Family

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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The Boys in the Boat

By Elisabeth LaMotte / June 15, 2018

“Every good rowing coach, in his own way, imports to his men the kind of self-discipline required to achieve the ultimate from mind, heart, and body. Which is why most ex-oarsmen will tell you they learned more fundamentally important lessons in the racing shell than in the classroom.” George Yeoman Pocock As a therapist in…

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The Tale

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 31, 2018

There are many different schools of psychology that shape various strategies of clinicians practicing therapy. An interesting point of commonality is a shared acknowledgement of the significance of the past and a shared interest in how childhood experiences sculpt adult life experience. Cognitive theory explores learned thought processes. Behavioral theory emphasizes learned behaviors. Systems theory…

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Educated

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 26, 2018

Overcoming childhood trauma is a frequent focus for clients in therapy. When someone grows up in an abusive household, it is quite common that harmful dynamics feel normal and difficult to see or address, even as children grow and embark on adulthood. Many therapy clients ask questions like: “How can I get over my childhood?”…

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