Substance Use

Pieces of a Woman

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 7, 2021

Vanessa Kirby’s performance in Pieces of a Woman is so raw and relatable that it can feel jarring to watch. Considering the trailer and the fact that her labor and delivery scene takes place almost immediately, it is not much of a spoiler to share that the film explores the impact of her loss of…

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The Color of Water

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 3, 2020

Throughout the COVID19 I notice that reading a good book is welcome diversion from the relentless news cycle. However, I also notice and hear from others that it helps to read books that quickly grab and absorb one’s attention. With this in mind, I decided to re-read James McBride’s “The Color of Water.” I first…

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Burn This

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 14, 2019

As a therapist, I am perpetually curious about what draws people into love. Relationships are the ingredients that create the recipes of my clients’ lives. And the dynamics of romantic love are an ongoing focus for many people in therapy. Landford Wilson’s Broadway play, Burn This, starring Keri Russell and Adam Driver is a story…

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The Witch Elm

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 21, 2019

There are many schools of psychology, and a significant thread that connects them all is the acknowledgment of a human tendency to repeat the past. Cognitive Theory explores learned thoughts while Behavioral Theory explores learned behaviors. Systems Theory suggests that if a dynamic or pattern is familiar, it feels more comfortable, so the security of…

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Beautiful Boy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 22, 2019

The film Beautiful Boy concludes with the statement in the closing credits that drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in Americans under age 50. Hardly a spoiler, this stressful statistic is the backdrop of the central question of film – why are so many young people getting hooked on drugs and dying…

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A Place for Us

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 6, 2019

When a relative cuts off from a family, the absence presents a conscious and unconscious heavy heartedness that is difficult to resolve. Interestingly, when a therapy client reveals that a relationship with a family member has been severed to the point that there is absolutely no communication, there are often many other cutoffs discovered throughout…

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A Star is Born

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 12, 2019

Can spouses gage one another’s mental health? Can therapists and metal health professionals rest assured that a client who appears to be functioning well is safe and stable? Can we take responsibility for the emotional well being of people we love and heal their psychological pain? Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s tremendous remake of the…

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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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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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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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