Fathers

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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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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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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Amy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 13, 2015

During post-graduate training in couples, family and sex therapy, I was taught the importance of asking new clients about alcohol and substance use during the first session.  There is a controversial but widely accepted understanding in the therapeutic field that if someone is actively abusing a substance, traditional psychotherapy will have limited benefit unless a…

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The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 19, 2015

Author: Jeff Hobbs Scribner, 2014, 416 pages College life is under a microscope of of significant recent media attention.  The massive promotion surrounding Frank Bruni’s new book “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be:  An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania” makes a convincing case that an Ivy League education is not necessarily in…

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Boyhood

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 28, 2014

Writer and Director Richard Linklater’s unprecedented film Boyhood breaks new cinematic ground by employing an eleven year filming schedule beginning in May, 2002 and continuing through October, 2013. By filming for a few days each year, Linklater’s characters authentically age in concert with his storyline.  Many folks aware of this cinematic masterpiece admit that the…

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Chef

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 16, 2014

In a society that emphasizes internet sensations, the joys of finding meaningful work can take a backseat to the celebration of viral videos and social media phenomenons.  Jon Favreau’s 2014 comedy Chef explores what it means to choose to pursue a passion for the sake of the work itself, rather than for the praise or…

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Saving Mr. Banks

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 27, 2014

125 minutes, Directed by John Lee Hancock, 2013 When I sat down last night to watch Saving Mr. Banks with my family, my expectations were modest at best.  I felt pleased to find a rare PG rating without the 13 attached, and viewed our selection as an appropriate, child-oriented, family compromise.  We have always appreciated…

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The Lowland (2013)

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 8, 2013

Exploring sibling relationships is often an important dimension of the therapeutic process. Understanding the dynamics between siblings sheds light on one’s historical roles in the family.  Understanding family roles from childhood can be key to understanding current patterns in romantic, professional and social relationships.   Jhumpa Lahiri’s riveting new book, “The Lowland”, begins with a beautiful narrative…

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Good Will Hunting

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 9, 2013

GOOD WILL HUNTING  (1997) 126 minutes, directed by Gus Van Sant  Many people enter therapy because they are struggling to make a decision about commitment.  Sometimes, deciding to commit to a romantic partner can produce tremendous anxiety, especially for those who have not been exposed to healthy, intimate relationships. Directed by Gus Van Sant, Good Will…

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