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


Turnus lowers his eyes, reaches out with his right hand,
begging, a supplicant, “I deserve no mercy,” he said:
“seize your chance. But if any concern for a parent’s grief still
has the power to touch you, I pray—for you too had such a father—
pity my father in his old age and return me,
or if you prefer, my body stripped of life, to my people.
You are the victor, and I, the conquered, stretch out my hands
to you for all to see. Lavinia is your bride,
extend your hatred no further.” Aeneas stood,
shifting his gaze, holding back his sword,
delaying as Turnus’ words began to sway him more and more.
When young Pallas’ girdle, high on Turnus’ shoulder, caught his eye.
Turnus, bearing his enemy’s trophy, had
defeated Pallas, cutting him down with a wound.
As soon as his eyes took in that trophy, a reminder of his savage grief,
Aeneas, summoning forth much fury, terrible in his rage, cries,
“Escape from my grasp, dressed in the spoils of one of my own?
It is Pallas who sacrifices you, who takes retribution from your defiled blood.”
Saying this, glowing with rage, he thrusts his sword deep in
Turnus’ heart. Turnus’ limbs went limp with the coldness of death
and with a groan his life breath fled down to the shades below.

—Virgil, The Aeneid, translated from the Latin by Sydney Tan

by Stephanie King, PsyD


Each new year NCSPP brings on new Board members, offers new lectures, new scientific meetings, new classes, new issues of fort da, and much more. At each new event there are also new opportunities to connect with community members. As your incoming president, I would like to personally encourage you to make time for your professional community. I feel strongly that in our current political atmosphere, now more than ever, our work needs a special kind of attention. One way to pay special attention to our clinical work is to stay in close connection with our community and colleagues. In staying connected to each other, we can stay connected to the ways that our work is responding to the changing world we are living in. As our world shifts, staying relevant means adapting, and we need each other and this community to do that. In these moments we need to be sure we have trusted colleagues we consult with regularly both personally and professionally. NCSPP as an organization and a community provides multiple occasions for connection and growth. I hope you will continue to take advantage of these opportunities in 2019.

by Lorrie Goldin, MFT

Eight years ago, I made my debut as a staff writer on Impulse with a piece titled “Psychological Post-Mortem of the Midterm Elections.” It viewed the topsy-turvy political environment from Obama’s election to his midterm “shellacking” just two years later through a psychological prism. Interweaving attachment theory, neuroscience, and Melanie Klein’s notion of development, I noted that it was as if President Obama were trying to govern a paranoid-schizoid nation from a depressive position.

Based on Nancy McWilliam’s commentary on the pitfalls befalling therapists who operate from their own depressive personality styles, I also drew parallels between how President Obama related to congressional Republicans and well-meaning therapists who attempt to work too flexibly with hostile clients.

My debut caused a minor furor within NCSPP, some of whose members wanted me and the editor to resign. Instead, the powers that be quickly removed my 400+ words from the site and issued an apology. Back then, electoral politics was largely viewed as having no place in psychotherapy.

by Molly Merson, MFT

The Mass Psychology of Trumpism. Eli Zaretsky on the importance of analyzing not only Trump as an individual, but his supporters, who aim to secure the president’s status and power – even when his power goes against their best interests.

Do Babies Experience Schadenfreude? Why do babies laugh? Are they simply tiny tyrants, wishing to have power over others, who laugh only because their desire for power has been satisfied? Or is it possible that babies actually learn via the unexpected, and laughter is an expression of delight at being surprised?

John Houck’s Iterative Still-Life Photography. The artist describes the connection between his photography and his experiences in psychoanalysis. Called Holding Environment, Houck’s current exhibit plays with shadows and color, allowing the viewer to grapple with what’s real and what’s imaginary – much like an experience of psychoanalysis.


GROUP THERAPY IN SF. Weekly psychodynamic process groups for therapists and non-therapists T/W/Th. Relational-interpersonal orientation. Art Raisman, PhD, PSY7795. Over 40 years experience, 415-453-4271 or

BEAUTIFUL SPACIOUS OFFICE at great location on Union Street. Available Wednesdays & Fridays. $600/mo for both days, or add Tuesday mornings for $750/mo. See pics here: Joshua Wylie, MFT,

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: 

Second Fridays: Sound Image
Fri, Jan 11 / 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / T. Boekelheide / free - $40

Therapeutic Beat-Making With Today’s Future Sound
Sat, Jan 12 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / E. Gann, PsyD; A. Blum, PsyD / free

On Background Assumptions in Psychoanalysis
Mon, Jan 14 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / J. Caston, MD; M. Levin, PsyD / free

Whiteness: How We Can Render the Invisible Visible
Fri, Jan 18 / 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm / 2040 Gough St / San Francisco
Jung Institute / (415) 771-8055 / S. Fitzpatrick, PhD / $75

Do We Have Fantasies, or Do They Have Us?
Sat, Jan 19 / 9:00 am - 12:30 pm / 2040 Gough St / San Francisco
Jung Institute / (415) 771-8055 / S. Fitzpatrick, PhD / $75 - $100

Psychoanalysts Listening to Parents’ and Children’s Voices
Sun, Jan 20 / 3:00 pm - 5:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 536-5815 / G. Kliman, MD / free

Focus On: The Californication of Psychoanalysis
Tue, Jan 22 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / F. Castrillón, PsyD / $75 - $170

Neuropsychoanalysis: The Craving Brain
Sat, Jan 26 / 9:00 am - 12:30 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / P. Ralston, MD / $35 - $90

The Metaphor of the Field in Analysis and Science
Sat, Jan 26 / 10:00 am - 1:00 pm / 2040 Gough St / San Francisco\
Jung Institute / (415) 771-8055 / P. Holland, MD / $75 - $100

It Takes Two: Psychotherapy With the Older Adult
Sat, Jan 26 / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm / 3921 Fabian Way / Palo Alto
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / A. Kavka, MD / $35 - $50

An Intro to Death Objects in the Writings of Joshua Durban
Thu, Jan 31 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 530 Bush St / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / R. Peltz, PhD / free - $15

A Discussion of Clinical Approaches in Couple Therapy
Sat, Feb 2 / 9:30 am - 12:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-5815 / D. de Marneffe, PhD, et al. / $25 - $65

Speaking the Unspoken: Creating a Supervisory Field
Sat, Feb 2 / 9:00 am - 4:00 pm / 668 13th St / Oakland
TPI / (510) 548-4407 / S. Chin, PhD, et al. / $115 - $165

Focus On: Sexuality Now
Tue, Feb 5 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / 3824 Grand Ave / Oakland
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / M. Rundel, PhD / $100 - $220