How We Can Help

Hello and welcome to our web site. If you are reading this, you may be struggling with depression, sadness, or anxiety. You may be in the middle of a difficult break-up, or the discovery of infidelity.


Perhaps you are planning to marry, looking to improve your marriage, or trying to decide whether or not to remain in your current romantic relationship.


We have had the privilege of helping many people work through these and other challenges in order to build happier, healthier lives.


Our specialties include couples therapy, addressing infidelity, adjusting to break-ups, relationship skill-building, communication enhancement, navigating divorce, self-esteem building, and pre-marital counseling.


— Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, founder


Learn More

What We Do

Help You Improve Your Relationships
We teach concrete relationship skills that help clients build stronger, happier, more intimate relationships with family, friends and romantic partners.

If you are experiencing a difficult break-up, a divorce, or the painful discovery of infidelity, we will help you work through the many levels of loss that are common to such challenges. We help our clients find opportunities for growth in spite of these painful scenarios.

If you want to improve your marriage or seek pre-marital counseling, our approach considers each partner as an essential player in the relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. We teach relevant psychological theories to help you work on both yourself and your relationships.


Help You Achieve Your Goals
Whether you are looking to build self-esteem, become a better communicator, manage anxiety or relieve depression, we work with clients to set concrete goals and take clear steps to achieve them. In addition, we help clients gain insights necessary to improve their lives.

We suggest resources so that the therapy is happening not just in our office, but outside of the office, in your lives. To this end, specific books, films, web sites and articles are suggested and tailored to the needs and interests of each client.


Upcoming Group Seminars


Niki Novak LMFT is now a participating provider in the Blue Cross network.  Blue Cross members seeking individual or couples therapy can learn more about Niki through the about and contact tabs. You can also reach out to Niki directly to schedule an appointment:

We are pleased to announce that Erin Katz is joining our practice in late August. She will be seeing clients at our Palisades location on Thursdays. To learn more about Erin, visit the about tab for a full bio.

In the News…


Elisabeth’s article about using films as a catalyst for change was featured on the Washington Post home page.  The comprehensive, unedited version of this article is posted here.


One of the signature aspects of our practice is that we suggest books and films that are specific to our clients’ interests and concerns.  For many years, we have integrated these resources into our therapy, and our clinical experience has been that the use of appropriate films and books enhances the effectiveness of therapy.  New research has validated the clinical benefits of our approach.  You can find out more in this report from the New York Times.  In February, 2016, Elisabeth was honored to have the opportunity to present strategies for this approach at the annual conference of the American Group Psychotherapy Association.


In August, Elisabeth was interviewed by Dow Jones for Money-ish to discuss marriages with a significant age difference. In July, she was featured in The Guardian discussing healthy ways to go through a difficult breakup and in the Psychotherapy Networker discussing the importance of respecting clients in therapy. In July, she was also interviewed by the Huffington Post to discuss important topics to address before deciding to marry. In May, Elisabeth was interviewed for an interesting HuffPo story detailing candid reasons women called off their engagements. April, Elisabeth commented for Huffington Post habits of resilience among married couples. In March, she was honored to present at the American Group Psychotherapy Association Annual Meeting. In January, Elisabeth was interviewed by the Huffington Post about things that matter less that you think when it comes to committed relationships and about what couples therapists notice in a first therapy session. In December, Elisabeth was interviewed about qualities that lead to lasting relationships and also about frequent sources of tension for couples during the holiday season. In October, Elisabeth was interviewed about reasons for constant marital conflict.

Elisabeth appeared on Fox 5 to discuss why breaking up is getting harder to do in Washington. She also appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss parenting and divorce. She was quoted in Redbook Magazine about divorce, and in Fox News Magazine about breakups.


She was also interviewed on WTOP and by Washingtonian Magazine for an article about couples and exercise and Washington Post Express for an articles about breakups cohabitation and moving in together.

Niki Novak was interviewed by Washington Post Express to discuss important considerations about moving in with your significant other.

We are pleased to announce that Niki Novak LMFT and Spencer Northey LMFT are now holding office hours at a new location: 316 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.  Please contact Niki or Spencer directly to schedule an appointment. or

Latest Posts

Cinematherapy/Bibliotherapy Blog

Questions of the Month



Our Approach


Cinema/Bibliotherapy Blog

Questions of the Month

Elisabeth Joy LaMotte: Founder & Executive Director
Niki Novak: Director of Training & Development

Sarah Spencer Northey
Erin Katz

Contact Us!

  • For more information about the Center and our therapists, contact Elisabeth LaMotte at 202-333-7424, or
  • For Niki Novak: 202-596-6454, or
  • For Spencer Northey: 202-656-7818, or
  • For Erin Katz: 202-430-5641, or


  • My Name is Lucy Barton

    Elizabeth Stroud’s 2016 best-selling novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, examines the literary challenge of capturing an internal emotional experience and translating it to tell a meaningful story. The novel begins from Lucy’s hospital bed in Manhattan where she is battling a substantial but undiagnosed illness. Lucy’s husband is struggling to balance work, caring for their young daughters, and visiting the hospital. In desperation, he convinces Lucy’s provincial mother, who has never boarded an airplane, to fly to town and keep Lucy company in the hospital. The mother-daughter dynamic in Lucy’s hospital room becomes a vehicle to explore Lucy’s difficult past. Their conversations create a healing effect, raising the unspoken possibility that Lucy’s time in the hospital is primarily concerned with disinfecting childhood wounds. Meanwhile, Lucy’s crush on her doctor, while hospitalized and following her discharge, signals the tenuousness of her marriage.

    Stroud’s writing is crisp, exposing, and humorous:

    I tried to look nice; I remember I would try on different outfits and look in the mirror to see what he would see. In his office he had people in his waiting room, people in his examining rooms, then in his own office, a sort of conveyor belt of many kinds of human material. I thought of how many people’s behinds he had seen, how different they all must be. I always felt safe with him…He was speaking to a very old woman; she was carefully dressed – we had this in common, to be clean and carefully dressed for our doctor. She said “I have flatulence. It’s so embarrassing. What can I do?” He shook his head sympathetically. “That’s a toughie,” he said. For years, my girls would say “That’s a toughie” to something that was a pickle for them – they heard me tell the story so many times.

    Despite his limitations, Lucy’s husband is responsible for arranging the transformational gift of her mother’s hospital visit. Time is fluid throughout the novel, and the reader learns that Lucy’s husband was also responsible for convincing Lucy to travel and study with a gifted writer whom Lucy admires. The class becomes a catalyst for Lucy’s unexpected literary success. As Lucy struggles to develop as a writer, the dynamics of perspective, truth and storytelling unfold through an honest and compelling telling of Lucy’s truth:

    Do I understand that hurt my children feel? I think I do, though they might claim otherwise. But I think I know so well the pain we children clutch to our chests, how it lasts our whole lifetime, with longings so large you can’t even weep. We hold it tight, we do, with each seizure of the beating heart.

    This beautiful, memorable story is a tribute to the art of writing and the complexity of love.