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 Stephanie King, Psy.D.

December already! This year has been a year of action and of stalling out. A year of starts and stops, and starts again. In January, the board began working on what is now called The Equity Clause. The Equity Clause is a statement that asks for a response from all potential NCSPP instructors. The statement reads:

NCSPP is aware that historically psychoanalysis has either excluded or pathologized groups outside of the dominant population in terms of age, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, and size. As an organization, we are committed to bringing awareness to matters of anti-oppression, inequity, inequality, diversity, and inclusion as they pertain to our educational offerings, our theoretical orientation, our community, and the broader world we all inhabit.

Please state how you will integrate the above matters into your course and also please provide references that will reflect your thinking.

Trying to tackle something as far reaching and prevalent as anti-racism and anti-oppression is no small feat, and this isn’t the first board that has made this a priority. Throughout the year I’ve had many conversations with past board members as well as leaders in our neighboring psychoanalytic institutes and hear how this is something we are all trying to confront head on. Both PINC and SFCP are working on a variety of ways to create intentional inclusion in their institutes and training.

by Patricia Marra, LMFT


Dialogues fosters discussion on current trends in psychoanalysis involving clinical practice — including socio-politics, history, aesthetics, literature, film, race, and gender. 

Saturday, December 7, 2019, 9:30 am—12:30 pm
Psychoanalysis in Transition: Lessons from the Trans Experience
Presenter: Patricia Gherovici, Ph.D.
Discussant: Israel Katz, M.D.

Saturday, January 25, 2020, 9:30 am—12:30 pm
Does the Body Have a Mind? From Freud to Bion
Presenter: Robert Oelsner, M.D.
Discussant: Holly Gordon, DMH

Saturday, April 18, 2020, 9:30 am—12:30 pm
Ferenczi’s “Mutual Analysis” and Its Relevance to Current Practice
Presenter: Henry Markman, M.D.
Discussant: Maria Longuemare, M.D.

Saturday, June 6, 2020, 9:30 am—12:30 pm
Enacting, Disrupting, and Emerging: The Unobtrusive Analyst
Presenter: Robert Grossmark, Ph.D.
Discussant: Laurie Goldsmith, Ph.D.

by Lorrie Golden, LCSW


As the long-time clinical consultant for a crisis hotline, I grapple with an old question that’s arisen with a new and urgent focus: How should we respond to callers who use racist, sexist, homophobic, and other offensive language?

Therapists absorb and metabolize strong affect and hurtful words all the time. Our role is to listen and understand, to find the person behind barriers of hate, fear, and ignorance. We are also taught to meet people where they are.

But what if where they are crosses a line? Ventilation can offer relief, but it can also cause harm to the listener and the speaker. Setting limits is part of good clinical care.

Listening to intensely prejudicial language not only taxes the tolerance of the counselors, but makes them feel complicit in perpetrating trauma and injustice. The staff is skeptical about my talk of ‘metabolizing agents,” sometimes simplistically so, but often with good reason.

Hateful speech increases prejudice and dehumanization. Exposure to it has severe and long-lasting effects on both physical and mental health. Not only is it important to protect counselors from burnout and trauma, but also to safeguard those who spew offensive language. “We are not doing our callers any favors by tolerating behaviors that would get them in trouble everywhere else,” a wise African-American long-time staff member always reminds us. 

by Molly Merson, MFT

An Interview with Adam Philips. A beautiful interview which leaves us with a taste of Adam Philips’ generous and generative view of what psychoanalysis is for, and what it means to develop a self through the experience of an analysis.

Rendering Unconscious- A Podcast. This podcast is full of interviews of psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically oriented folks, including clinicians, instructors, scholars, and poets.

The Stories We Tell, and Don’t Tell, about Asian-American Lives. David Eng and Shinhee Han have a new book out, called Racial Melancholia, Racial Dissociation: On the Social and Psychic Lives of Asian Americans. This article digs into their work and why it’s important to the field.

by Jonalyn Blaha, Psy.D.


NCSPP is looking for a new Chair for the Membership and Community Events Committee starting this January 2020. This is a 2-year volunteer board position that requires a commitment of around 5-10 hours per month. This includes monthly board and committee meetings. Committee members enjoy free admission to events they host and volunteer for. Additionally, all board members receive discounted admission to all other regular events. This position requires an organized, self-motivated, and community-oriented person.

The Membership and Community Events Committee is responsible for encouraging renewal in expiring members and developing projects that will strengthen and broaden our membership base. In addition, this committee creates gatherings throughout the year where NCSPP members can meet and get to know one another. From social and networking events to the Annual Holiday Party, the focus is on engendering relationships and helping our membership to stay connected.

If interested contact Jonalyn Blaha at


PSYCHOTHERAPY OFFICE SUBLET. Lovely upper Fillmore Street location at 2491 Washington Street in a suite with three other analysts. Office is available Tuesdays Thursdays, and Fridays along with Mondays starting in January. The office has a contemporary ambience with high ceilings, bay window, analytic couch, and closet with built in desk. Rent/day is $374. If interested please call Barbara A. Baer, Ph.D. at (415) 346-8868.

SPECIAL PSYCHOTHERAPY OFFICE AVAILABLE. Mondays 8 - 1pm; Fridays and Saturdays all day. Office is in Pacific Heights in a well-kept building within a suite of psychotherapists. Office has three large windows looking onto garden. Friendly, collegial atmosphere. Please contact Clark Conant (650) 704-7604. Rent: $300/day.

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: 

Dialogues: Psychoanalysis in Transition
Sat, Dec 7 / 9:30 am - 12:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / P. Gherovici, Ph.D.; I. Katz, M.D., et al / $60 - $65

SBCPS Reading Group — Steven Stern 2019
Fri, Dec 20 / 6:45 pm - 9:00 pm / private residence / Palo Alto
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / J. Gerhardt, Ph.D.; A. Cabell, Ph.D. / $15