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 Willow Banks, Psy.D., NCSPP Secretary

2020 is flogging us with an assortment of horrors. Some are new but most are not: global pandemic, record unemployment, ongoing brutality and murder of Black people by police, suppression of protests, and political corruption. White supremacy and patriarchy run rampant in our systems. Another hurricane hit Puerto Rico, starvation is widespread in Yemen, explosions tore Beirut apart, and fleeing Syrians are refused entry to Europe, abandoned in the water of the Mediterranean Sea. There are hurricanes strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico as I write this, and the state of California is on fire from dry lightning strikes. Australia burned in January. These are just a few examples and I know there are so many more.

There is a Zen koan that goes something like, “I am sick because the whole world is sick.” Our systems of power are sick. I feel so inundated by the suffering in the world and in my patients that I can barely think sometimes. I would have thought that my Zen practice, my Bodhisattva vows to acknowledge “what is” and work to end suffering, would have prepared me for this near-constant sense of living in the present, horrors and all. Instead, I feel distinctly not prepared.

by Nicholas Hack, Psy.D.

“Well, you’ll never guess what happened this week” my client says, though we both know what happened. It’s the same thing that happened last week, and the week before, and the month before, and the year before: misfortune, injury, pain, despair, hopelessness.

Most of our sessions start this way, with a listing of the week’s tragedies both small and large. The specifics change – being attacked by others, being attacked by the self, being attacked by fate – but one thing is constant.

She's always under attack.

by Molly Merson, MFT

At Talkspace, Start-Up Culture Collides With Mental Health Concerns. We are facing a challenge: accessible mental health treatment is necessary for a healthy society, and yet, can psychoanalysis and other talk therapy be effective through an app? Do tech companies have the patient/client and therapist’s best interests in mind? This article argues, likely not.

‘Loser’: A leading psychiatrist takes a detailed look into Trump’s narcissistic pathologies. With the publication of Mary Trump’s book, many are taking the opportunity to become more public about their opinions about the president’s presumed psychological makeup and psychic life. Here is one psychoanalyst who is interviewed on this topic.

The New Theatrics of Remote Therapy. The “theater” or “space/place/location” of psychoanalysis is usually considered in terms of the frame, but remote psychotherapy is exposing aspects of the frame which psychoanalysis does not often directly take up. Several psychoanalysts and psychotherapists are interviewed in this New Yorker piece about that which has changed— and that which has stayed the same— in the process and practice of psychotherapy during a pandemic.

by Candice Turner, Psy.D.

NCSPP is looking for new board members and committee chairs! We believe that change in our community is urgent, imperative, and comes from within. We absolutely encourage BIPOC and other marginalized folks to inquire. For those interested, we invite you to our Zoom board meeting in September. Looking forward to meeting you!

Email us for more information.

Appointment Book: 

Focus On – Tele-therapy: History, Theory, and Practice
Mon, Oct 5 (begins) / 7:30 - 9:00 pm / Zoom / San Francisco
PINC / (415) 288-4050 / H. Zeavin, Ph.D. / $150 - $240