Love

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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Their Finest

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 29, 2017

The mysteries of attraction and the selection of romantic partners are frequent focal points of discussion during individual therapy. If you have a pattern of choosing unsuitable or unavailable romantic partners, it is important to figure out why you are making substandard choices, especially if you want to experience more fulfilling relationships. It is also…

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Hillbilly Elegy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 18, 2017

“I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is.” What factors facilitate authentic change? And what traits of character…

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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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Dear Evan Hansen

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 10, 2017

Parents of teenagers are bound to struggle to communicate and connect with their kids. It’s hard enough to lure a teen out of their bedroom, let alone to convince them to engage in an authentic conversation. One strategy to connect with teens is to create scenarios that set the stage for conversation. Driving to and…

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Sing Street

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 21, 2017

Sublimation is a freudian concept defined as the conversion of an unacceptable impulse or desire into an acceptable and even desirable form of expression. Unacceptable impulses are expected reactions to painful and traumatic experiences and are often discussed during the process of therapy. Director John Carney’s 2016 musical coming-of-age film Sing Street celebrates how song-writing…

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Hidden Figures

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 17, 2017

Romance novels, films, television and advertising socalize women to prioritize becoming part of a romantic union. Breakups, new romances, engagements and divorce are among the relationship developments that might inspire the urge to reach out to a therapist. Any dramatic shift in romantic relationship status can spark the onset of sudden symptoms, most notably anxiety…

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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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