Our Approach

Amáte Growth Work, was developed by Dr. Martha Susan Horton in work with over 4,000 adolescent and adult clients in the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica following Dr. Horton’s personal healing and growth experience documented in her books, “The Seashell People: Growing Up in Adulthood” (1990) M. Evans & Co., Inc. NYC, and “Growing Up in Adulthood: The Journey to Emotional Maturity” (1992) Wynwood Press, Tarrytown, NY.

A brief description of Amáte Growth Work is contained below. However, an extended description is found in her doctoral dissertation, “Amáte Growth Work: Achieving Emotional Maturity in Adulthood” (2005) Saybrook Graduate School, San Francisco.

Video of Dr. Horton’s talk at The Betty Ford Center

Rancho Mirage, California 2017

Origins of Amate Growth Work

Although half of all who achieve emotional maturity successfully using Amáte Growth Work are not addicted, those who are touched by addictions find a special and often vital connection at The Amáte Institute. The Amáte Institute is uniquely qualified to address a wide range of addiction related issues. It considers emotional maturity and emotional sobriety, the stated goal of AA founders for this century, to be synonymous.

Dr. Horton, the founder of Amáte Growth Work, is an expert in the addiction field, holding the first Master’s Degree in Psychology specializing in Addictions from the Hazelden Foundation, Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Horton was an Aftercare Specialist at Hazelden, and the Aftercare Director of Centers in Kennett Square, PA, and Manhattan. She has conducted over 100 interventions in her practice. She has worked with Adult Children of Alcoholics throughout her professional life.


Dr. Horton is a recovering addict herself with 40 years of continuous sobriety, still regularly attending 12 Step Meetings. What Dr. Horton discovered and documented in her book, “The Seashell People:Growing Up in Adulthood,”(1990) NYC, was sobriety and active participation in a 12 Step Program were not sufficient to  solve the emotional problems that surfaced when she was overwhelmed in fear. 

She, like many recovering individuals, and those struggling to become sober, found that early emotional stoppage when triggered by overwhelming fears in her adult life, caused behaviors and feelings inappropriate for her chronological age. Yet she didn’t understand the cause of her emotional imbalance or what to do about it.

Only when she found a way to help herself grow up and achieve emotional maturity did her life find balance and the ability to live its challenges successfully. It was her personal experience and healing that formed the basis of the creation of Amáte Growth Work.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

One of the most significant outcomes of Amáte Growth Work has been its success in resolving PTSD symptoms with a wide variety of clients, and especially those affected by war related experiences.

As early as WWI, psychiatrists and psychologists working with soldiers and veterans acknowledged that family of origin traumas were significant causative factors in nearly all who suffered from PTSD (earlier termed War Neurosis and Shell Shock). They identified emotional immaturity as the most frequently observed source of symptoms of PTSD. Many of these therapists became dedicated to promoting emotional maturity in their practices after the wars ended.

However, after each successive war, when peace was restored, the importance of healing early life traumas contributing to PTSD and the importance of achieving emotional maturity, were largely dismissed. The term “emotional immaturity” became an insult rather than the unfortunate result of early fears and traumas that it is.

Today, many who have suffered early traumas and overwhelming fears for any reason exhibit PTSD symptoms in adulthood. Amáte Growth Work helps clients by aiding in the identification of family of origin and early life emotional stoppage fears and traumas. It facilitates healing them, and helps clients create a strong base of love and security to replace the base of fear.

Amáte Growth Work also helps clients develop the emotional courage to successfully take adult emotional risks and challenges. As a result of this process of healing and growth, a reduction or elimination of PTSD symptoms has been observed in many clients.

(For more information on emotional immaturity as a causative factor in PTSD, and information on therapists and their work with soldiers and veterans, please see Dr. Horton’s dissertation that can be downloaded from the Amáte Readings Page).

Marriage and Family Work

The Amáte Institute believes in undertaking marriage and family work only after each individual in the marriage or family has completed Amáte Growth Work, and the tools of emotional maturity leading to peace have been learned and practiced.

When individuals are prepared through their own emotional maturity work, and the goal of individual and collective peace is the desired outcome of the process, relationships can be examined and the most loving decisions for all can be acknowledged and realized.

Instruction and Certification in Amáte Growth Work

Clients frequently return to The Amáte Institute to participate in advanced emotional and spiritual growth and actualization experiences. They may also choose to involve themselves in relationship and family work with those who have also undergone Amáte Growth Work. In addition to the ongoing work with clients, a vital activity of the Institute is the training and certification of individuals from many appropriate disciplines in Amáte Growth Work.

Also see The Amáte Growth Work Experience