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 June Lin-Arlow, AMFT 

This month we are coming up on a year of sheltering in place. March 2020 feels like forever ago, and also I scratch my head and wonder, “where did the time go?” I didn't even make any sourdough! It was a year of patience, waiting, and getting to know our relationship with not knowing. Many of us contended with our values and what was important to us: what we’re keeping and what we’re letting go of. 

In this issue of Impulse, we are standing in the generative and often messy space between “how did we get here?” and “how do we move forward?” In Potential Space, Amber Trotter writes about the importance of acknowledging trauma in understanding how our social realities became so polarized on a national scale. President of NCSPP, Todd Rising, shares our organization’s efforts to grapple with issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

I’m also excited to announce a change that we are making in Impulse to the column formerly known as “Psychoanalysis in the News” penned by Molly Merson. We are renaming the column to “Psychoanalysis in Society,” and it will highlight recent perspectives on social issues that are psychoanalytic but not necessarily directly referencing the world of psychoanalysis, which can be insular. We will include viewpoints from sociology, critical theory, and diverse voices not typically heard in the dominant discourse. We hope these articles will challenge us and influence our own thinking to move towards equity and inclusion. 


by Todd Rising, Psy.D.

NCSPP was founded 35 years ago this February. Our creation story included the impassioned strivings of a handful of non-medical clinicians who sought advanced psychoanalytic training and an organizational home. At that time, the American Psychoanalytic Association excluded clinicians without an M.D. from seeking training at accredited institutes. This vanguard collective of clinicians pushed for policy change, which led to broadened access for many clinicians who were previously excluded. The foundational spirit of NCSPP centered on inclusivity, creative dialogue, and collaboration among the local community of lay individuals and professionals from all psyche-oriented disciplines who were interested in psychoanalysis. (Click here for a synopsis of NCSPP’s history.)

Thirty five years later, NCSPP is similarly called to set our bearings towards justice in determining our path forward. The issue in 1986 around inequity among medical and non-medical clinicians has now been resolved. In 2021, however, after harmful and racist missteps that NCSPP unconsciously enacted in 2020, we are at another inflection point in considering pathways towards justice: specifically, identifying and confronting the complex interweaving of policies, ideas, and blindspots in both our field and organization that perpetuate exclusion, inequity, and oppression. Reflective of the spirit of our founders, NCSPP and its current Board, Executive Committee, and staff, are committed to taking an intentional deeper dive, exploring and dis-covering our problematic historical and current ideas, mindsets, and policies that are infused with White supremacy, racism, and other manners of squeezing out difference from historically hegemonic spaces. Our Equity Clause was a first step. Now we must take further active steps towards examining our own internal harmful structures and policies.



March 13, 2021 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Presenters: Peter Goldberg, Ph.D., Michael Levin, Psy.D. and Adam Blum, Psy.D.
Moderator: Julie Ruskin, Ph.D.

$50.00 General Admission
$40.00 SFCP Members and SF-PPTP, PAPPTP and CAPPTP Trainees
Free for SFCP Candidates
​2 CME/CE Credits available. CME/CE credits are FREE for SFCP Members. Non-SFCP Members Fee is $24.00.

This program is open to licensed clinicians or pre-licensed associates / trainees only. Pre-registration is required. Please click here to register.

What does music have to do with psychoanalysis? There is growing recognition in our field that we must go beyond the intrapsychic and the relational to account for the collective character of psychical life. While striving to understand how economic, racial, and gendered relations of power in the social world structure the unconscious positions of analyst and patient, we may also wonder what it is that draws us so powerfully into the sphere of collective living in the first place – perhaps on levels where psyche and soma, self and other, are not differentiated.

by Beth Steinberg, Ph.D.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021 | 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
​RSVP to to obtain a Zoom link

The San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis (SFCP) is excited to open the application process for those wishing to begin our two-year Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program (PPTP) or our one-year Foundations program in September 2021. 

Through an integrated program of seminars, case conferences, and long-term individual supervision, the PPTP offers an in-depth introduction to psychoanalytic psychotherapy theory and technique, and provides grounding in fundamental psychoanalytic principles.


  • Classes held Tuesday evenings, 6:15 pm to 9:30 pm
  • Program meets for two years, September through June
  • Individual supervision focused on your development as a clinician
  • A chance to study and collaborate with other psychoanalytically oriented clinicians throughout the Bay Area
  • Application deadline, Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 9:00 am

by Amber Trotter, Psy.D.


“All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned ....” (Marx, VI, 135)

Functional societies require shared narratives, symbolism, values, and protocols. We agree on fictions: time, money, legislative procedure. Society inculcates a “second nature” which Plato considered sacred, and which individualistic, relativistic, postmodern hypercapitalism renders profane. In Nietzsche’s famous derision, truth is “a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are” (1954, p. 46-7).

Nietzsche, dear Nietzsche, you set me free, but when God is dead, when truth is illusion, we might get, well, men in Viking helmets roaming the capital shitting incoherently. 

In the end, the seeds we sow are all we have to reap. Iconoclastic, consumptive, manifest-your-own-reality digital post-post-modernism has led us here. “Polarized” doesn’t begin to capture the breakdown of consensual reality.

by Molly Merson, MFT

The Reign of One’s Own Desire. Daniel Gatzambide interviews Sheldon George on his book Trauma and Race: A Lacanian Study on African American Identity, including an exploration of how Lacanian jouissance is played out via slavery and racism.

How colonialism and capitalism helped place a stigma on mental illness. This book review describes author Grinker’s argument that settler colonialism and capitalism (now neoliberalism) has created divisions between psyche, spirit, body, and society in such a way to stigmatize mental illness and psychic suffering as a non-normative human experience.

Latinx Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalyst Patricia Gherovici shares a “mental health minute” video about psychoanalytic work in Argentina and the United States.


FOUR FULL-TIME PSYCHOTHERAPY OFFICES AVAILABLE. Great location (a block next to UCSF Mt. Zion on Divisadero Street). Each office has double doors, a window(s), and is carpeted. This is a psychotherapy/psychoanalysis suite - six offices with a spacious, furnished shared waiting room and staff kitchen, along with a variety of neighborhood businesses and restaurants (Starbucks on the corner). WiFi provided: telehealth sessions for those looking for space outside your home. Two are smaller (approximately 8'x10' unfurnished), great for individual/couples therapy, available for full-time sublet immediately ($750 a month each). Two are medium sized (unfurnished), for individual/couples/family work available Feb 1st for $900 a month each. For more information text/call Tom at (415) 810-6481.

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: 

The Art of Catching the Drift
Wed, Mar 3 (begins) / 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-2438 / J. De Lon, MFT / free

East Bay Psychotherapy Forum
Wed, Mar 3 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-2438 / TBA / free

Child Colloquium Series
Sat, Mar 6 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-248 / T. Stewart, Psy.D., et al. / free

CAPPTP Open House 
Mon, Mar 8 / 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-2438 / R. Schwartz, Ph.D and D. Vuong, MFT / free

PINC Open House
Thu, Mar 11 / 7:00 pm - 8:45 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / V. Bonfilio, J.D., Ph.D. / free

Virtual Spring Happy Hour
Fri, Mar 12 / 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm / Zoom
NCSPP / (908) 447-5097 / Pre-licensed Clinicians Committee / free

Second Fridays – The Frame has Changed
Fri, Mar 12 / 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / O. Guralnik, Psy.D.; L. Slome, Ph.D. / $10 - $40

Dialogues: Psychoanalysis and the Musical Weave of Being
Sat, Mar 13 / 10:00 am - 12:00 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-2438 / P. Goldberg, Ph.D., et al. / $40 – 50

PAPPTP Open House
Thu, Mar 18 / 6:45 pm - 8:45 pm / Zoom
SFCP / (415) 632-2438 / C. Phillips, LCSW / free

Symposium: Jouissance: A Lacanian Concept
Sat, Mar 20 / 9:00 am - 11:30 am / Zoom
EJP / (631) 375-2841 / N. Braunstein, Ph.D., M.D., et al. / free

Symposium – Rhizomes / Networks / Correspondence
Sat, Mar 27 / 10:30 am - 12:00 pm / Zoom
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / S. Benvenuto, Ph.D.; F. Castrillón, Psy.D. / free - $35