Books

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 decisions often illuminates insights about the present and the future. Honest examination in this mode is a template for therapeutic change. Let’s say a therapy client is working on a pattern of choosing unhealthy relationships.…

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Room

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 revisiting this memorable, haunting tale. I saw the 2015 film in theaters and sat riveted through Brie Larson’s masterful performance which won her academy award for best actress in a lead role. Given the emotional…

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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 two months prior to my surgery date in an attempt to mold my work/life balance into the most manageable place during the 3 to 6 month recovery period. Not since giving birth two decades ago…

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Oh William!

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 21, 2022

Lucy Barton, a relatable and compelling underdog admired by readers everywhere, is back for a third round in Elizabeth Strout’s magnificent continuation of a journey that began in a small New York City hospital room. Fans fell in love with Lucy reading the novel showcasing her name. My Name is Lucy Barton (2016) and the…

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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 be helpful if a client is actively abusing a substance and encourages clinicians to refer addicts to a substance abuse treatment program. Some therapists use a tough love approach and refuse to move beyond a…

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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 inspiring, liberating and pure. Kent Haruf captures the purity and ease of burgeoning romantic feelings in his final novel, Our Souls at Night. The novel is a quick, engaging read that explores the magic of…

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The Color of Water

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 3, 2020

Throughout the COVID19 I notice that reading a good book is welcome diversion from the relentless news cycle. However, I also notice and hear from others that it helps to read books that quickly grab and absorb one’s attention. With this in mind, I decided to re-read James McBride’s “The Color of Water.” I first…

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The Index of Self Destructive Acts

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 31, 2020

As Election Day nears, predictions are everywhere. Pundits posture early and often, citing polls, historical data and opinions. The urge to predict the future feels palpable. Most of my therapy clients (and my family and friends) express quarantine fatigue and a desire to fast-forward and discover the election’s outcome. Maybe the urge to predict the…

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Just Mercy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 6, 2020

In 1987, Walter “Johnny D” McMillan was arrested in Alabama for a murder he did not commit. He was at a fish fry for several hours during the time of the murder, and several witnesses vouched for this alibi at the time of the initial investigation. Nevertheless, McMillan wound up on death row, slated for…

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Adaptation

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 30, 2020

Ten weeks into quarantine, I am thinking a lot about the process of change. How will we get through the quarantine? What will life look like on the other side? Will I ever shake a colleague’s hand or hug a friend? I watch films for brief diversion and notice that scenes in restaurants, at parties…

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