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 Sydney Tan, PsyD


On the 13th of May, in a small theater in Marin, I settled into my seat for four hours of operatic wonder. Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier -- originally set in 18th-century Vienna -- is, in the Metropolitan Opera's new production directed by Robert Carsen, moved forward 200 years and set in 1911, the year of its premier. The opera is focused on four main characters as an elaborate love quadrangle unfolds. As the opera begins, we find the Princess Marschallin (superbly played by Renée Fleming in her final performance of this role) and her much younger lover and cousin, Count Octavian Rofrano (brilliantly portrayed by Elīna Garanča), in post-coital bliss. Their singing and acting are remarkable, and their chemistry unmistakable.

The Marschallin, hearing loud noises from the antechamber, suspects her husband has returned and convinces Octavian to disguise himself as a chambermaid. In a lovely gender triple play, Garanča as Octavian as Mariandel attempts to sneak away, as the Marschallin's oafish cousin, Baron Ochs (Günther Groissböck) storms into the bedroom. He announces his engagement to a young heiress, Sophie (Erin Morley), but while doing so, lays eyes on Mariandel and immediately lusts after her. His subsequent seductive gestures toward Mariandel are met with disgust from the Marschallin, and childlike playfulness from Mariandel. The Baron and the Marschallin then agree that Octavian will serve as the Baron's rosenkavalier, presenting a silver rose to the Baron's betrothed in a traditional ceremony symbolizing and honoring the pending nuptials.

by Jane Reingold, MFT


Sitting in front of a blank page this past weekend, I struggled to summon words to speak to an experience profoundly lacking words; to attempt to symbolize the experience of trauma, to speak to the presence of absence. The image of a blank page slowly morphed into a page filled with repetitive fragments, moments written and rewritten with no seeming through line, disjointed and frenetic. The experience of watching Martha in Sean Durkin's 2011 film, Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene is akin to this fragmented experience. Flooded by her unmetabolized "gestures, acts, and affect" the audience is enlisted to make sense of her unfolding disjointed psychic states. Not merely evacuative, Martha's behavior is an attempt "in some obscure way to search for some means of expressing and narrating an as yet non-integrated mental experience" (Roussillon, 2011).

In the film, a young woman flees a cult. After a two-year disappearance, wounded and without words, she returns to her sister and her husband, taking refuge in their rented lake house. An early scene depicts Martha's escape from the cult. She gingerly steps over sleeping bodies and is chased into the dense blur of the forest, toward an obscured future. In a dissociative state she calls her sister for help but confusedly mutters, "I can't stay gone long."

Of Politics, Science, and Gender Identity. Doctors and psychologists respond to a New Atlantis report published by leaders in the medical field that appears to address the nuances and limitations of what science currently understands about gender, but instead proliferates biased subjectivities, "alternative facts," and potentially harmful misinformation.

Why Is Africa So Poor? You Asked Google, Here's the Answer. This article explores the historical plundering of Africa and its people to explain the cycle of African countries' current poverty, and exposes a question behind the question -- what is the West afraid to lose?

From Gypsy to the Sopranos, What Do Real Psychotherapists Think of TV Shrinks? A behind the scenes look at what practicing therapists think of television depictions of therapists and the psychotherapy process.

by Shannon Rogers, MFT


Foundations: Bion I
Charles Dithrich, PhD
Tuesdays, September 12, 19, 26, and October 3, 10, and 17
6:45 pm - 8:15 pm
East Bay

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Gay and Queer Identified Men: Developmental and Cultural Considerations
Gary Grossman, PhD
Saturday, September 23
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
San Francisco

Encountering Race and Culture in Psychoanalytic Treatment
Regina Shields, PhD, & Diane Swirsky, PhD
Fridays, October 6, 13, 20, and 27
9:00 am - 11:30 am
East Bay

Law and Ethics: A Psychoanalyst's Perspective
Michael Donner, PhD
Saturday, October 21
9:00 am - 4:00 pm (with an hour for lunch)
San Francisco
For those who can't make it in person or for people who live outside of the area, this event will be livestreamed.

The education committee is still accepting proposals for 2018-2019. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please visit for guidelines and information.

EARLY CAREER CONSULTATION GROUP. Therapists within first three years of licensure seeking support with developing and growing a private practice and deepening their skills in working psychodynamically encouraged to join. The consultation group provides an opportunity to discuss cases, obtain helpful feedback, see things from a different perspective, and connect and apply theory to practice. In addition to sharing cases, I facilitate opportunities to discuss countertransference issues. I will also offer guidance on developing, marketing, and growing a successful psychotherapy practice. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more, at
GROUP MEETING SPACE FOR RENT IN CHARMING HISTORIC LANDMARK BLDG. In central Berkeley/weekday afternoons/evenings. Wheelchair accessible, seats 6-25. Rate depends on usage. Call 510-849-8511 or visit our website for address and photos.
OPENINGS IN TWO SAN FRANCISCO CONSULTATION GROUPS: One on Mondays 12:00 - 1:15, one on Fridays 12:00 - 1:15. Focus on adolescence and early adulthood, with readings and case presentations, offering an analytic approach. Sept - June. Call R. Tyminski (415) 552-1747, or M. Brady (415) 776-3174; or email

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: 
Sun, Aug 13 / 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm / 3350 Grand Ave / Oakland
NCSPP / (510) 594-4035 / E. Loewenstein, PhD / free