Intimacy & Commitment

Shadowlands

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 3, 2017

Love and connection drive the human experience. But balancing separateness and togetherness can feel much more challenging than we are socialized to expect. This balancing act – threading the needle between existing as a separate self while developing intimacy with another — is a frequent conversation topic in therapy. When falling in love generates anxiety,…

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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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The Big Sick

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 27, 2017

Breakups can be heartbreaking, traumatic and disorienting. Therapists are intimately familiar with breakups, because a relationship’s demise is often the catalyst for therapy. A surprising outcome of certain breakups is that sometimes, they ultimately save the relationship. Director Michael Showalter’s hilariously raw romantic comedy, The Big Sick, illustrates a compelling roadmap to the ways in…

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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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Paterson

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 7, 2017

In her January, 2015, New York Times article Writing Your Way To Happiness, Tara-Parker Pope cites a plethora of research demonstrating that the act of writing can improve mood disorders, reduce depression, and even improve outcomes for cancer patients. Journaling is among the therapeutic writing strategies discussed, and journaling is a long-standing tool encouraged by…

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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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Fences

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 17, 2017

Discovering infidelity is a common reason that couples seek therapy. Infidelity is much more frequent than one might expect, and the popular culture tends to equate infidelity with a loveless or passionless marriage. In my work as a couples therapist, I often discover marriages that have experienced infidelity but that clash with this popular conception.…

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Passengers

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 21, 2017

Relocation is an interesting psychological process. My experience as a therapist is shaped by geography, and practicing in DC means that relocation is a recurring theme. A typical day of office hours might include sessions with clients from the Middle East, Europe, the Midwest as well as the South. Some of my clients grew up…

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La La Land

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 26, 2016

Adjusting to breakups, navigating work-life balance, managing anxiety and determining whether to remain in a current romantic relationship are some common urban stressors that lead people to therapy. Writer and director Damien Chazelle’s lyrical love story La La Land explores these psychologically complex struggles with compassion and integrity. Nominated for 7 Golden Globes, La La…

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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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