therapy

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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How can I scale back all of this emotional labor?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 3, 2018

Tension about the imbalance of emotional labor in heterosexual marriage has been an ongoing conversation topic in my therapy practice for decades. By emotional labor, most female clients are referring to the emotions they experience related to an unfair balance of physical or mental labor associated with managing a household. Women experience a strong aversion…

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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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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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The Price

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 15, 2017

Sibling relationships are frequently the longest intimate relationship of a person’s life. Brothers and sisters share memories about each other’s childhoods, and are likely to remember each other’s past from common and relatable vantage points. Parents, understandably, are prone to remember their children’s past from a more mature but inherently different viewpoint. As a result,…

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Passengers

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 21, 2017

Relocation is an interesting psychological process. My experience as a therapist is shaped by geography, and practicing in DC means that relocation is a recurring theme. A typical day of office hours might include sessions with clients from the Middle East, Europe, the Midwest as well as the South. Some of my clients grew up…

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