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 Kellen Grayson, PsyD

Many thanks to NCSPP for a wonderful year of psychoanalytic programming! Thank you, Board and committee members for your dedication to our goals. It is because of your hard work this year that we continue to deliver our mission to NCSPP membership and to the wider community. As I say goodbye here at the end of my tenure as president, I want to thank all of you for allowing me to lead such an amazing organization. It has been a joy to be part of a group of innovative committee members and Board chairs who are continually seeking ways to serve our communities.

by Alexandra Guhde, PsyD


“My sensitivity is my strength…when somebody tells me to ‘stop being so sensitive!’ I feel a bit like a nose being lectured by a fart.”                                           

— Hannah Gadsby

Recently, I took a short course on humor writing. In addition to an awkward afternoon spent sharing original works of comedy,* the course reviewed the fundamentals of being funny. We learned about misdirection, the pull-back and reveal, the rule of threes, the art of the unsaturated sentence, and something called the benign violation theory of humor.

Though its title sounds darkly Freudian, the theory of benign violation is thoroughly modern. It was developed at the Humor Research Lab (aka HuRL), which is staffed by the Humor Research Team (aka HuRT), and is a real place at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

by Molly Merson, MFT

The Psychopharmacology of Everyday Life. Jamieson Webster explores the history of psychopharmacology and offers a psychoanalytic take on the contemporary practice of medicating human experience.

On ‘Honey’, Robyn Dances Toward Stillness. Musicians do it too! Artist and performer Robyn spent years in psychoanalysis and credits her experience in treatment for the production of her most recent album.

Appointment Book: 

Child Colloquium: Consulting to Mentors of At-Risk Children
Sat, Dec 1 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / H. Gordon, DMH; L. Keller, PhD / free

East Bay Psychotherapy Forum
Wed, Dec 5 / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm / 1672 University Ave / Berkeley
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / M. Pierce, MD, et al. / free

9th Annual CCSW Clinical Evening Series
Wed, Dec 5 / 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / TBA / $15 - $20

South Bay Reading Group
Fri, Dec 7 / 6:45 pm - 9:00 pm / Private Residence / Palo Alto
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / J. Gerhardt, PhD / $15 - $35

PINC Graduation
Sat, Dec 8 / 9:00 am - 10:30 am / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / S. Haas-Lyon, PhD; R. Kaywin, DMH / free - $15

Home: Unpacking Its Psychoanalytic Furniture
Mon, Dec 10 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / S. Akhtar, MD; M. Levin, PsyD / free