Love

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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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 Visitor

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 21, 2017

Grieving the loss of a spouse or immediate family member can involve an unpredictable journey. Researcher Elisabeth Kubler Ross categorized the expected stages of the grieving process — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – but people move through these stages in their own way, and sometimes in an unexpected sequence. One of the most common…

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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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My Name is Lucy Barton

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 21, 2017

Elizabeth Stroud’s 2016 best-selling novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, examines the literary challenge of capturing an internal emotional experience and translating it to tell a meaningful story. The novel begins from Lucy’s hospital bed in Manhattan where she is battling a substantial but undiagnosed illness. Lucy’s husband is struggling to balance work, caring for…

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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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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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