Marriage

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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Force Majeure

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 15, 2017

Family vacations represent an important opportunity to reconnect, recharge and step away from the constant demands of daily life. Families look forward to family vacations and invest in them both financially and emotionally. Family vacations hold the promise of unfolding as some of the happiest memories for parents and children alike. But sometimes these holidays…

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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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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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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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The Price

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 15, 2017

Sibling relationships are frequently the longest intimate relationship of a person’s life. Brothers and sisters share memories about each other’s childhoods, and are likely to remember each other’s past from common and relatable vantage points. Parents, understandably, are prone to remember their children’s past from a more mature but inherently different viewpoint. As a result,…

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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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