UPDATE on COVID-19 Response:

For the foreseeable future, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to transition to a virtual office through our Simple Practice Telehealth office. This platform offers a HIPAA Compliant mechanism to offer therapy that is private and secure.  Most versions of Zoom are not secure so if you are seeing a therapist via TeleHealth, make sure they are using a HIPAA compliant platform like Simple Practice.


How We Can Help

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 also works with family businesses and closely held corporations to improve workplace dynamics, enhance communication skills and optimize performance.

— Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, founder

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 challenges. 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.

One of the signature aspects of our practice is our emphasis on cinema-therapy and biblio-therapy. For many years, we have integrated these resources into our approach, and our clinical experience has been that the use of appropriate films and books enhances the effectiveness of therapy. Research has more recently validated the clinical benefits of our approach. You can find out more in this report from the New York Times. In February, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Elisabeth was honored to have the opportunity to present strategies for this approach at the annual conference of the American Group Psychotherapy Association.

For clients who are interested, we also offer periodic outcome questionnaires to help clients analyze and track their improvement throughout the course of the therapeutic process.  In the coming weeks, we look forward to offering access to a new cinematherapy app.  Elisabeth is the therapeutic consultant working with the developers to launch this groundbreaking tool to compliment therapy.

Corporate Consultation

We also work with family businesses and closely held corporations to help organizations apply systemic strategies that enhance teamwork and improve professional communication.


In the News...


In August, 2021, Elisabeth was appointed to the Private Practice Committee of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  She is honored to accept this appointment which runs through June, 2023.

In November, Elisabeth spoke with Huffington Post about balancing chores within the home.  In July, Spencer spoke with Dating Advice about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on couples and relationships.  In May, Elisabeth spoke with Let's Go There on Channel Q about apologies and Spencer spoke with Huffington Post about the new mask-optional phase of the pandemic.  Spencer & Elisabeth spoke with Huffington Post in February about the importance of marital partnership when it comes to household chores.  During COVID this has been an especially challenging issue.

In September 2020, Elisabeth spoke with Thomas Westenholz of Zensensa about love and relationships.  Her free relationship podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify and Zensensa.

The New York Times published Elisabeth’s letter to the editor about Facebook use and social media consumption. Elisabeth’s article about news consumption was featured on the homepage of The Washington Post. Elisabeth’s article about using films as a catalyst for change was also featured on The Washington Post home page. The comprehensive, unedited version of this article is posted here. Elisabeth’s article about film viewing and couples therapy was featured in Family Therapy Magazine.

In October 2020 Elisabeth spoke with Huffington Post about the optimal psychological mindset for the pandemic and the months ahead.  June, The New Social Worker published Elisabeth's review of Crip Camp - A Disability Revolution.  April, Elisabeth wrote about practicing TeleHealth during COVID in The New Social Worker .    In February, Elisabeth was interviewed by The Washington Post regarding the intersection of current political climate and mental health.  In December, Elisabeth's article about empathy was featured in Family Therapy Magazine.  In October, Elisabeth was interviewed by Real Simple discussing the psychology behind ghosting and Spencer gave insightful commentary about vulnerability in Huffington Post Relationships. In September, Elisabeth spoke with The Atlantic about practicing therapy in Washington, DC.    In June, Spencer spoke with Huffington Post Relationships about frequent points of conflict during the first year of marriage.  In March, Elisabeth spoke with The Washington Post about the college admissions scandal and she spoke with Washingtonian about the political climate and mental health.  In February, in anticipation of Valentine's Day, Spencer spoke with Huffington Post Relationships about habits of couples in satisfying relationships and Elisabeth and Spencer discussed qualities of lasting relationships and Elisabeth discussed strategies for work-life balance.  In January, Elisabeth's article about collective anxiety was published in The New Social Worker , Spencer was interviewed by Huffington Post Relationships about marital challenges that are important to address, and Elisabeth and Spencer were interviewed by Huffington Post Relationships about helpful breakup strategies.  In December, 2018, Elisabeth’s article about Michelle Obama, communication strategies and couples therapy was published in The New Social Worker. In November, Elisabeth was interviewed by Huffington Post Relationships about Ariana Grande and the process of grieving and ex. In October, Elisabeth was interviewed by Politico about heightened politically related anxiety and media addiction. Spencer and Elisabeth were featured in Huffington Post Relationship’s article about healthy habits to improve a marriage. In September, Elisabeth was quoted in the Wall Street Journal discussing couples therapy and divorce. In July, Elisabeth was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation about heightened anxiety levels in response to current events and volatility on social media. She was also interviewed by Huffington Post Relationships about marital betrayals other than infidelity. In June, Elisabeth was interviewed by The History Channel to discuss the 20th anniversary of the television show Sex and the City. She was also interviewed by Huffington Post Relationships to discuss why some people tend to bounce straight from one relationship to the next. In April, Elisabeth was interviewed by Huffington Post Relationships about misconceptions regarding what married couples should have in common. In March, Elisabeth spoke with Health magazine about strategies for digital detoxing and with New York Magazine about the process of ending therapy. In February, Elisabeth discussed the dynamics of emotional labor and relationship red flags that are easily overlooked with Huffington Post Relationships.

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 discussing strategies to avoid divorce, and in Fox News Magazine discussing breakups.

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

Latest Posts

Cinematherapy/Bibliotherapy Blog

Empire of Pain

By Elisabeth LaMotte | August 6, 2021

Therapists are taught to screen for substance abuse in the first session. Conventional training teaches that traditional psychotherapy will not…


By Elisabeth LaMotte | July 13, 2021

Most schools of psychology emphasize the significance of examining the past. As a systems therapist, I try to help therapy…

Our Souls at Night

By Elisabeth LaMotte | April 12, 2021

Committed relationships often feel complicated, as any couples therapist will acknowledge. But falling in love often feels simple. Clear and…

Therapy Jam Sessions

“Heavy” and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

By Spencer Northey | September 16, 2021

This is a heavy post. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness month so it’s time to post it. “Heavy” was actually…

Hadestown and Orpheus’s Tragic Reactivity

By Spencer Northey | September 9, 2021

The Orpheus and Eurydice tale broke my heart when I first learned it in high school, and I have been…

The Beatles, “Hold me Tight,” and Emotion-Focused Therapy

By Spencer Northey | August 26, 2021

    This post is about both Hold Me Tight by the Beatles, one of their least favorite, but still…

Questions of the Month

Have You Spoken with your Partner about the Household Chore Divide?

By Elisabeth LaMotte | November 1, 2021

Romantic relationships thrive through a healthy ability to balance separateness and togetherness. Individuals who can venture out into the world…

Stressed about Returning to the Office?

By Elisabeth LaMotte | September 7, 2021

Following 18 months of remote work, many in the DMV are returning to the office with a mix of emotions.…

What’s the Deal with Apology Dinners?

By Elisabeth LaMotte | May 4, 2021

I knew nothing about the viral apology dinner convo that was flying around the cybersphere until contacted by Huffington Post…

Our Team

Elisabeth Joy LaMotte LICSW: Founder & Executive Director
Sarah Spencer Northey LMFT: Clinical Supervisor & Content Editor
Michele Martini LMFT
Erin Katz LICSW
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