, May 4 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / T. Cornelius, M.D. / free - $35