UPDATE on COVID-19 Response:

Spencer is working virtually for the foreseeable future.  She is licensed in DC and Maryland, so clients must be located in either DC or Maryland at the time of the virtual session.  Elisabeth is meeting with clients in person or virtually.  She is licensed in DC so if sessions are virtual, the client must be in DC at the time of the session.


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 honor 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.

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...


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.  For her first NASW Social Work Talks podcast interview, she spoke with Dr. Ann Steiner about why a Therapist Professional Will is so important!

In July, Spencer spoke with Huffington Post and gave thoughtful commentary about patterns rarely seen in healthy relationships and about working through marital challenges.  In May, Elisabeth published and article about evidence-based therapy in NASW's private practice Section Connection article.  April, Spencer discussed marriage choices with Huffington Post.  In March, Spencer and Elisabeth both spoke with Huffington Post about the emotional impact of conflict in Ukraine.  Elisabeth also spoke with WFLA in Tampa about fidelity and cushioning one romantic relationship with the next.  February and March, Spencer gave compelling commentary to Huffington Post and then to Care.com about the concept of "weaponized incompetence".  She also spoke with Huffington Post about the signs that a friendship is toxic.  In November, Spencer spoke with Huffington Post about Taylor Swift's amazing new version of All Too Well and 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 also spoke with Huffington Post about the importance of marital partnership when it comes to household chores.  During COVID this has been an especially challenging relationship issue.

Check out Elisabeth's podcast with Thomas Westenholz of Zensensa about love and relationships 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.

A comprehensive archive of publications and commentary appears on our media page.

Latest Posts

Cinematherapy/Bibliotherapy Blog

The Midnight Library

By Elisabeth LaMotte | September 6, 2022

Engaging in therapy, it is quite common to look back on past choices and scan for patterns. Reflecting on past…


By Elisabeth LaMotte | August 9, 2022

When my book club selected Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel, Room, for our monthly read, I was not too psyched about…

Run Towards the Danger

By Elisabeth LaMotte | May 26, 2022

Practically speaking, preparing for foot surgery feels surprisingly like preparing to have a baby. I stopped taking new therapy clients…

Therapy Jam Sessions

Emotional Flooding and How to Identify “Monster” Thoughts

By Spencer Northey | October 22, 2022

I was originally inspired to create this blog when I noticed how much certain songs connect and overlap with the…

La Vida Es Un Carnival

By Spencer Northey | October 13, 2022

  Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! As part of the celebration, I am reflecting on Celia Cruz’s salsa classic, La Vida…

“Bring Me to Life” Without the Yelling Man

By Spencer Northey | July 14, 2022

“Bring Me to Life” is one of my favorite karaoke songs. I don’t think I am alone in this. It…

Questions of the Month

Should You Stay in a So-So Marriage?

By Elisabeth LaMotte | July 19, 2022

Spencer recently spoke with Huffington Post about the controversy sparked by this New York Times opinion piece: I Married the…

What Does it Mean to Commit to Your Second Choice?

By Elisabeth LaMotte | June 13, 2022

Spencer recently spoke with Huffington Post for an article about committing to one’s “second-choice”. Below is some interesting Q &…

Why Do Some People Move Immediately From One Relationship Into The Next?

By Elisabeth LaMotte | May 13, 2022

We all know people who seem to need to be in a romantic relationship no matter what. The short answer…

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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