DC Counseling & Psychotherapy Center

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, we suggest books, films, web sites and articles that are tailored to the needs and interests of each client. Many clients identify with characters in books and films, and describe how their awareness of these resources helps them realize that they are not alone and their problems and are solvable.

Elisabeth Joy LaMotte
Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, LICSW, MSW, is the founder of the Center.  She is a licensed independent clinical social worker and an individual, couples, family and group psychotherapist. She has been in private practice since 2000, and has over 20 years of experience in the social work field. Her approach to therapy is focused and goal-oriented, and her personality is kind, empathetic and direct. Elisabeth is honored to serve as a member of the Board of Overseers of her graduate school, The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the National Association of Social  Workers (NASW) and the American  Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). She has met rigorous training, clinical and education standards to  become designated as an AAMFT approved supervisor. She currently supervises AAMFT candidates for clinical membership. She is a frequent blogger for the Huffington Post and YourTango and she reviews books for The Readers Exchange.  Her book, Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce: Five Steps to a Happy Relationship, a self-help book for adults with divorced parents, was a finalist in the 2008 National Best Book  Awards in the relationship category. Out of over 15,000 applicants, Elisabeth was one of fewer than 50 finalists in Good Morning America’s 2010 Guru Search. In 1995, Elisabeth received a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, now named the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP-2). She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, she received a post-graduate certificate in couples, family and sex therapy from the Penn Council for Relationships, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) in Washington DC. Her work has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapy, and she has written op-ed columns for The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Tribune. She has taught graduate level courses at the Virginia Commonwealth University Graduate School of Social Work. She was recently interviewed by Washingtonian for an article about couples and exercise. She was named one of the 11 Best Relationship Therapists of 2014, by DatingAdvice.com. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and two children. She is active in her community, serving as a member of the Advisory Board of THEARC. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Little Folks School from Spring of 2005- Spring 2013 and was co-chair of the  Washington Ballet's 2010 Nutcracker Tea, and as Family Chair of the 2011 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Niki Novak
Jennifer “Niki” Novak, LMFT, LPC is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed professional counselor.  She is passionate about supporting people in various stages of their lives.  She was honored to accept Mayor Bowser’s recent appointment as one of three Commissioners on the DC Board of Marriage and Family Therapy for the District of Columbia.  A leader in her field, Niki offers individual, couples, and sex therapy, and has experience treating a wide range of psychological concerns.  Niki has been an essential collaborator in the founding and development of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center.   She also offers training, program evaluation, and organizational management consultation.  Previously the Director of Evidence-Based Practices at Green Door Behavioral Health, Niki also worked for many years at Pathways to Housing DC, first as a team leader providing intensive therapy, supervision, and then as Director of Training and Quality Improvement.   Through years of experience within DC’s community mental health system, Niki has developed into a flexible and creative practitioner who blends theoretical training in marriage and family therapy into everyday practice. Niki uses an integrated approach including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, motivational interviewing, and trauma-informed practices. Niki graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a Master's degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Marriage in Family therapy, and from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She is a clinical fellow member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).  Niki sees clients Tuesday - Friday at our Capitol Hill location, and continues to provide office hours on site at Pathways.  Niki has begun the rigorous process of training to become an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.  For clients who give written consent, Niki is supervised by Elisabeth. One advantage to working with a therapist who is supervised is that two clinicians are focused on your progress and working together with the joint goal that your experience in therapy be as productive as possible.

Sarah Spencer Northey
Sarah Spencer Northey, “Spencer,” is a bilingual (Spanish and English) Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT); as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Spencer decided to become a relationship therapist based on the belief that strong and loving relationships are the foundation for a more peaceful and conscientious world. As a Drama/Psychology double major turned therapist, she has found that good relationships are like good theater: they require a sound balance of “Dionysian Ecstasy and Apollonian Rationale.” The principles she uses in relational work recognize emotional and rational needs as equally essential in a healthy relationship. Her respect for this balance, and use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, has not only transformed the relationships of her clients, but has transformed her own relationships as well. Prior to her Master’s education, Spencer spent a year observing relationship exchanges as a behavior coder for the Center for Developmental Science at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She then spent another year working as a residential treatment counselor in a group home for at-risk youth, spending up to 16 hours a day at times as primary caretaker and disciplinarian to upset teenagers. These pre-masters experiences sharpened and toughened her for success as an individual and relationship therapist. Since graduating from the distinguished Couple and Family Therapy program at The University of Maryland, College Park over 5 years ago, Spencer has seen hundreds of clients grow and recover through her work as a licensed relationship therapist in both DC and Maryland. She is currently on staff at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Health, serving clients from a diverse array of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Erin Katz
Erin Katz, LICSW, MSW is licensed independent clinical social worker and an individual psychotherapist. Her work focuses on loss, grief, relationship changes and medical adversity. Erin uses a dynamic and integrated approach to treatment pulling from an array of techniques ranging from mindfulness to CBT to moving meditations. Erin recently accepted a part-time appointment in the College of Dentistry at Howard University. She helps emerging professionals improve chair-side manner through teaching Behavioral Dentistry within the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry. Previously, she provided curriculum consulting for the behavioral science course offerings for dental students and residents. Erin is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). She received her Master's Degree in Social Work at the University of Michigan; she holds a B.S. in Anthropology and Bioethics. Prior to moving to DC, Erin worked as a Clinical Social Worker at The University of Michigan Hospital. During her tenure at the hospital she had the privilege of guest lecturing in the School of Social Work and School of Medicine. She presented cases before the hospital's Ethics Committee and led research that was later published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure. Until recently, Erin worked for the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, a legal advocacy organization providing pro-bono representation to survivors of domestic violence. She was the sole clinician on staff, providing support to survivors as they navigated their custody, divorce, and civil protection order cases. Erin sits as a member of the advisory board for The Anchor Fund, a DC based nonprofit focusing on ending the cycle of abuse through empowerment. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and son.

Susan Driscoll
Susan Driscoll is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern, who entered the field with an interest in helping couples, families, and individuals develop their inherent strengths to create positive and lasting change in their lives. She will bring a compassionate, empathic, and flexible approach to each of her clients. In addition to seeing couples and individuals, Susan would welcome an opportunity to work with children and adolescents. She has completed the rigorous academic portion of her Master’s program, has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and was one of two students appointed to the Academic Advisory Counsel at Capella University. She will be supervised by Niki, providing the advantage of bringing the perspective of two clinicians who are jointly committed to the progress and productive therapy experience of each client. Susan’s interest in trauma is reflected by her volunteer work on the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network Hotline (RAINN). She has been privileged to participate in the positive transformation of families as a volunteer facilitator for the Fairfax County Nurturing Parenting Education Program. Her involvement in this program has helped to reinforce Susan’s belief in the way in which small steps can help to create larger changes. She understands the ways in which life events can impact the functioning of individuals and families and believes that she can help her clients develop resilience in the face of adversity. She has an interest in aiding clients with the emotional challenges that medical conditions can produce, and her experience as a medical librarian for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has provided her with a foundation in evaluating evidence-based research. This knowledge will help her to bring the highest quality of service to her clients.