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Question of the Month

How Should I Deal with a Partner Who Always Needs to have the Last Word?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 2, 2019

Adults who cannot drop a conversation without inserting the last word usually do not have a clear but rather a fragmented sense of self. They tend to experience significant anxiety and attempt to manage their stress by being “right” and winning every argument. They are not sufficiently grounded in their identity and tend to define…

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Why is Vulnerability so Important and Why do so Many People Struggle with it?

By Spencer Northey / November 1, 2019

Last week, Huffington Post Relationships ran a wonderful piece about vulnerability. Spencer Northey was one of the quoted experts and here’s a more thorough look at her thoughts on the topic: 1. Why is vulnerability an important quality in a relationship? Vulnerability means putting yourself out there for connection. It means being seen and appreciated…

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What’s the Difference between Talking with a Shrink and Talking with a Friend?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 11, 2019

Atlantic Monthly reporter Olga Khazan reached out last month to discuss what it is like to practice therapy in Washington, DC. She was curious about what it means to work in a city where so many professionals have top secret security clearance or work in fields like politics and reporting where it can be complicated…

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What Do Vacations and Affairs Have in Common?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 2, 2019

Therapy clients don’t spend a lot of time talking about how relaxed they feel. Except in mid-August when many DC dwellers return from vacations. I heard the words calm, chill and relaxed more often this week than I have all year. Interestingly, the relaxation that transpires following summer holidays seems more authentic than the sensations…

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What Are Some Strategies for Planning a Wedding if the Bride or Groom’s Parent is no Longer Living?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 3, 2019

From a psychological perspective, marriage is , in part, about separation from one’s family. It’s about making your partner your number one most important person. For most people, up until the point of engagement, one or both parents fill that role. This transition can feel incomplete when a fiancé and a beloved parent have never…

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What Fights are Common During the First Year of Marriage?

By Spencer Northey / July 4, 2019

1. What goes where? Whether a couple has lived together for years or is cohabiting for the first time, after a wedding there is bound to be some restructuring of the space. Couples living together for the first time may have some major projects to undertake as they merge spaces together. Couples who have lived…

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What’s the difference between ghosting and cloaking?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 1, 2019

A colleague recently shared this video posted by the dating app user who coined the term “cloaking” and asked for commentary. While the jilted dater shares an honest, vulnerable dating vignette and helps other dating app users feel less alone, what seems most noteworthy about her experience is how common it has become to experience…

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What are some Noteworthy Qualities of Lasting Relationships?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 1, 2019

When Huffington Post Relationships reached out with this question, Spencer made some useful observations: Planned check-ins: Whether it’s daily, weekly, or annually – and ideally all three in some capacity – couples who are in it for the long and happy haul make a habit of checking in as needed and also as planned. Planned…

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How Do I Address My Concerns About How Much My Partner is Working?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 2, 2019

This question is inspired by an interview with Huffington Post Relationships. In DC, where I practice therapy, the first question people ask one another is “what do you do?” Work is a defining feature and many people are used to working long hours and structuring a family life around consuming professional obligations. Marital tension about…

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What Strategies can be Helpful During a Breakup?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 1, 2019

When Huffington Post Relationships reached out to ask about tips for getting through a breakup, Spencer and Elisabeth both weighed in: SPENCER’S TIPS: It’s okay to be the one who is hurting more: First of all, it’s not a comparison game. And in many breakups both parties are experiencing similar intensities of hurt, though they…

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