Family Secrets

Next to Normal

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 18, 2020

“Is that normal?” People in therapy commonly describe a particular thought, feeling or behavior in vivid detail, and then ask whether what they are describing is “normal”. Is it “normal” to scroll through photo after photo of your ex even if you broke up months ago? Is it “normal” to have so many dreams about…

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Medea

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 21, 2020

Simon Stone’s jolting modern day version of the classic Euripides tale Medea was so intense, it took weeks for me to gather my thoughts. This steamy pairing of real life couple Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale premiered in January at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and runs through March 8th. For one thing, it…

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Parasite

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 10, 2020

Therapy is about discovering hidden truths lingering beneath the surface. Clients engaged in the therapeutic process excavate complicated or adverse circumstances and ideally discover new insights and perspectives that help them improve their current relationships or choose new ones if necessary. Many schools of therapy gently (or directly) ask strategic questions to challenge false impressions…

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Machines Like Me

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 25, 2019

The impact of technology on relationships is a recurring theme in therapy. Our collective addiction to screens is a constant distraction and barrier to intimacy. Couples routinely fight about how much time their significant other spends looking at a phone or checking social media or excessively streaming. But technology also brings people together, whether through…

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Burn This

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 14, 2019

As a therapist, I am perpetually curious about what draws people into love. Relationships are the ingredients that create the recipes of my clients’ lives. And the dynamics of romantic love are an ongoing focus for many people in therapy. Landford Wilson’s Broadway play, Burn This, starring Keri Russell and Adam Driver is a story…

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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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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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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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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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