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 Adam Blum, Psy.D. and Loong Kwok, Psy.D.

Last month, Impulse featured the last Potential Space feature by our Staff Writer Mark McKinley, Psy.D. In it, he explored the metaphor of home. To borrow his words, home can be "a touchstone for knowing when life is moving astray." This is significant because Mark has himself been a touchstone for what Impulse is and where we moved. He wrote the very first Potential Space in April 2010, breaking ground on the new venture to capture more of the psychoanalytic thinking in our community.

by Jane Reingold, MFT


"Will the circle be unbroken?" croons a closely huddled band of bluegrass brothers beautifully harmonizing, setting the stage for what is to emerge. In Felix van Groeningen's The Broken Circle Breakdown, Didier, a Flemish-bohemian-cowboy Bluegrass musician, and Elise, a spirited, bohemian tattoo artist, meet and fall in love. He reads her body, her second skin: two skulls embracing on her chest, a day of the dead tattoo on her arm, a new tattoo of a gun with Didier's name. Death and the afterlife, reason versus faith, are up for examination here, as scenes intermittently shift to a very sick child with cancer in a hospital bed.

by Ripple Patel

Biblical Commentary Coming to Your Therapist's Office. Author Avivah Zornberg utilizes psychoanalytic principles to deepen her understanding of biblical texts, and her work has inspired a multitude of clinicians.

Book Review: Becoming Freud by Adam Phillips. Steven Marcus critiques Adam Phillips' portrayal of the first 50 years of Freud's life.

No More Hidden Order of Art. Art critic Donald Kuspit contrasts the creative dialectic between conscious and unconscious with the current trend towards entertainment-based art.

by Eric Essman, MA


All therapists have a vision of the "good" patient or therapy - cooperative, mutually beneficial, and productive. Most of us have also had experiences with the "difficult" patient or therapy, which can feel adversarial, non-mutual and unproductive. Historically, difficulty in therapy relationships has been seen as the "fault" of the patient, who is conceptualized as resistant to change. As the field has come to encompass the co-constructed crucible of both therapist and patient subjectivities, more has been written about the contribution of the therapist's inadequacies and vulnerabilities to impasse in psychotherapy.


BERKELEY OFFICE FOR RENT. Lovely, newly constructed office, 225 sq.ft. Bamboo floors, skylight, therapists' bathroom and kitchen, Parking, free wi-fi. Contact Alice Jones, MD, 510-845-8800,

COMING IN JULY: The Psychology of Theft and Loss, Stolen and Fleeced by Robert Tyminski. Available at:

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Appointment Book: 

NCSPP and Tea 
Sat,  Jul 12 / 11 AM / 730 Howard Street / San Francisco
NCSPP / (510) 496-6080 / free (food/beverage available for purchase)