Reflective Spaces/Material Places began as a collaboration between NCSPP, PINC and Access Institute. These three organizations wanted to find a way to bring community-based work together with psychoanalytic thinking. In 2012, Lani Chow (NCSPP), Francisco Gonzalez (PINC) and Elizabeth Kita (Access) planned and hosted a successful day-long conference that featured a panel presentation and discussion as well as working group spaces. In 2013, Mia Maturen (Access) joined the organizing committee. Rachael Peltz (PINC), David Cushman (NCSPP) and Ryan Parker (A Better Way) joined us in 2014.
Since then, RS/MP has emerged as a strong group of Bay Area people -therapists, case managers, doctors, administrators, advocates, peer counselors, vocational counselors, housing specialists and activists – who are practicing in community mental health settings and thinking psychodynamically about our work. Our bimonthly meetings offer practitioners of all levels and backgrounds an opportunity to come together to reflect on our work and build community with each other.
Our meetings most often occur at Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR), at 25th and Mission in San Francisco (map), unless otherwise noted. IFR is a community based organization that has been providing relevant, strengths-based, and culturally sound services to people in the San Francisco community for almost 35 years. They have graciously welcomed us into their space.
RSMP was featured in the online APA Division 39 Blog, with an article entitled, “One Model for Community Psychoanalysis: Reflective Spaces Material Places featured in the APA Division 39 Blog, The Psychoanalytic Activist. Check it out HERE!
RSMP ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE: 2016
The RSMP organizing committee – tasked with planning the bimonthly events, moderating the google group, maintaining a website, hosting the annual conference and reflecting on the growing edges of the group and figuring how to respond to them – was initially composed of the 3 founding members: Lani Chow, Francisco Gonzlez, and Beth Kita, each of whom represented the 3 sponsoring agencies (NCSPP, PINC and Access Institute, respectively). In 2013-2014, Lani, Francisco and Beth were then joined by one additional representative from each of the sponsoring agencies – David Cushman (NCSPP), Mia Maturen (Access) and Rachael Peltz (PINC). Wanting to ensure representation from those in community health health agency practice, we added two additional members: Ryan Parker and Jamie Salas. At the 2014 conference, we extended an open invitation to whoever was interested to become more involved in RSMP. From that, 2 additional groups formed: the conference planning group and a study group on race/class. The conference planning group included: David Cushman, Audrey Dunn, Cynthia Hutchinson, Beth Kita, Mia Maturen, Kelsey Parker, Ryan Parker, Lindsay Repko, Jamie Salas, and Linda Zaretsky. The race/class study group consisted of Gregory Desierto, Beth Kita, Ryan Parker and Linda Zaretsky.
In 2015, the organizing committee began to address issues related to RSMP’s growth, its structure, and how we might ensure its sustainment. David Cushman and Ryan Parker ended their (very much appreciated) committee work. We invited all remaining committee members to convene (as well as those who had expressed interest in becoming more involved in RSMP) to discuss how we might move forward as an organizing committee. When we met, we reflected on the spirit of RSMP and the values that have emerged, and determined that we wanted to create an organizational structure that embodied them. We ultimately decided to absorb all committee members into the organizing committee (unless individuals declined to join), and have the members rotate as leaders of the organizing committee. Each member made a two-year commitment to serving on the committee.
We also made a commitment to move between subcommittees periodically to avoid the “silo-ing” that commonly occurs in organizations. Although this is a complicated structure, we are willing to experiment to see how it works. We are hoping that it allows for a sharing of power and leadership by the group instead of by individuals. It’s extremely important for the vitality of RSMP to have different voices be represented and heard and we hope that an inclusive group governing structure will help us achieve an efficient but equal one.
Currently, the Organizing Committee members include: Lani Chow, Audrey Dunn, Rossanna Echegoyen, Francisco Gonzalez, Cynthia Hutchison, Mahima Muralidharan, Kelsey Parker, Alice Shaw, Rachael Peltz, and Linda Zaretsky. The organizing committee meets every other month and is charged with overseeing the overall functioning and future development of RSMP with sensitivity to inclusion and respect for differences.
We do our best as organizers to attend to the growing edges of the group, adding infrastructure as needed. We’ve also established the following subcommittees:
Programming Committee: Audrey Dunn (co-chair), Lani Chow, Francisco Gonzalez (co-
chair), Mahima Muralidharan, and Kelsey Parker. This committee is charged with planning the every other month meetings, in addition to spontaneous gatherings in response to crises in our communities. Any one in RSMP is welcome to contact members of this committee with ideas or requests
Conference Planning Committee: Alice Shaw (co-chair), Mamta Dadlani (co-chair), Cynthia Hutchinson, Linda Zaretsky, Geetali Chitre, Mary Mykhaylova, Gordon Lee. This committee is charged with planning the annual RSMP fall conference.
Race/Class Study Group Committee: Lani Chow, Gregory Desierto (co-chair), and Linda Zaretsky (co-chair). This committee grew out of the reading group on race, which met for the past year. The hope is to generate similar groups in which, in response to selected readings, the group can embark on an on-going and in-depth discussion of race, such as RS/MP Reads.
Over the next few months as these committees cohere, we will be reaching out to the RSMP community so that those who want to be more involved have an opportunity to do so.