Work & Career

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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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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Wizard of Lies

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 13, 2017

Family Systems theory is a school of psychology through which individual functioning is best understood in the context of their most intimate relationships. This “systemic” perspective emphasizes how each individual is shaped by the culture of their “family of origin”. (Family of Origin refers to the family in which we were raised.) The theory focuses…

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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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Hillbilly Elegy

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 18, 2017

“I don’t believe in epiphanies. I don’t believe in transformative moments, as transformation is harder than a moment. I’ve seen far too many people awash in a genuine desire to change only to lose their mettle when they realized just how difficult change actually is.” What factors facilitate authentic change? And what traits of character…

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Blink

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 2, 2017

Instincts are important. Instincts guide our decisions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Practicing as a therapist, I would be lost without my instincts. Solid psychotherapy must be grounded in theory, but without a willingness to also use instincts, the theory can fall flat. I use my instincts working with therapy clients. And the clinical work often…

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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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Sing Street

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 21, 2017

Sublimation is a freudian concept defined as the conversion of an unacceptable impulse or desire into an acceptable and even desirable form of expression. Unacceptable impulses are expected reactions to painful and traumatic experiences and are often discussed during the process of therapy. Director John Carney’s 2016 musical coming-of-age film Sing Street celebrates how song-writing…

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