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

Ever since I started as Editor of Impulse, I have been thinking with people on the Impulse committee and NCSPP board about the question, “what is psychoanalytic?” It might be psychoanalytic to build upon foundational analytic theories by Freud, Klein, Lacan, and Winnicott. Or use these theories to examine a situation or dynamic. As we have published and shared articles this year, we have gotten questions about whether some of the articles we choose to publish are psychoanalytic or not.  

The working definition that we started with was that anything that looks beneath the surface of commonly held assumptions about reality can be psychoanalytic. It also feels important to go beyond historical gatekeeping to highlight voices that are not commonly heard in the dominant discourse from subjective lived experience or theoretical perspectives. I like to think of what we share here as incomplete - contributing factors that inform our thinking, but not necessarily coming to any sort of conclusion that might close down the need for further thought. 

For example, a commonly held belief common in the United States is that “if you work hard and do the right things, you can rise above poverty.” In Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley explores how Black people use their “White voice” to conform to standards of White professionalism in order to rise in social class. The tradeoff is between an authentic self and success. He goes further to make a social critique that capitalism needs poverty to exist because without a permanent class of underemployed people, workers would have too much power to make a capitalist system work. Taking in these perspectives, which I believe are psychoanalytic, helps us in our work with patients and our efforts to look beneath the surface. 

by Molly Merson, MFT

Analysis Interminable: On Janet Malcolm. This piece explores Malcolm’s life and writings as an homage to her contributions to literature, journalism, psychoanalysis, and the author’s personal growth.

Processing trauma in psychoanalysis in ‘real time’ and in dreams: the convergence of past, present, and future during COVID-19. Through exploring patients’ dreams, this analyst shares some peoples’ experience of the timelessness/time-ful-ness of COVID-19 and the milieu of racism, economic disparity, climate catastrophe, and political turmoil.

On Wanting to Change review— an inspiring vision of psychoanalysis. This review of Adam Phillips’s book ‘On Wanting to Change” explores Phillips’s work as a writer and a psychoanalyst.


by Michele McGuinness

The Digital Media and Technology Committee is happy to announce our updated OnDemand Video Library. We have put the library together for you so that you can continue to enjoy our events long after they happen. Have an article to write and need access to a recent lecture? Want to learn about a particular subject? Visit the library!

We’re proud to offer this OnDemand Video Library, which includes archives of our Annual Lectures and Couples Events, Scientific Meetings, and various Workshops. Many of these events are now approved for CE credit. This is a great way to access recorded events you could not attend in person or via livestream. To access the library click the link found under the Courses/Events tab on our website

Current members receive a discounted rate on all pay-per-view offerings in the library and can also access the library listed in the “Members Only” menu bar above the yellow line (sign into your account to view).

We will continue adding more events to our library so keep checking back!

Happy Streaming!


TRAINING DIRECTOR. The Counseling & Psychological Services Center at Holy Names University is seeking a Training Director for a psychoanalytically-informed practicum training program. 12 hours/week. Duties include weekly didactic, case conference, 3 hours of individual supervision, program/curriculum development, etc. The ideal candidate will have a background in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and interest in training young clinicians. Hours flexible, but Wednesday mornings required. Please contact Dr. Judy Curtis at or 510-436-1530.

TWO OFFICES AVAILABLE FOR RENT. Located on the 12th floor of Flood building in downtown SF. One full-time furnished (or unfurnished if desired) and one part-time available Mondays and Fridays. For more info contact

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: