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Infidelity

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 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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A Moveable Feast

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 12, 2018

The therapeutic benefits of writing have been touted and encouraged by clinicians for decades. Research continues to demonstrate that writing can improve mood and help alleviate depression. Newer research proposes that writing and then editing and revising a personal narrative can become a catalyst for individual change and increased levels of happiness. Reading Earnest Hemingway’s…

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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 Humans

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 23, 2018

Playing in DC at The Kennedy Center through January 28th! Each November, many therapy clients begin to plan for and fret over the upcoming holiday season. The holidays in general – and Thanksgiving in particular – represent a psychologically robust time. I sometime joke with clients that there’s a good reason Hollywood creates so many…

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Lost in Translation

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 16, 2017

“Emotional affairs” are complicated, controversial and difficult to define. When a married person begins developing strong feelings for a possible romantic partner who is not their spouse, the emotional pull may be subtle at first and often accompanied by feelings of growth and vitality. Interestingly, sometimes the spouse may notice a romantic dimension of the…

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Anything Is Possible

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 5, 2017

Elizabeth Stroud’s 2017 follow-up to “My Name is Lucy Barton” stands alone as an engaging, page-turning tale about how two people can have vastly different experiences of the same relationship. A group of character studies follows the same characters that played roles in “My Name is Lucy Barton”. This time around, their stories are excavated…

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Tender is the Night

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 21, 2017

Deepak Chopra famously said: “When you blame and criticize others, you are avoiding some truth about yourself.” The tendency to focus on the flaws of others in order to deny scary or painful dimensions of the self comes up often in therapy. Sigmund Freud described this process as projective identification. Projective identification — often called…

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