DC Counseling & Psychotherapy Center

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, we suggest books, films, web sites and articles that are tailored to the needs and interests of each client. Many clients identify with characters in books and films, and describe how their awareness of these resources helps them realize that they are not alone and their problems and are solvable.

Elisabeth Joy LaMotte
Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, LICSW, MSW, is the founder of the Center.  She is a licensed independent clinical social worker and an individual, couples, family and group psychotherapist. She has been in private practice since 2000, and has over 20 years of experience in the social work field. Her approach to therapy is focused and goal-oriented, and her personality is kind, empathetic and direct. Elisabeth is honored to serve as a member of the Board of Overseers of her graduate school, The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the National Association of Social  Workers (NASW) and the American  Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA). She has met rigorous training, clinical and education standards to  become designated as an AAMFT approved supervisor. She currently supervises AAMFT candidates for clinical membership. She is a frequent blogger for the Huffington Post and YourTango and she reviews books for The Readers Exchange.  Her book, Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce: Five Steps to a Happy Relationship, a self-help book for adults with divorced parents, was a finalist in the 2008 National Best Book  Awards in the relationship category. Out of over 15,000 applicants, Elisabeth was one of fewer than 50 finalists in Good Morning America’s 2010 Guru Search. In 1995, Elisabeth received a Master's Degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, now named the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP-2). She has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1997, she received a post-graduate certificate in couples, family and sex therapy from the Penn Council for Relationships, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) in Washington DC. Her work has been published in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapy, and she has written op-ed columns for The Philadelphia Daily News and The Philadelphia Tribune. She has taught graduate level courses at the Virginia Commonwealth University Graduate School of Social Work. She was recently interviewed by Washingtonian for an article about couples and exercise. She was named one of the 11 Best Relationship Therapists of 2014, by DatingAdvice.com. She lives in Washington DC with her husband and two children. She is active in her community, serving as a member of the Advisory Board of THEARC. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Little Folks School from Spring of 2005- Spring 2013 and was co-chair of the  Washington Ballet's 2010 Nutcracker Tea, and as Family Chair of the 2011 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Catherine Farrell Kaplan
Catherine Farrell Kaplan, LMHC, MC, is a licensed mental health counselor and an experienced professional therapist with 10 years of experience in individual, couples, and family therapy, with an focus on Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT). Catherine's approach is rooted in attachment theory.  Beyond therapy, she emphasizes a holistic approach to wellness, incorporating elements of coaching in life, nutrition, and exercise. Catherine graduated from New York University's Steinhardt School of Education with a Masters in Counseling in 2002.  She has a B.A. from Southern Methodist University.  Most recently Catherine studied at the prestigious Ackerman Instititute for the Family for three years in New York City.  At the Ackerman Institute, she completed the Foundations in Family Therapy and the Live Clinical Supervision and participated in the Clinical Externship in Family Therapy. In Manhattan, Catherine was a mental health counselor to high school students at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private girls school, and to middle school students at the United Nations School, a private co-educational school. Catherine is a licensed professional counselor in the District of Columbia and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of New York. She lives in the District of Columbia with her husband and three children.  She is active in her community, serving as a member of the Advisory Board of THEARC, the Development Committee for DC Prep Academy.  Catherine sees clients on Thursdays and Fridays.

Niki Novak
Jennifer “Niki” Novak, LMFT, LPC  is a licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed professional counselor in Washington DC.  She offers individual, couples, and sex therapy. Niki has experience treating a wide range of psychological concerns and is passionate about supporting people in various stages of their lives. In December, 2015, Niki accepted an exciting new position as Director of Evidence-Based Practices at Green Door Behavioral Health.  Previously, Niki worked at Pathways to Housing as an ACT team leader providing intensive therapy and, most recently, as the Director of Training and Quality Improvement.  For the past 5 years Niki has worked DC’s community mental health system which has allowed her to develop into a  flexible and creative practitioner who blends theoretical training in Marriage and Family Therapy into everyday practice. Niki uses an integrated approach including CBT, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, and trauma informed practices. Niki graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a Master's degree in Clinical Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Marriage in Family therapy, and from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Additionally, Niki is a member the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and has a Clinical Fellow membership. Niki sees clients on Wednesday evenings.For clients who give written consent, Niki is supervised by Elisabeth. One advantage to working with a therapist who is supervised is that two clinicians are focused on your progress and working  together with the joint goal that your experience in therapy be as productive as possible.

Sarah Spencer Northey
Sarah Spencer Northey, “Spencer,” is a bilingual (Spanish and English) Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT); as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Spencer decided to become a relationship therapist based on the belief that strong and loving relationships are the foundation for a more peaceful and conscientious world. As a Drama/Psychology double major turned therapist, she has found that good relationships are like good theater: they require a sound balance of “Dionysian Ecstasy and Apollonian Rationale.” The principles she uses in relational work recognize emotional and rational needs as equally essential in a healthy relationship. Her respect for this balance, and use of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, has not only transformed the relationships of her clients, but has transformed her own relationships as well. Prior to her Master’s education, Spencer spent a year observing relationship exchanges as a behavior coder for the Center for Developmental Science at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She then spent another year working as a residential treatment counselor in a group home for at-risk youth, spending up to 16 hours a day at times as primary caretaker and disciplinarian to upset teenagers. These pre-masters experiences sharpened and toughened her for success as an individual and relationship therapist. Since graduating from the distinguished Couple and Family Therapy program at The University of Maryland, College Park over 5 years ago, Spencer has seen hundreds of clients grow and recover through her work as a licensed relationship therapist in both DC and Maryland. She is currently on staff at Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Health, serving clients from a diverse array of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.