Previous Events

In order from most recent


  • Date: March 9, 2019
  • Presenter: N/A
  • Topic: We want to reflect on our recent process, as we have been deepening the work together in ways that feel useful and often difficult—we want to respond to voices from many parts of the community to consider how we make a sustainable process — and that we think reflecting together on the recent guidelines as a stimulus can be a way to further our work.
  • Date: January 12, 2019
  • Presenter: Vivek Anand, Rossanna Echegoyén, and Nikkia Young
  • Topic: Unpacking Colonialist Influence in Clinical Practice
    Let’s continue our ongoing conversations about how the intersections of racism and colonialism are woven into the fabric of our clinical work and community processes. We aim to utilize the space for collaborative discussion on how issues of colonialism, historical trauma, and racial melancholia impact each of us, our relationship with patients, and the systems in which we operate.


  • Date: November 10, 2018
  • Presenter: Carnella Gordon-Brown, Veronica Garcia, and Gregory Desierto
  • Topic: Unpacking Colonialist Influence in Clinical Practice
    Let’s continue our ongoing conversations about how the intersections of racism and colonialism are woven into the fabric of our clinical work and community processes. We aim to utilize the space for collaborative discussion on how issues of colonialism, historical trauma, and racial melancholia impact each of us, our relationship with patients, and the systems in which we operate.
  • Date: September 15, 2018
  • Topic: Annual Conference

    Our intention for the 2018 conference is to continue our ongoing conversations about how the intersections of racism and colonialism are woven into the fabric of our clinical work and community processes. We aim to utilize the space for collaborative discussion on how issues of colonialism, historical trauma, and racial melancholia impact each of us, our relationship with patients, and the systems in which we operate. The conference will feature a panel of discussants who will engage in thoughtful conversation on the identified topics. The larger group of conference participants will also have opportunities to engage in these discussions.

  • Date: May 12, 2018
  • Presenters: N/A
  • Topic: At Reflective Spaces Material Places we have tried to create space for our community to come together and engage in dialogue about the impact of our social locations and the systems in which we all participate and live. These discussions often bring up complicated feelings and an experience of dislocation or frustration with our institutional and social systems. The past year has been one in which these conversations have deepened, allowing differences to be spoken and tensions to come to light. At our upcoming May meeting, the last one of this year, we invite us to come together, to reflect on who we are and what has transpired, and to find ways of keeping each other engaged in what at times can be very difficult conversations. Afterwards we invite you to drop in to El Rio (3158 Mission) to hang out for a bit before we break for the summer.
  • Date: March 10, 2018
  • Presenters: Molly Merson, Lazzuly Melo, and Penelope Mato Vilar
  • Topic: #METOO and You: Intersections and Clinical Experience
  • Date: January 13, 2018
  • Presenters: Audrey Dunn, Loong Kwok, and Jonathan Lichtenstein
  • Topic: Am I in Trouble? Working With Vulnerable Youth in Public Schools


  • Date: November 11, 2017
  • Presenters: Partnerships for Trauma Recovery (PTR) – Annika Sridharan, Jude Albukhari, Adhithi Rajan, and Florence Faizi
  • Topic: Bearing Witness to Trauma: Working with Refugees and International Survivors of Human Rights Abuses
  • Date: September 16, 2017
  • Presenter: Usha Tummala-Narra and case presentation by Suzanne Hausler
  • Topic: Annual Conference
  • Date: May 13, 2017
  • Presenters: RSMP organizers Lani Chow, Francisco Gonzalez, and Mahima Muralidharan
  • Topic: Response & Regeneration: The current political climate has created a unique moment for mental health providers. A myriad of institutions — from community agencies to cities to the State of California — have been issuing political statements of value and intent. Mental health practitioners of varying orientations and from diverse fields of practice have turned to engagement with the social as an elemental part of clinical work. Beyond reactivity and coping we believe this is also a productive time of response and regeneration. In this, our final meeting of the year, we strive to consolidate ideas from this RSMP series on the political. We take up three areas: the axis of personal belonging (Mahima); the multiplicity of the group (Francisco); and the institutional field (Lani). How is our practice changing when we practice in a field that is now self-consciously political and social? What are we learning about theory and practice? What kind of constructive responses help reshape the landscape. Join us to celebrate a renewed energy for socially conscious work that reflects deeply on psychic process while not losing sight of material realities.
  • Date: March 11, 2017
  • Presenters: Cria Merchant, MFT, Peggy Kim, MFT, Nouf Al-Rashid, MS, PsyD candidate
  • Topic: Still Standing: A Closer Look at Our Clinical Work in the Shadows of the Election: As we move further into the national cataclysm, therapeutic work becomes more complicated. Many clinicians are questioning or may feel confused about how to do the work in this historic time of turbulence. In today’s meeting we turn in, towards our clinical work to think more carefully about our clinical encounters and how we can help each other remain thoughtful and aware. We want to focus upon ways in which we are able to expand the therapeutic space. We will ask ourselves important questions such as: How do we hold anxiety? Do we hold it inside too much, or are there times when it’s useful to share our anxiety with clients? Can our anxiety “infect” clients? If a client doesn’t talk about the political situation or appear affected by it, do we ask why not? Is that an intrusion, are we using the client to work through our own concerns? How do we decide? Three brief clinical vignettes will be presented to help us orient our thinking together. Our goal is to share strategies, ways of thinking and organizing the clinical material, and apply these ideas to our own clinical experiences. We look forward to sharing ideas, reactions, questions and experiences with one another while we continue to navigate through this time together.
  • Date: Saturday, January 14, 2017
  • Presenter: Open Forum
  • Topic: Still Thinking in the Shadows of our Times: Open Forum building off of November’s group discussion (Shadow of The Election: Otherness and Community). We shared ideas, reactions, questions and experiences with one another as we continue to navigate through this time together.


  • Date: Saturday, November 12, 2016 
  • Presenter: Open Forum
  • Topic: Shadow of The Election: Otherness and Community We are living through a troubling and consequential sociopolitical moment: both domestically and internationally, the scene is clouded by unrest, distrust, violence, and instability. This RSMP program is taking place 4 days after the national election. Regardless of the outcome, we all have been living for months under the shadow of uncertainty, anticipatory fear and anxiety, threats toour sense of reality, compassion, and intensification of affects overall. In keeping with RSMP’s goals of establishing a space for group reflection and dialogue, this program aims to help us digest the effects of this intense period that will have culminated with the election itself. We want to focus on our work. As a stimulus to discussion, we have asked four presenters to give vignettes highlighting how these difficult times have affected their work and/or personal lives. We think the ensuing discussion will help us stay reflective and thoughtful about those we serve.
  • 2016 Conference
  • Date: September 17, 2016
  • Presenter: Cleonie White, Ph.D.
  • Topic: Selfhood In Otherness: Relational Spaces as Transitional Spaces In a collaboration between Reflective Spaces Material Places and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California (PINC), Cleonie V. White, Ph.D., PINC’s Visiting Scholar, was featured at the 4th annual RSMP day-long conference. The following is the copy from our marketing materials for the conference: “Cleonie will share her thoughts, reflections, and clinical experiences to expand and explore several issues: How is otherness defined? How can our subjectivities and individualities be found and be recognized despite feeling mutually different? How do we address these issues in our intimate engagements with the individuals with whom we work? In the spirit of RSMP, we will engage with each other and Cleonie to collectively think and reflect about how clinicians and the individuals they work with in various settings can co-participate and co-construct race, class, and differences. Cleonie White, Ph.D., is Fellow, faculty, and supervisor at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology. Cleonie is the 2015-2016 President of the William Alanson White Psychoanalytic Society. She is Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at New York University’s Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, and is also faculty and supervisor at the Stephen Mitchell Center for Relational Studies. Cleonie is a member of the Editorial Board of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and is an Associate Board member of Psychoanalytic Dialogues. Her interests and writing are in the areas of trauma and dissociation, race, class, the immigrant/foreigner Other, identity, and creativity in psychoanalysis. Cleonie enjoys the arts in all their glorious forms and maintains a private practice in New York City.”
  • Date: Sat, June, 18, 2016
  • Presenter: Group discussion
  • Topic: Responding to the Orlando Massacre: This past early Sunday, many individuals who were celebrating love and community in an Orlando gay nightclub, Pulse – a place that was deemed safe and sacred for the Latino LGBT community and their allies – were met with hate, misunderstanding, tragedy, and even death. This tragic event has caused a deep and painful ripple effect for the Latino LGBT community and those who support and love them. Additionally, a national discourse on Latino American and LGBT discrimination, Islamophobia, masculinity, and gun violence has again, resurfaced. How do we make sense of this tragedy and these issues, in our personal and professional lives, and for the communities who we provide services for and who are deeply impacted by this event? This tragedy feels impossible to be processed and contained alone. Perhaps, we can collectively think and reflect together, and support each other. We are calling an impromptu RSMP meeting to come together in light of the tragic event that happened at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We believe our clinical community needs a space and place to be with each other and to respond, however we do, to this event. This will be an open discussion for all mental health practitioners who are interested in coming together. We don’t have an agenda, just a trust in the value of holding and facilitating space for this. Feel free to bring your thoughts, words, or just your presence. All are welcomed.
  • Date: Sat, May 14, 2016
  • Presenter: Jaime Salas, MSc and David Cushman, Psy.D.
  • Topic: RESPONSIBILITY: “Responsibility includes identifying one’s task, being held accountable and trusted to carry it through, and to accept blame, guilt, or culpability when the task fails or cannot be carried through. Yet, we are also responsible to know if we’ve hurt or neglected others as a result of our  responsibility created? Where does our responsibility lie? Join us as we once again open our group to engage one another’s thoughts and ideas about our Responsibility – to ourselves and to those in our social worlds.”
  • Date: March 12th, 2016
  • Presenter: Lani Chow, PhD and Elise Geltman, LCSW
  • Topic: Working with Scarcity: SCARCITY: shortage, poverty, lack, want, inadequacy, unavailability. These descriptors can dominate our discourse and dialogue in the public and private work of mental health. As a result, the effects of these circumstances and states of mind take up much of our thinking space. Join us at our next RSMP program as we actively engage one another in discussing how we think about and are affected by “scarcity” in our work and lives.
  • Date: January 9, 2016
  • Presenter: Elliott Currie, PhD: Professor of Criminology, UC Irvine & Estela Garcia, DMH: Instituto Familiar de la Raza
  • Topic: A Call to Reflect: An RSMP Community Discussion about Living and Working in a Time of Increasing Violence


  • Date: November 14, 2015
  • Presenter: Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness
  • Topic: Homelessness and the Superbowl: The annual RSMP conference with Lynne Layton, PhD alerted us to how the new order of big money affects us personally and professionally; we are compelled to act as self-sufficient individuals, often failing to take in the effects of a crumbling social fabric. In this gathering, we are fortunate to have Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness. As an activist, she helps us remember that there is much we can do. San Francisco is slated to host the Super Bowl in February 2016 and the city is planning initiatives to clear the homeless people from the streets. This will undoubtedly produce effects for the community mental health system. Join us for a lively presentation and discussion at the intersection of football money, homeless people, and community mental health.
  • 2015 Conference
  • Date: September 12, 2015
  • Presenter: Lynne Layton
  • Topic: Every day we experience the wrecking effects of political and economic systems that emphasize individual responsibility and overvalue independence. We watch as social safety nets are thinned; we feel the impact ourselves and see it in our clients. As the psychological and the social are continually unlinked and we are challenged to do more with less, how will we do the work we believe in while still thriving? Lynne Layton’s work gives us a way to think in these difficult times. She offers us an understanding of the concept of “neoliberalism” — the hypervaluation of the individual coupled with the devaluation of dependency and collectivity. She carefully examines the impact of neoliberalism on the self, on clinical practices (private and community), and on our society. By exploring the history, meaning, and impact of neoliberalism, we can better understand the precariousness that we experience and position ourselves to challenge it.
  • Date: Saturday, May 9, 2015
  • Presenters: Daniel Gunther, LCSW, Cecile O’Connor, NP and Amy Peterson, MFT
  • Topic: Surviving and Thriving in Community Mental Health: Three long-time community mental health providers and advocates will share their experiences thriving in community practice settings.  Each will present their thoughts and experiences related to this important topic, and a group discussion will follow.
  • Date: Saturday, March 14, 2015
  • Presenters: Linda Zaretsky
  • Topic: Gentrification and Losing Home: The story of the Tenderloin Clinic: Linda Zaretsky presented about the losses experience when the Tenderloin Clinic lost its material home and was forced to relocate outside of the community it serves. She offered narratives from the clinic’s history, clinical vignettes, and mental health workers’ experience in the service of generating new ideas about mourning and melancholia, and its potential for resilience. As usual, a lively group discussion followed.
  • Date: Saturday, January 10, 2015
  • Presenters: Gregory Desierto & Asya Grigorieva with Group Discussion Leader, Mahima Muralidharan
  • Topic: In high school-based settings (and other community mental health ones) therapists become quite immersed in the worlds of their patients. They observe how they impact those around them in the milieu, talk to their teachers and school administration staff about academic performances and peer relationships, and have collateral meetings with their parents. This additional information about and experience of a patient’s world adds to their psychic presence and can significantly impact the transference-countertransference matrix. Holding all of this can become an especially delicate process when the patient is not physically present. Gregory and Asya will present clinical material from their practices in a High School, and Mahima Muralidharan will lead a discussion with the group.


  • Date: December 20, 2014
  • Presenters: No presenters, Group Discussion
  • Topic: Black Lives Matter: The events in Ferguson and New York have brought into consciousness, again, the omnipresence of racism and institutional brutality in our country, and the pain and fury it creates. The protests that have followed in Oakland, Berkeley and around the world have also brought into consciousness the need for social action to resist such forces. These events call for reflection as well. We are calling an impromptu RSMP meeting to come together in light of events in Ferguson, New York and across the country. We believe that our clinical community needs a space & place to be with each other and to respond, however we do, to these events. This will be an open discussion for all mental health practitioners who are interested in coming together. We don’t have an agenda, just a trust in the value of holding and facilitating space for this.  Feel free to bring your thoughts, words, or just your presence. All are welcomed.
  • Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014
  • Presenters: Peggy Kim, Yuka Hachiuma
  • Topic: In community mental health work, clients will often receive long-term therapy through a multitude of clinicians. This practice involves practicum trainees, interns, and staff clinicians alike. Building rapport and establishing a therapeutic alliance becomes all the more difficult when needing to process crucial aspects of the end of the previous treatment. This dynamic is common to many public clinics, yet it can be under examined or dismissed as just part of the reality of CMH work. Clinicians in CMH settings encounter a shifting array of clinical and cultural dynamics and navigating both can be overwhelming, particularly when acting as a replacement therapist. Peggy will discuss a case focused on an adolescent with shifting identities, whose sense of belonging is compromised, and reality and fantasy mix together. Peggy will discuss her experience of being the “replacement therapist” and will be joined, in this presentation, by Yuka Hachiuma, director of Child, Youth & Family Outpatient Services at RAMS, who is Peggy’s supervisor. Yuka and Peggy have the added experience of transferring long-term clients to each other. Together, they will invite us all to think about how our cultural worlds and clinical sensibilities combine, intersect, and diverge when seeing transfer clients.
  • Date: Saturday, September 13, 2014
  • Presenters: Stephanie King
  • Topic: White Wishes and Community Mental Health: “If I’m honest, I have to admit that I want so badly for my clients [almost all of color] to know that I will advocate for them, even though I’m white. I want so badly to be like…I’m different, I’m not like all those other white people. But I can’t say that, I can’t not be white.” -anonymous…To do sound clinical work, white practitioners in Community Mental Health must come to terms with the badness of whiteness that they bear, and at the same time go about the work of building authentic clinical relationships that can help—across differences of power, race, class, and culture. Maybe we are tired of hearing white clinicians talk about their work with people of color—but, as any of us working in CMH know, the majority of practitioners are white, and clients are overwhelmingly persons of color. Like it or not, we all have a stake in thinking together about these realities of our shared systems and history. Stephanie King, a white woman and skilled therapist, will present clinical material and talk earnestly with us about her relationship with an 85 year old African American woman with whom she worked over the course of two years at Bayview Adult Day Health Center (an Access Institute internship site). As is the norm for RSMP events, all participants will share in a lively group discussion.
  • Date: June 1, 2014
  • Presenters: Duncan Cartwright, Elliott Currie, Beth Kita
  • Topic: Murdering Minds: Violent Solutions to Inexorable Pressures: This unique event, combining theory and clinical case work, offers a rare opportunity to think about the multiple registers of acts of violence in our world today. Psychoanalyst Duncan Cartwright presents his theories about violent states of mind in dialogue with sociologist Elliott Currie, who discusses his research on the social roots of crime. Clinical social worker Beth Kita presents her clinical work with violent offenders, followed by an exchange among the panelists and a discussion with conference participants.This event is a collaboration between PINC and RSMP.
  • 2014 Conference
  • Date: March 8, 2014
  • Presenters: Various
  • Topic: Sustaining Reflective Spaces and Material Places: The RSMP Semi-Annual Conference. We spent the day expanding both our thinking and our community. This day consisted of a morning case presentation by Sarah Steinberg, MA, followed by a conversation with discussant Clara Kwun, LCSW, a morning large group discussion, and lunch. In the afternoon, small “think tank” groups focused on a variety of topics that attendees chose. The day culminated in a large group discussion, moderated by Francisco Gonzalez, MD, Rachel Peltz, PhD, and April Fernando, PhD, focused on building and sustaining our group, Reflective Spaces/Material Places.
  • Date: January 11, 2014
  • Presenter: Jamie Salas, Francisco Gonzalez, Hilda Chavez
  • Topic: La Cultura Cura: The Place of Culture at Instituto Familiar de la Raza. Instituto Familiar de la Raza, a community clinic established in 1978 by Chicano activists, provides a unique cultural setting for the practice of community mental health. By providing a protected cultural environment, it offers a location where milieu, indigenous practice, flexible boundaries, and community ritual create a “transitional place,” a place for mediating what is culturally self and not-self. Extended examples of clinical work was presented, using this as a basis for describing the ways that cultural practice becomes a necessary part of healing and how this impacts clinical practice.


  • Date: November 9, 2013
  • Presenter: Audrey Dunn, LCSW
  • Topic: Applying the same psychoanalytic lens that we use to look at our clinical work, Audrey presented an “analysis” of school-based psychoanalytically-oriented psychotherapy.  She discussed this as well as the benefits of applying this type of thinking to the various community mental health systems and groups in which many of us work. 
  • Date: September 21, 2013
  • Presenter: Linda Zaretsky, Grace Gethers, Beth Kita, Addie Liechty, Ryan Parker, Ines Vaniman, and David Cushman
  • Topic: All of the presenters from our 2012 & 2013 meetings participated in a fishbowl discussion about their experiences of presenting to RSMP and its effect on their work.
  • Date: June 8, 2013
  • Presenter: David Cushman, Wright Institute
  • Topic: David discussed his dissertation research, which centered on the countertransference reactions of community mental health practitioners versus private practice clinicians.
  • Date: April 13, 2013
  • Presenter: Addie Liechty, Seneca Family of Agencies
  • Topic: Addie presented her clinical work with three sisters in foster care, focusing on the ways in which the work evoked experiences from her that mirrored those of the girls, as well as the way in which it called upon her to resolve her own traumas to help them to do the same.
  • Date: February 9, 2013
  • Presenter: Beth Kita, Parole Outpatient Clinic
  • Topic: Beth presented “a day in the life” at POC, and talked about her work with highly traumatized and traumatizing people both within prison and on parole.


  • Date: December 1, 2012
  • Presenter: Grace Gethers, RAMS clinic
  • Topic: Grace presented a series of clinical vignettes, each one of which exemplified a particular aspect of her work, both on the level of the individual and of the organization.
  • Date: September 29, 2012
  • Presenter: Linda Zaretsky, Tenderloin Clinic
  • Topic: Linda talked about her work at the clinic.
  • Date: June 9, 2012
  • Presenter: n/a
  • Topic: Our first gathering after the March conference, we met to discuss the ways in which RSMP might grow and develop
  • 2012 Conference
  • Date: March 17, 2012
  • Presenters: Ines Vaniman (Larkin Street Youth Services), Ryan Parker (Alternative Family Services) & Neil Altman (NYU Postdoc Program)
  • Topic: Our inaugural event, this day-long conference featured two panelists who presented their work to the group. Neil Altman led the large group discussion, and the afternoon was spent by participants breaking up into smaller working groups to discuss the various themes that emerged.