Psychotherapy is the use of psychological principles of learning, emotion, motivation, human development, family relationships, and interpersonal behavior, within a professional relationship, in order to assist you to change patterns which have caused symptoms, distress, or difficulty in living. In psychotherapy, those changes include modifying feelings, attitudes, viewpoints, and behaviors which are distressing or ineffective or which interfere with your life adjustment.

Some of the psychotherapies at Shorehaven are explained below.


Alcohol and Drug Counseling
(AODA, Chemical Dependency, or Substance Abuse Counseling)

Who Developed This Method?

AODA Counseling has been developing since the 1870's. The founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930's, the development of modern counseling programs in the past 40 years, and a large amount of research in the past decade on what helps has moved AODA Counseling out of hospitals and into clinics, where the outcome of counseling is equally effective with that found in hospitals.

How the Method Explains the Development of Problems.

AODA Counselors consider addiction to be a disease. One can be addicted to substances, such as alcohol (including beer), amphetamines (speed), opiate (heroin, morphine), cocaine, marijuana, tobacco, or certain prescription drugs, especially tranquilizers. You may be surprised to learn that one can be addicted to activities, and in the brain, the effect is similar to the addiction to chemicals; these activities include gambling, sex, food, spending, and Internet use. Addiction is marked by tolerance for large amounts of the substance or activity, devoting more and more of your life to getting and using the chemical or activity, adverse reactions when stopping use [withdrawal], and loss of control after starting so that you do more of it than you intend or you can't stop with only a small amount. These problems are usually chronic, with frequent relapses.

These problems are on a continuum with:

  • Addiction at one extreme
  • Abuse, which is use despite the consequences of using
  • Problem Use
  • Social Use
  • Abstinence at the other end of the spectrum.

Typically, the person finds the substance or activity very rewarding, often making one feel more normal, less depressed, or more relaxed. Eventually, the addictive and harmful nature of the chemical or activity takes over.

How the Method Explains the Process of Change.

AODA Counselors use many methods to help.

  1. Motivational Enhancement helps determine your readiness for change and helps you be more prepared to make effective changes.

  2. Rational-Emotive or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy methods help change the thought patterns which you use, the ones where you tell yourself the behavior is okay, the ways you rationalize or minimize or deny the problem.

  3. 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, etc., use group support and a program of spiritual and behavioral guidelines to help you take responsibility for changing.

  4. Relapse Prevention identifies the triggers and patterns for using so you can learn ways to handle them differently.

Behavior Therapy

Who Developed This Method?

Many researchers contributed to Behavior Therapy, including N. Azrin [contingency management], Albert Bandura [use of models, vicarious conditioning], Neal Miller [biofeedback], I. Pavlov [conditioning], B.F. Skinner [reinforcement], Joseph Wolpe [systematic desensitization], and many others. Behavior therapy developed out of research beginning around 1950.

How the Method Explains the Development of Problems.

Behavior Therapists do not try to explain 'why' you are behaving a certain way. Rather, they focus on methods which are effective in changing behavior. Problems develop when the consequences of the behavior are favorable (i.e., reinforcing), making the behavior likely to recur in when the same circumstances arise in the future.

How the Method Explains the Process of Change.

Researchers have evolved many methods for direct behavior change, including relaxation therapy, which uses deep relaxation in order to change our reactions to stressful stimuli. In systematic desensitization, stimuli which now produce anxiety are carefully presented until the anxiety associated with them stops. In biofeedback, we learn to control the physiological reactions, such as brain waves, hand temperature, and muscle tension which may be associated with problems. In contingency contracting, which is often used in couples or with children, we set up a schedule for reinforcing a desirable behavior and for stopping reinforcement for undesirable behavior. Thought stopping and Exposure Therapy are used to interfere with anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Who Developed This Method?

The forerunner of this method is Alfred Adler, but the most important modern cognitive therapists have been Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, beginning around 1960.

How the Method Explains the Development of Problems.

Thoughts, feelings, and behavior are related. Emotions affect our thoughts. But our beliefs and thoughts affect our emotions and how we behave. For example, if you think you must please others and it is disastrous if someone does not like you, you will feel anxious and upset when someone does not accept you. A range of such beliefs affects depression, anxiety, substance use, and many other conditions, which are heavily influenced by our beliefs. Furthermore, we all have certain errors of thinking which affect how we react, such as personalizing what happens around us, black and white thinking, catastrophic thinking about the future, self-reproach when things go wrong, intolerance for uncertainty, and many other errors in thinking may be brought to your attention.

How the Method Explains the Process of Change.

The counselor will use three strategies.

  1. Helping you articulate and change some of your beliefs, which you may never before have realized you were using.

  2. Helping you recognize errors in thinking so you can try other ways of evaluating your experiences.

  3. Helping you use techniques to make changes in your thinking, such as exercises in thinking the old way and a new way.

Family Systems and Marriage Therapy

Who Developed This Method?

Beginning in the 1950s, Murray Bowen, Jay Haley, Salvador Minuchin, Virginia Satir, John Watzlawick, Michael White, and others began to examine how family members, including couples, influence one another and produce or maintain emotional problems. The richness of family systems therapy is reflected in the fact that a number of valuable methods and ideas about families have arisen in the past 35 years.

How the Method Explains the Development of Problems.

Problems seem to arise in families in several ways. In one case, members of the family view one another in certain ways and behave towards one another in light of those views. For example, a child who is labeled as "bad" or "incorrigible" may not receive much positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior, but begins to get "negative attention," that is, most of his or her involvement with parents is around inappropriate behavior. How much positive attention members receive, how parents work together, the boundaries between generations, the exercise of authority, the protection of children, and many other aspects of family functioning affect emotions, self-esteem, and behavior. Changes in the family, such as birth of a child or a loss, may affect how the family members cope.

How the Method Explains the Process of Change.

Marriage and Family Therapists use many methods, all of which are designed to help family members alter the way they interact with one another. For example, finding and building on the strengths and positive attributes of a child can help him or her behave in new ways. Helping the family members realize their strengths and areas of effective functioning helps refocus their interactions.

The idea is

  1. to change interaction in a way that permits behavior to change,
  2. to make sure the parents are squarely and effectively in charge,
  3. to educate the family about the effects of illness and addiction on the family,
  4. to change how family members view one another, and
  5. to help the couple relate to one another in order to meet their respective needs more effectively.

Psychoanalytic (Psychodynamic)

Who Developed This Method?

Sigmund Freud began this method in 1890. Anna Freud, Heinz Kohut, Carl Jung, James Masterson and a host of others have contributed to our knowledge of the deeper mental processes which affect our behavior.

How the Method Explains the Development of Problems.

Our emotional impulses and feelings are often associated with fear of rejection, fear of disapproval, guilt, shame, or other negative feelings. When this happens, we may repress these feelings and any associated thoughts or memories so they become unconscious. Defense mechanisms, such as rationalizing, repressing, acting out, and many others, are unconscious methods we use to reduce the anxiety and emotional discomfort or pain we feel. Defenses and repressed feelings and memories are often behind our symptoms. For example, sometimes depression is the result of repressing guilt about being angry towards a person who died, so that grieving cannot proceed normally.

How the Method Explains the Process of Change.

The goals of therapy are to help you be conscious of the underlying emotions, impulses, and memories which may be behind your symptoms. In addition, the therapist will guide you towards more effective defenses and methods of dealing with your impulses and needs. The therapist will ask for your 'free associations' [the report of what goes through your mind], dreams, and other information which will help uncover your unconscious patterns. The therapist will help you gain insight into your feelings.

Solution Focused Brief Therapy

Who Developed This Method?

Insoo Berg and Steve deShazer are among the team members of the Brief Therapy Training Center who developed this approach from the mid-1980s.

How the Method Explains the Development of Problems.

Problems develop when people are focused on behavior which is involved with the problems, overlooking behavior associated with more effective behavior. Often, with a limited range of behaviors to try, we tend to try the same ineffective solutions over and over. For instance, with an angry, misbehaving child, we try more and more discipline, even though it is not working to change the problem, and we lose sight of the child's abilities and areas of strength.

How the Method Explains the Process of Change.

The therapist will evaluate times when the problem is not present or what could happen when the problem is resolved. He or she will help you determine what behavior was occurring then, what skills and abilities you were using when you were more effective, and how to implement those skills to change the problem.

Abuse Survivors & TraumaAD/HDAnxiety & DepressionEMDRAlcohol & Drug Abuse
HypnosisCouples TherapyGambling ProblemsGrief & LossAll Age Groups

Brown Deer Office: (414) 540-2170
Waukesha Office: (262) 446-9981

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