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, more fulfilling 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


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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.


We offer day-long group therapy seminars a few times a year. The next group will be scheduled in the spring. To learn more, click the button below.


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:

Niki recently reached the professional milestone of becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. The standards for this designation require several years of hard work and hundreds of hours of clinical and supervisory experience.


We are pleased to announce that Erin Katz joined our practice. She sees clients at our Palisades location on Thursdays and on Capitol Hill on Mondays. To learn more about Erin, visit the about tab for a full bio.

In the News...

In January 2018, 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.

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 and 2017, Elisabeth was honored to have the opportunity to present strategies for this approach at the annual conference of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. She looks forward to presenting again later this month.

Elisabeth is a featured expert on Huffington Post’s new newsletter, The Good Life. Each week, the Thursday edition answers reader’s questions about love and relationships.  To sign up, click here.

In February 2018, Elisabeth discussed the dynamics of emotional labor with Huffington Post Relationships. In November 2017, Elisabeth was interviewed by Huffington Post Weddings to discuss what it means to re-locate for love and ways to build a meaningful Thanksgiving. In October, Elisabeth was interviewed for an article on, the popular meditation site, discussing strategies for raising self-esteem. In September, Elisabeth was quoted in The Washington Post discussing couples who adopt pets together and in Huffington Post about signs that you are in a relationship with an unsuitable partner. She also was interviewed by Cosmopolitan Magazine in Japan about love and intimacy in romantic relationships. In August, Elisabeth was interviewed by Dow Jones for Money-ish to discuss marriages with a significant age difference, and she was interviewed by Huffington Post about the signs that your spouse may be having an emotional affair. 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

Learn More About Our Approach

Individual Therapy, Couples Therapy, Group Therapy