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 Willow Banks, Psy.D.

When I stepped into the presidency in January, I was warned by past presidents that the year would fly by, and very quickly I saw the truth of it. Our last board meeting of the year has passed, and we are moving toward a period of rest and preparation for the year ahead. I feel appreciation for the efforts of the board this year, and for the atmosphere of care and collaboration we have fostered in our meetings. In years past, the NCSPP holiday party was a reliable way for us to end the year by joining with our membership in celebration. This holiday season, we are planning to hold a winter gathering in appreciation of our membership in early 2024, which will hopefully be a bright spot in the coming months.

by Luba Palter, MFT

What I wanted to write about in December was my love of the New Year’s Eve celebration as an ex-Soviet, as well as my complicated individuation journey with this holiday. This seems impossible now with the war in the Middle East. Nothing seems relevant, important, or as salient in my mind as the current iteration of this tragedy.

I’ve written and rewritten this post in my head and on paper several times. At other times, I almost gave up writing altogether. As an ex-Soviet Jew, a therapist who is committed to social justice for all, and an Editor-in-Chief of Impulse, I don’t know how to have this conversation honestly and openly in public while I’m still processing, grieving, and paying attention as the events unfold.

by Amber Trotter, Psy.D.


There may be some bedrock properly described as “human nature,” but it seems the field of psychology perpetually discovers a greater role for socialization.

Part of Freud’s genius lay in capturing the impact of the society in which he lived on his patients’ suffering. As society changes, the trick, for analytic thinkers, is to persist in Freud’s technique, rather than in dogmatic adherence to his particular discoveries. In their recent book, Here I’m Alive: The Spirit of Music in Psychoanalysis (Blum et al., 2023) elucidate our psychosocial age of dissociation in a way I found helpful. They note, “There exists such widespread and pervasive alienation from the libidinal body and such hegemony over the life of the unconscious that the center of gravity of what ails us has moved, to some degree, from neurosis to dissociation,” with patients more in need of an experience of bodily and psychic aliveness than help to manage internal conflicts or other ways of defending against desire. They squarely implicate our present manic, hyper-stimulated, at once excessively regimented, and distracted society in contemporary psychopathology, managing sociological and clinical astuteness simultaneously. 

My name is Daniel S. Benveniste. I lived in San Francisco from 1972 to 1999. During that time, I studied psychology, became a charter member of NCSPP, started a private practice, was in supervision with Nathan Adler for five years, did research on the early history of psychoanalysis in San Francisco, worked in clinics, and met many wonderful students while teaching in several of the free-standing schools of professional psychology and in the social work department at UC Berkeley. In 1999, I moved to Caracas, Venezuela where I studied Spanish, maintained a private practice, taught at Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Católica Ándrés Bello, visited indigenous communities in the Upper Orinoco, and witnessed the so-called ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ up close and personal. In 2010 my wife, Adriana Prengler, and I moved to the Pacific Northwest where we live today in the town of Sammamish, Washington, not far from Seattle.


FULL-TIME PSYCHOTHERAPY OFFICE FOR RENT (SF). Beginning February 1, 2024. Desirable location on Sacramento St. $1350/month, utilities and cleaning additional cost, already established. Light-filled office in Edwardian building with decorative fireplace, leaded glass cabinets, built-in bookcases and locking file cabinets, hardwood floor with rug included. Dimensions: 11’ x 14’. In quiet, elegant three person suite, shared with two long-term tenants, both psychoanalysts. Shared kitchen, waiting room with signal lights to offices. Up one flight of stairs from street. Located on Sacramento St. in Pacific Heights, near JCCSF and Laurel Village. Please contact Beth Steinberg at


EMOTIONALLY ENGAGED THERAPY - STUDY GROUP. A weekly study group designed to expand our understanding of how complex reactions to trauma and neglect are encoded in subtle emotional experiences in psychotherapy. Using a case conference model the group explores the traces of these reactions in how the case resonates in the imaginations and reactions of the members. Tuesdays from 10:30 am - 11:50 am in Los Gatos. Hugh Grubb Psy.D.,

OFFICE SPACE (SF). Quiet, immaculate, sound-proofed office in San Francisco's Lower Pacific Heights. Lovely single room offices for psychotherapy professionals. Kitchenette. Sunny roof deck. Shared visitor reception areas. Monthly rents from $675 for small office to $1575 for large office with private deck. 1-3 Year leases. Contact owner's associate:


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: 

Community in Support of Foster Youth — What is a CASA?
Sat, Dec 2 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / K. Steifman, Psy.D., et al. / free

Property, Materiality, Proximity: Analytic Frame and In-Person Work
Mon, Dec 4 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / M. Wilson, M.D. / free

Negotiating agency in the formation of subjectivity
Sat, Dec 9 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / 530 Bush St (Zoom option) / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / M. O'Loughlin, Ph.D. / free - $40

Coalition for Clinical Social Work Extension Program Year 1
Thu, Jan 4 / 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / L. Farha, LCSW, Mdiv, et al. / $335 - $360

The Allure of Fascism: A Psychoanalytic Conversation
Sat, Jan 6 / 9:30 am - 12:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / E. Loewenstein, Ph.D., et al. / $30 - $55