Books

Little Fires Everywhere

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 9, 2018

Fans of Everything I Never Told You will relish the journey into Celeste Ng’s new novel, Little Fires Everywhere. Shaker Heights, Ohio (where Ng lived during part of her childhood) shapes a fitting backdrop for Ng’s tale about motherhood, family, secrets, coming-of-age and intimacy. The Richardsons present a glowing portrait of familial perfection. They reside…

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Anything Is Possible

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 5, 2017

Elizabeth Stroud’s 2017 follow-up to “My Name is Lucy Barton” stands alone as an engaging, page-turning tale about how two people can have vastly different experiences of the same relationship. A group of character studies follows the same characters that played roles in “My Name is Lucy Barton”. This time around, their stories are excavated…

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My Name is Lucy Barton

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 21, 2017

Elizabeth Stroud’s 2016 best-selling novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, examines the literary challenge of capturing an internal emotional experience and translating it to tell a meaningful story. The novel begins from Lucy’s hospital bed in Manhattan where she is battling a substantial but undiagnosed illness. Lucy’s husband is struggling to balance work, caring for…

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Tender is the Night

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 21, 2017

Deepak Chopra famously said: “When you blame and criticize others, you are avoiding some truth about yourself.” The tendency to focus on the flaws of others in order to deny scary or painful dimensions of the self comes up often in therapy. Sigmund Freud described this process as projective identification. Projective identification — often called…

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Hillbilly Elegy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 18, 2017

“I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is.” What factors facilitate authentic change? And what traits of character…

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Blink

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 2, 2017

Instincts are important. Instincts guide our decisions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Practicing as a therapist, I would be lost without my instincts. Solid psychotherapy must be grounded in theory, but without a willingness to also use instincts, the theory can fall flat. I use my instincts working with therapy clients. And the clinical work often…

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The Price

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 15, 2017

Sibling relationships are frequently the longest intimate relationship of a person’s life. Brothers and sisters share memories about each other’s childhoods, and are likely to remember each other’s past from common and relatable vantage points. Parents, understandably, are prone to remember their children’s past from a more mature but inherently different viewpoint. As a result,…

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Everything I Never Told You

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 14, 2016

Celeste Ng’s 2014 debut novel about a Chinese-American family coping with the excruciating aftermath of a teenager’s death is as absorbing as it is humbling. It is absorbing due to its complex and realistic characters, each with their own layers and secrets and struggles related to the middle daughter, Lydia’s, mysterious disappearance and death. And…

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Fates and Furies

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 22, 2016

Lauren Groff Riverhead Books, 2015 391 pages When couples in therapy describe their relationship challenges, the delicate act of balancing separateness and togetherness surfaces as a recurring theme.  Lauren Groff’s provocative 2015 novel, Fates and Furies, injects this theme with steroids and invites readers into a provocative narrative exploring the internal emotional worlds of two…

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This Naked Mind; Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 10, 2016

Annie Grace opens her 2015 self-help book about alcohol use by asking a provocative question: “What if, by reversing years of unconscious conditioning, you could return to the perspective of a non-drinker?” Grace proceeds to talk readers through her strategy to return to a mental state where the desire for a drink disappears.  She blends…

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