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 Danni Biondini, LMFT

I ended the decade reading what was introduced to me as the great social novel of 2019, a work of auto-fiction which explores the crisis of language and masculinity at the root of today’s political landscape. The book: The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. 

It’s a novel that suggests we stop reading theory as evidence of white men’s universal subject position and instead read it as evidence of white men’s pathology. It proffers that psychoanalysis is a language game which ‒ like politics ‒ is played by men who control reality with the words they use to shape it. 

At the center of the novel is Adam, a high school senior and debate star. Although a budding poet and son of psychoanalysts, when angry he’s reduced to what his mom describes as, “ventriloquizing some kind of mash-up of masculine gibberish.” 

by Stephanie King, Psy.D.

Happy New Year!

I want to begin 2020 with a few important announcements. Last month at our annual holiday party we recognized two of our wonderful colleagues. First, Audrey Dunn was the winner of our Community Service Award. She has worked in community mental health for over 35 years and was described by her previous intern Alexis Briano (who nominated her) as, “unfailingly dedicated to long-term, depth-oriented psychoanalytic psychotherapy.” At Francisco Middle School, Audrey Dunn individually supervises all of her interns, as well as providing group supervision to discuss larger analytic concepts. Briano described the program as being so meaningful and special that interns often come back year after year, even after their hours are complete. Thank you again, Audrey, for your dedication to community mental health!

Second, we awarded Tara Bredesen our Annual Student and Early Career Clinician Writing Award.

by Jim Meyers, LMFT


The Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California invites you to attend an informal OPEN HOUSE.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

530 Bush Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, 94108.

by Kara Swedlow, Ph.D., LMFT


Monday, January 20, 7:00 - 9:00 pm at PINC, 530 Bush Street, Suite 700, San Francisco, 94108

Are you curious about Community Psychoanalysis? Have you heard of the Community Psychoanalysis Track at PINC? Come learn more about this innovative educational training opportunity for candidates, and see what Community Psychoanalysis at PINC is like. The CPT Steering Committee warmly invites you to a reception and Town Hall meeting, Monday January 20th, from 7:30 - 9:00 pm. Meet and socialize with the committee, candidates, graduates, and staff at the reception until 7:30, then stay for a presentation on the history and current structure of the track. Bring your curiosity and questions.

Contact Kara Swedlow with questions:

by Nicholas Hack, Psy.D.

“At the mention of Trump, I am immediately all ears and immediately defensive. I think to myself, ‘He’s saying I’m like Trump.’ The shutters come down in my mind. I can hardly allow myself to think of that possibility.” - Annie Sweetnam

In a time when society feels increasingly polarized, the lines between us and them seem clearer, more rigid, and more intense. Whatever labels we use to identify ourselves and our Others – liberal, conservative, POC, white, not that kind of white, old guard, radical, etc. – in this heightened, often chaotic moment we know at least one thing definitively: that we’re the good ones, that we’re on the right path. It’s those people over there that are the problem.

I understand the split, and I feel it. In politics, the news, and on social media, almost cartoon-like caricatures of Bad Guys (pronoun intended) are plain for all to see. The consequences to individuals and communities are real and too often violent. It can dominate the attention.

by Molly Merson, MFT

Should therapy be political? Influence of social factors on mental health may make a case for such an approach. If our personal lives are intertwined with, and influenced by, social factors and politics, it would seem unavoidable that these aspects of ourselves and our environments would find their way into the clinical hour.

Margaret Lawrence, 105, Dies; Pioneering Black Female Psychoanalyst. A beautiful obituary for Dr. Lawrence. Her daughter’s book “A Balm in Gilead,” is another way to get to know her as well.

Fear of Breakdown: Politics and Psychoanalysis by Noëlle McAfee. A new book describes the argument for understanding politics through the lens of early childhood experience and development. 

by Jeremy Mintz, Psy.D.


Personality Dynamics in Psychotherapy: A Roadmap for Lasting Change
Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D.

February 29, 2020
1:00 – 4:00 PM


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.

SEEKING PSYCHODYNAMIC CORE FACULTY: CIIS is seeking new faculty members to contribute to the growth of our innovative Clinical Psychology (PsyD) program. Both half-time and full-time appointments will be considered. Our distinctive approach to doctoral education synthesizes integral philosophy and psychodynamic approaches to psychotherapy. We emphasize the radical roots of this discipline, as well as its unparalleled emphasis on the therapeutic relationship as a catalyst for change. Interested candidates can apply at or contact Andrew Harlem ( for more information.

TO DONATE: Fabric (off- white) and wood analytic couch. Used, in good condition. Must be able to pick up at my office in San Mateo. Contact: Jeff Weiner. Email: Phone: (650) 579-1020.







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: 

Child Colloquium: Annual Evening at the Movies “Shoplifters"
Sat, Jan 11 / 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-3366 / R. Cowan, Ph.D., LCSW/ free

Braving the Erotic Field in the Treatment of Adolescents
Mon, Jan 13 / 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm / 444 Natoma St. / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-3366 / M. Brady, Ph.D.; D. Elise, Ph.D. / free

Foundations of the Self: A Neuropsychoanalytic Perspective
Fri, Jan 17 (begins) / 11:45 am - 1:15 pm / private office / Oakland
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / M. Zellner, Ph.D. / $320 - $420

Psychedelics and the Brain: How the Mind Can be Changed
Sat, Jan 18 / 9:00 am - 12:30 pm / 530 Bush St. / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / K. Ortigo, Ph.D., et al / $15 - $100

Living Symbols of the Tarot: A Journey Through Archetypal Pa
Sun, Jan 19 (begins) / 10:00 am - 5:00 pm / 2040 Gough St. / San Francisco
Jung Institute / (415) 771-8055 / M. Chiaia, Ph.D., MFT / $275-$300

Does the body have a mind? From Freud to Bion
Sat, Jan 25 / 9:30 am - 12:30 pm / 444 Natoma St / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-3366 / R. Oelsner, M.D.; H. Gordon, DMH / $60 - $65

Alienation and Cultural Factors
Sat, Feb 1 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / 444 Natoma St. / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-3366 / R. Tyminski, DMH; G. Villalba, LCSW / free

COFAP Intl Couple and Family Psychoanalysis
Thu, Feb 6 (begins) / 9:00 am - 5:30 pm / InterContinental Hotel / San Francisco
SFCP / (415) 563-6133 / S. Nathans, Ph.D., et al. / $140 - $610