Trauma

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…

Read More

An American Marriage

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 21, 2019

Therapists are always asking about the intricacies of marriage, and so we learn a lot about our clients’ personal lives. But what actually happens within the dome of an intimate married life is ultimately private. Tayari Jones’s beautiful novel, An American Marriage, offers a layered exploration of the inner emotional lives of a married couple,…

Read More

Come From Away

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 8, 2018

Each summer, as September approaches, I find myself remembering the morning of September 11, 2001. I was seeing a therapy client in my office on Washington Circle in Northwest DC. My office sat on one side of the circle, and GW Hospital sat directly across. I could easily see the hospital from my office window.…

Read More

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…

Read More

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?”…

Read More

All the Money in the World

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 14, 2018

Clients in therapy describe a variety of life stressors. In a place as expensive as Washington, D.C., it is understandable that money surfaces as a frequent source of tension and anxiety. Therapy clients describe the sensation of feeling like there’s never enough money to create a sense of financial security. Interestingly, some therapy clients notice…

Read More

Wind River

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 19, 2018

If either of my teenage daughters suggest to watch a movie with me, I eagerly agree. (A bit too eagerly, they would say.) My sixteen year old and I missed Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River in theaters, and we both enjoy a good murder mystery, especially if a strong female detective is featured. As a therapist…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Subscribe

Name *

Email *

Search

Recent Posts

Categories

Archives