Mothers

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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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 Tale

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 31, 2018

There are many different schools of psychology that shape various strategies of clinicians practicing therapy. An interesting point of commonality is a shared acknowledgement of the significance of the past and a shared interest in how childhood experiences sculpt adult life experience. Cognitive theory explores learned thought processes. Behavioral theory emphasizes learned behaviors. Systems theory…

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Educated

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 26, 2018

Overcoming childhood trauma is a frequent focus for clients in therapy. When someone grows up in an abusive household, it is quite common that harmful dynamics feel normal and difficult to see or address, even as children grow and embark on adulthood. Many therapy clients ask questions like: “How can I get over my childhood?”…

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Little Fires Everywhere

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 9, 2018

Fans of Everything I Never Told You will relish the journey into Celeste Ng’s new novel, Little Fires Everywhere. Shaker Heights, Ohio (where Ng lived during part of her childhood) shapes a fitting backdrop for Ng’s tale about motherhood, family, secrets, coming-of-age and intimacy. The Richardsons present a glowing portrait of familial perfection. They reside…

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I, Tonya

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 11, 2018

The previews and early promotion of I, Tonya inspired memories about Tonya Harding and her scandalous role in the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan. I felt conflicted about revisiting that infamous incident and the popular cultural drama that followed. I assumed that I would enjoy learning more about the competitive world of figure skating, but…

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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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Lady Bird

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 31, 2017

Written and Directed by Greta Gerwig I doubt I can overstate my excitement when my sixteen year-old daughter mentioned she was eager to see the film Lady Bird with me. She was even willing to sit next to me in a theater, and open to spending a bit of time together before the show. (She…

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People, Places & Things

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 8, 2017

The slippery criteria that define substance abuse are notoriously difficult to distinguish in a client’s behavior. Sometimes the signs are obvious. But often, therapy clients hesitate to report the full extent of their usage. Practicing therapists must ask the right questions, usually more than once. I was trained to begin therapy asking several background inquiries…

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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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