Coming of Age

Dear Evan Hansen

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 10, 2017

Parents of teenagers are bound to struggle to communicate and connect with their kids. It’s hard enough to lure a teen out of their bedroom, let alone to convince them to engage in an authentic conversation. One strategy to connect with teens is to create scenarios that set the stage for conversation. Driving to and…

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Sing Street

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 21, 2017

Sublimation is a freudian concept defined as the conversion of an unacceptable impulse or desire into an acceptable and even desirable form of expression. Unacceptable impulses are expected reactions to painful and traumatic experiences and are often discussed during the process of therapy. Director John Carney’s 2016 musical coming-of-age film Sing Street celebrates how song-writing…

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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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Dancer

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 17, 2016

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche Dancer, Director Steven Cantor’s intense documentary about the ballet’s “bad boy” Sergei Polunin hands viewers a backstage pass into the inspiring, beautiful and unforgiving world of classical ballet. Candid interviews, home movies, and news clips are pieced together to follow…

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Captain Fantastic

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 24, 2016

Zooming through the fast-paced lifestyle so many DC dwellers live today, it is not uncommon to discuss (in therapy or elsewhere) the desire to step away from it all and check out.   Captain Fantastic paints a cinematic portrait of a passionate, deliberate life off the grid in the Pacific Northwest.  Viggo Mortensen is utterly…

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Brooklyn

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 19, 2016

Self-esteem is a common and complicated theme in psychotherapy.   Underpinning many of the catalysts that bring people to therapy is an underlying lack of adequate self-esteem.  One way to think about increasing self-esteem is to focus on a person’s sense of themselves and subsequent ability to exist and operate in the world as a…

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Francis Ha

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 16, 2015

Director: Noah Baumbach Writers: Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig With so many engaging, independent women living the single life in New York and in cities everywhere, it’s surprising there aren’t more authentic films about the single woman’s experience.  Sure, Sex and the City was a great fit for my cohort, and now Girls continues to…

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The Art of Fielding

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 24, 2015

The pursuit of meaningful work is a common topic in therapy.  Especially in a town like Washington, DC, where the question “What do you do?” is an unfortunately mandatory opener in most social settings.  The answer to this question can provoke anxiety and self-doubt, especially among those who are facing a professional fork in the…

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Mistress America

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 2, 2015

The development of a solid sense of one’s self is often the goal of psychotherapy.  When therapy clients in their late teens, twenties or thirties seek therapy describing debilitating anxiety, depression or general dissatisfaction with their lives, these symptoms can often resolve when the client embraces the daunting task of figuring out who they are…

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 19, 2015

Teenage romantic relationships are formative experiences that can be especially difficult to capture on film.  Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ novel, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl captures the gritty and evasive sphere inhabited by teenagers and draws convincing, memorable performances.  Thomas Mann plays Greg (“me”), a moody, self-deprecating teen who spends his spare…

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