Family

The Witch Elm

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 21, 2019

There are many schools of psychology, and a significant thread that connects them all is the acknowledgment of a human tendency to repeat the past. Cognitive Theory explores learned thoughts while Behavioral Theory explores learned behaviors. Systems Theory suggests that if a dynamic or pattern is familiar, it feels more comfortable, so the security of…

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Beautiful Boy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 22, 2019

The film Beautiful Boy concludes with the statement in the closing credits that drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in Americans under age 50. Hardly a spoiler, this stressful statistic is the backdrop of the central question of film – why are so many young people getting hooked on drugs and dying…

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A Place for Us

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 6, 2019

When a relative cuts off from a family, the absence presents a conscious and unconscious heavy heartedness that is difficult to resolve. Interestingly, when a therapy client reveals that a relationship with a family member has been severed to the point that there is absolutely no communication, there are often many other cutoffs discovered throughout…

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True West

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 20, 2019

Most adult clients in therapy express a desire to improve their relationships. A critical facet of developing more meaningful adult bonds involves understanding formative childhood experiences with parents and siblings. It surprises me how often it surprises my therapy clients when we discuss complicated sibling roles and relations, and I voice my belief that all…

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Crazy Rich Asians

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 27, 2018

Rachel Chu, a game theory economics professor and first generation Chinese American, is an easy heroine to admire. When Crazy Rich Asians opens, Rachel is rocking her lecture that wraps up with a slick conclusion as her boyfriend, Nick, picks her up for dinner. At the chic restaurant, Rachel and Nick lean toward each other…

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The Leisure Seeker

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 20, 2018

Research demonstrates that engaged and newly married couples that watch films together about marriage and discuss the films afterwards are able to lower the likelihood of divorce to an extent that is as effective as participating in short-term couples therapy. Most films about marriage focus on the entertaining romantic tension that builds until a couple…

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Tully

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 24, 2018

Hormones fluctuate throughout a woman’s pregnancy, and the immediate aftermath of delivery leads many mothers on the hormone-infused emotional roller coaster commonly known as post-partum depression. Having a baby is so uncivilized and consuming that many mothers do not realize that they are experiencing a delivery-induced depressive episode until it either subsides or reaches a…

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The Wife

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 10, 2018

Bjorn Runge’s cinematic adaptation based on Meg Wolitzer’s popular best-selling novel, The Wife, opens with a cozy snapshot of marital intimacy. Celebrated author Joseph Castelman (Jonathan Pryce) and his down-to-earth wife Joan (Glenn Close) are comfortably situated in their bedroom when Joseph receives the much anticipated call informing him that he has been selected to…

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The Band’s Visit

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 27, 2018

I find it helpful to ask clients in the early stage of therapy to pay attention to where they notice the experience of being in therapy coming up when they are not in my office. The most common response I hear sounds something like this: “It’s hard to describe a concrete difference, but in the…

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The Stories We Tell

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 13, 2018

Family secrets are often discussed in therapy. The secret is rarely a reason that an individual or a couple initiates therapy. But, if a therapist takes a complete family history, certain secrets or unanswered questions from the past often surface. And these secrets often relate to present challenges and can be useful points of exploration…

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