How We Can Help

Hello and welcome to our web site. If you are reading this, you may be struggling with depression, sadness, or anxiety. You may be in the middle of a difficult break-up, or the discovery of infidelity.


Perhaps you are planning to marry, looking to improve your marriage, or trying to decide whether or not to remain in your current romantic relationship.


We have had the privilege of helping many people work through these and other challenges in order to build happier, healthier lives.


Our specialties include couples therapy, addressing infidelity, adjusting to break-ups, relationship skill-building, communication enhancement, navigating divorce, self-esteem building, and pre-marital counseling.


— Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, founder


Learn More

What We Do

Help You Improve Your Relationships
We teach concrete relationship skills that help clients build stronger, happier, more intimate relationships with family, friends and romantic partners.

If you are experiencing a difficult break-up, a divorce, or the painful discovery of infidelity, we will help you work through the many levels of loss that are common to such challenges. We help our clients find opportunities for growth in spite of these painful scenarios.

If you want to improve your marriage or seek pre-marital counseling, our approach considers each partner as an essential player in the relationship’s strengths and weaknesses. We teach relevant psychological theories to help you work on both yourself and your relationships.


Help You Achieve Your Goals
Whether you are looking to build self-esteem, become a better communicator, manage anxiety or relieve depression, we work with clients to set concrete goals and take clear steps to achieve them. In addition, we help clients gain insights necessary to improve their lives.

We suggest resources so that the therapy is happening not just in our office, but outside of the office, in your lives. To this end, specific books, films, web sites and articles are suggested and tailored to the needs and interests of each client.


Periodic Group Seminars on Relationships
We periodically run group seminars on relationships. The next group will take place on Sunday, June 11th, 2017. To learn more about these seminars, and find out details about the next session, click on the button below. 

Upcoming Group Seminars


Niki Novak LMFT is now a participating provider in the Blue Cross network.  Blue Cross members seeking individual or couples therapy can learn more about Niki through the about and contact tabs. You can also reach out to Niki directly to schedule an appointment:

We are pleased to announce that Spencer Northey joined our practice in March. She is seeing clients at our Capitol Hill location on Sunday afternoons. To learn more about Spencer, visit the about tab for a full bio.

In the News…


Elisabeth’s article about using films as a catalyst for change was featured on the Washington Post home page.  The comprehensive, unedited version of this article is posted here.


One of the signature aspects of our practice is that we suggest books and films that are specific to our clients’ interests and concerns.  For many years, we have integrated these resources into our therapy, and our clinical experience has been that the use of appropriate films and books enhances the effectiveness of therapy.  New research has validated the clinical benefits of our approach.  You can find out more in this report from the New York Times.  In February, 2016, Elisabeth was honored to have the opportunity to present strategies for this approach at the annual conference of the American Group Psychotherapy Association.


In May, Elisabeth was interviewed for an interesting HuffPo story detailing candid reasons women called off their engagements. April, Elisabeth commented for Huffington Post habits of resilience among married couples. In March, she was honored to present at the American Group Psychotherapy Association Annual Meeting. In January, Elisabeth was interviewed by the Huffington Post about things that matter less that you think when it comes to committed relationships and about what couples therapists notice in a first therapy session. In December, Elisabeth was interviewed about qualities that lead to lasting relationships and also about frequent sources of tension for couples during the holiday season. In October, Elisabeth was interviewed about reasons for constant marital conflict.

Elisabeth appeared on Fox 5 to discuss why breaking up is getting harder to do in Washington. She also appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss parenting and divorce. She was quoted in Redbook Magazine about divorce, and in Fox News Magazine about breakups.


She was also interviewed on WTOP and by Washingtonian Magazine for an article about couples and exercise and Washington Post Express for an articles about breakups cohabitation and moving in together.

We are pleased to announce that Niki Novak LMFT and Spencer Northey LMFT are now holding office hours at a new location: 316 F Street NE, Washington, DC 20002.  Please contact Niki or Spencer directly to schedule an appointment. or

Latest Posts

Cinematherapy/Bibliotherapy Blog

Questions of the Month



Our Approach


Cinema/Bibliotherapy Blog

Questions of the Month

Elisabeth Joy LaMotte: Founder & Executive Director
Niki Novak: Director of Training & Development
Sarah Spencer Northey

Contact Us!

  • For more information about the Center and our therapists, contact Elisabeth LaMotte at 202-333-7424, or
  • For Niki Novak: 202-596-6454, or
  • For Spencer Northey: 202-656-7818, or


  • Lion

    As a therapist in Washington, DC, I work with many career focused individuals and couples. DC dwellers tend to marry later and so they often decide to start families will into their late thirties and early forties. It is, therefore, not surprising that infertility and adoption are common therapy themes in our practice.

    The process of pregnancy and becoming parents feels immensely private for most couples who struggle with fertility. And the decision to adopt is a meaningful and important option that is often discussed in therapy. Even for some who do not struggle with fertility, adoption is sometimes a preferred pathway to parenthood. When parents are deciding or preparing to adopt, questions about bonding, heredity, and early childhood trauma are often a part of the conversation.

    Garth Davis’ award winning 2016 film Lion, adapted from Saroo Brierley’s autobiography “A Long Way Home”, tells a remarkable and epic true story of international adoption that frames compelling messages about what it means to adopt, raise and love a child.

    This haunting and visually stunning tale begins in a remote Indian village in 1986. Saroo is five years old and living happily in an Indian village with his older brother, younger sister and mother. To make some extra money, Saroo and his brother head off toward an unsupervised evening adventure that unfolds tragically when Saroo gets stuck on an abandoned train headed to Calcutta. Saroo endures a harrowing journey among Calcutta’s many homeless and exploited orphans before landing in an orphanage, unable to remember proper the name of his hometown. He is then adopted by a loving Australian couple who raise him with tenderness, compassion and joy.

    A key psychological message of Saroo’s stunning trajectory is that adoption can and does work, even when a child is no longer an infant at the age of adoption, and even when there has been significant trauma. Raising an adopted child is not always easy. It is not always as organic as other forms of parenting. But it is a deliberate and arguably elevated form of parental devotion and family love.

    In early adulthood Saroo (Dev Patel) is understandably haunted by memories of his early childhood trauma lost in India and separated from his family-of-origin. In a miraculous testament to current technology, Saroo uses Google Earth to trace his long vanished steps from his village to Calcutta, in a quest to find his way back to his childhood home.

    Early childhood experiences are formative and essential to development, and Saroo’s Australian parents understand and support his bittersweet quest for answers and closure. His is a hopeful true tale of international adoption. Yes, Saroo’s early years shaped and formed who he is. No, they did not diminish his love nor his bond with his Australian parents.

    Lion breathes vitality into questions about adoption by showing that early childhood memories are formative and necessary parts of the adult self. The story is not sugar-coated and is honest about Saroo’s family’s challenging experience adopting and raising Saroo’s brother from the same Calcutta orphanage. Not all international adoptions are the same. However, not all experiences of parenting biological children are the same either. Saroo’s journey and the true story of his family bonds demonstrate that love is not limited and authentic bonding is possible, even in dramatic circumstances.

    If you are considering adoption, Lion is a worthwhile and authentic tale of love and the power of the human connection.