Fathers

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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A Star is Born

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 12, 2019

Can spouses gage one another’s mental health? Can therapists and metal health professionals rest assured that a client who appears to be functioning well is safe and stable? Can we take responsibility for the emotional well being of people we love and heal their psychological pain? Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s tremendous remake of the…

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An American Marriage

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 21, 2019

Therapists are always asking about the intricacies of marriage, and so we learn a lot about our clients’ personal lives. But what actually happens within the dome of an intimate married life is ultimately private. Tayari Jones’s beautiful novel, An American Marriage, offers a layered exploration of the inner emotional lives of a married 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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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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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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Call Me By Your Name

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 2, 2018

Young love, summer romance, seduction and sensuality. Luca Guadanigno’s 2017 sumptuous film, Call Me By Your Name, features every magnificent ingredient baked into a delicious and memorable love story. Each summer, Elio’s father (an archaeology professor) hires a research assistant to work and live with the family. When the dashing and entitled Oliver (Armie Hammer)…

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All the Money in the World

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 14, 2018

Clients in therapy describe a variety of life stressors. In a place as expensive as Washington, D.C., it is understandable that money surfaces as a frequent source of tension and anxiety. Therapy clients describe the sensation of feeling like there’s never enough money to create a sense of financial security. Interestingly, some therapy clients notice…

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