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 Tanisha Stewart, Psy.D.

In 2020, NCSPP committed to "inclusion, antiracism, and anti-oppression" through "dismantling the sources of institutional racism within our training and administrative structures." Although only two years have passed, that time feels like a lifetime ago. America was in the midst of its "racial reckoning." According to the New York Times, Black Lives Matter (BLM) was likely the largest movement in our country's history. As a result, cities enacted police reforms, confederate monuments were toppled, and organizations promised greater diversity and inclusivity.

Since the height of the BLM movement, America's attention has diverted away from racial justice. In the past few months, this nation has experienced an onslaught of domestic and international tragedies. As we know, continuous exposure to trauma overwhelms the mind and body's ability to cope. It is easy to succumb to despair, numbness, and apathy. I have experienced each of these emotions in turn. The task of dismantling racism feels as daunting as preventing gun violence or stopping a war. However, I have centered my presidential term on ensuring that NCSPP pairs its dedication to inclusivity with action.

by Amber Trotter, Psy.D.


We all have limits. Breaking points. Some people, or so I’m told, never really get to know theirs. I’ve had ample opportunity. The last one involved a shattered humerus, which sounds like humorous, but it wasn’t funny. It was the final straw, the breaking point, in a series of unfortunate events. I lay in bed, twisted in pain, full of my own suffering. A friend called, enumerating all the things I could now learn to do with my left hand. I laughed. It occurred to me that unconsciously, I worried I had forgotten how. A different kind of breaking point. A lifting point. 

November 8, 2016: Donald Trump is elected President. Good, I thought, I hope we’ve hit some sort of bottom—a breaking lifting point. But things keep getting worse. I fight for the silver linings. I really do. But let’s not delude ourselves. It's madness all around. 

Last month, for fun, I read Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious. Freud wonders about the function of humor. We all know the reductive, well, Freudian bit. Humor allows us to discharge the sexual and aggressive impulses we otherwise repress. Wit serves as a release valve, with a built-in defense: I was only joking! Wit reveals and conceals truth simultaneously. There is always ambiguity, multiple interpretations.  


BEAUTIFUL ROCKRIDGE OFFICE AVAILABLE FOR SUBLET. Sunny, quiet, and comfortable with an analytic couch in a suite with other analysts. Great location near BART and freeways. Available all day Tuesday/Thursday and Monday/Friday half days. Contact Ruth Simon at or (510) 813-5443.

CULTURE AND THE UNCONSCIOUS: Expanding our Scope and Deepening our Reach with Karim Dajani, Psy.D. Twelve week consultation and study group focused on applying the conception of a social unconscious to our work with patients. Group will meet online, Fridays from 8:00 - 9:30am PT, beginning September 2 through November 18. For further information, or to inquire about joining the group, please send an email to

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: 

no upcoming July events.