Hello and thank you for visiting my website.

I am a clinical psychologist in Birmingham Michigan focusing on the treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders.

In my practice, as a certified Cognitive Therapist through the Academy of Cognitive Therapy in Philadelphia, I use cognitive therapy and other methods collaboratively with people in the transformative process of psychotherapy to grow and learn more fulfilling ways to regulate thoughts, moods and behaviors so that they no longer cause unpleasant or self-destructive outcomes. In addition to teaching the skill of cognitive therapy, I work with people holistically utilizing many scientifically supported neurobehavioral, relational and action methods through individual and group settings to integrate mind, body and spirit.

I treat a wide-range of emotional difficulties including anxiety and depressive disorders, as well as substance and other abuse and dependence problems. at a deeper level, clients and I often work together to strengthen personal authenticity, meaningfulness and direction, emotional connectedness, and interpersonal effectiveness and satisfaction. I also provide family and couples therapy, and psychodramatic group work, addressing life conflicts and increasing resilience and psychological well-being.

My work includes the treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders, and substance and other abuse and dependence.  Having worked in the expertise area of dual diagnosis for over 28 years, I understand the importance of providing clients with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, and utilizing state of the art, clinically proven, empirically based treatment methods. Other conditions that occur with people who may benefit from individual therapy include…

  • Depression or other mood disorders
  • Anxiety, fear, specific phobias, panic attacks or obsessions and compulsions (OCD), general worrying
  • A major life change such as loss of job, loss of driver’s license, legal proceedings, incarceration, illness
  • Loss due to death, divorce, or abandonment
  • Desire to improve personal or professional relationships
  • Desire to heal from experience of abuse or trauma
  • Low self-esteem or other blockages which keep you or a loved one from achieving goals
  • Loneliness, social disconnect or social anxiety
  • Feeling disconnected from yourself or the direction or meaning in life
  • Difficulty controlling your drinking or drug use, or desire to explore abstinence or moderate drinking possibilities
  • Difficulty with a loved one with a mental health or addictive disorder
  • Ending shame and the destructiveness that carrying it around causes toward you and others
  • Drawing boundaries, keeping limits, finding your voice, learning not to rescue others.

One of the goals I have with all of my clients is to help them with the initial feelings they may have about being in therapy. I never judge clients, but instead, I help them understand that everything we talk about is confidential, and help them feel safe. Whether you are searching for a therapist for yourself or for a friend or loved one, my hope is that you will find this web site to be both informative and helpful. After helping people like you for many years, I know how painful psychological stress or an addiction can be, for you or a loved one, but I also know how much better life can become with treatment.

I feel honored to be involved in the important personal journeys of people’s lives. I hope visiting this web site will be your first step toward a better life!

Thank you for visiting.

Sincerely,

Dr. Elizabeth A. Corby


read more

Dr. Charles R. Schuster came to Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1995 to take responsibility for forming a substance abuse research center. He had recently left his position as Director of the National Institute for Drug Abuse, National Institute for Health (NIH) where he had served for the prior 8 years under then President Clinton.

While at WSU Dr. Schuster was very successful in establishing a unit that specialized in human drug abuse research that also provided excellent clinical care.  Dr. Elizabeth Corby began her post-doctoral work under mentors Dr. Schuster and his wife Dr. Chris-Ellyn Johanson in 1996 at the clinical research division on substance abuse.

In 1997, Dr. Corby became an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, where she continued to work with Dr. Schuster until 2000 when she left to become a senior staff psychologist at Henry Ford Hospital’s chemical dependency treatment program, Maplegrove center.

According to Dr. Schuster’s obituary:

“By the time Dr. Schuster came to WSU he had already built up an impressive resume of accomplishments in the research and treatment of addition, particularly related to opioid addiction. The university offered him an opportunity to work with addict patients. Bob developed a strong research group embracing pharmacology, psychology and psychiatry with collaborative relations with a number of colleagues in these disciplines.”

Dr. Corby feels very fortunate to have spent part of her career working with Drs. Schuster and Johanson, and has many fond memories of their work together. Dr. Schuster was a giant on whose shoulders many of us stand, and he will be deeply missed.


read more

Psychodrama is a deep action method developed by Jacob Levy Moreno (1889-1974), in which people enact scenes from their lives, dreams or fantasies in an effort to gain new insights and understandings, and practice new and more satisfying behaviors.[i]

Psychodrama is an amazingly versatile modality.  As a method of healing it has been used in group therapy and in one-on-one therapy (as an extension of Freudian “talk” therapy).  And Sociodrama, as a sub-set of psychodrama , had even more far reaching application, and allows further expansion of the method’s versatility.

Sociodrama is a type of psychodrama, but rather than using the methods to address individual issues, sociodrama identifies and explores group issues.  It is “a learning method that creates deep understanding of the social systems that shape us individually and collectively”[ii]

Sociodrama, is used in the classroom and in businesses.  It is also used for exploring literature and deepening religious understanding, such as with bibliodrama.

A blend of psychodrama and sociodrama is also used by trial lawyers. According to psychodramatist John Nolte, “as many as 1500 trial lawyers have been exposed to psychodrama through Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyer College.”[iii]  Lawyers (staff and students) “have gone far beyond this goal (of personal development) by developing unique and creative ways of utilizing the psychodramatic method in training and their work.”[iv]

It is fascinating to observe how creative and spontaneous trial lawyers are and can be when bringing the tools of psychodrama to the courtroom.  For example, lawyers will often use the various methods of role reversal, doubling, chair back, and soliloquy to help deepen their understanding of their client’s case.  This can allow them to become better story-tellers in the courtroom.

Trial lawyers use psychodrama to increase their own creativity and spontaneity. They can then use the information they gain from these exercises to help bring their cases to life.

According to one lawyer deeply steeped in the method:

Trials are frequently likened to a drama. The comparison is an easy one to accept since both theater and trial involve storytelling. One of the lessons we can take from the theater is the notion that credibility originates with the inner feelings the actor is experiencing and not the action itself.[v]

As finally, as John Nolte eloquently explains, trial lawyers “have reinforced strongly my long-held conviction that psychodrama is indeed the road to spontaneity-creativity and that psychodrama is for everybody.”[vi]

 

 


[i] Garcia, Buchanan, Current Approaches in Drama Therapy, Chapter 9, pg.162 (2000).

[ii] Browne, R. Towards a framework for sociodrama. Thesis for Board of Examiners of the Australian and New Zealand Psychodrama Association, (2005).

[iii] Nolte, Non-Clinical Psychodrama: Lawyers and the Psychodramatic Method, The Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy, Vol. 60, No. 2, pg. 7 (2012).

[iv] Id.

[v] Cole, Psychodrama and the Training of Trial Lawyers; Finding the Story, The Warrior, Winter (2002).

[vi][vi] Nolte, Non-Clinical Psychodrama: Lawyers and the Psychodramatic Method, The Journal of Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy, Vol. 60, No. 2, pg. 13 (2012).


read more

Psychodrama: Social Networking for Healing

One of my favorite psychotherapeutic methods has not even been widely recognized as strictly “psychotherapy” at all. It is called psychodrama, which, conceived and developed by Jacob L. Moreno, MD, employs guided dramatic action to examine problems or issues raised by an individual (psychodrama) or a group (sociodrama). It is considered a hybrid between mind exploration (Greek: psycho = “mind”) and theater (“drama”). So what is this psychodrama and how can it be applied to therapy?

Sigmund Freud believed that our unconscious processes contained, at deep, unaware levels, the seeds of our earlier repressed memories and emotions. Freud’s method of psychoanalysis works wonderfully at sometimes accessing those trapped or hidden past traumas, memories or feelings, after often many years of painstaking analysis of memory traces and reflections by the psychoanalyst. The father of cognitive therapy, Aaron Beck M.D., who developed the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy in Philadelphia, where I received my post-doctoral Cognitive Therapy training and certification, was a psychoanalyst. Beck discovered that after many years of traditional psychoanalysis, patients may have found some or even much relief, but often persisted with often unaddressed distorted thought systems, causing great psychic pain. His development of cognitive therapy was an active, experimental approach to addressing these distortions, by teaching patients to participate in their dismantling of unrealistic thoughts and adopting new more realistic beliefs and subsequent actions (see other links and blogs on this webpage for more on cognitive therapy).

Psychodrama is not a technique that I use to replace these other forms of psychotherapy. Like traditional analysis of past wounds and relationships, and the dismantling of cognitive errors, psychodrama is another tool in the properly trained therapist’s tool box for accessing deep and potent (painful or joyous) emotions, perhaps long-severed from the individual’s conscious awareness. How does psychodrama work, and how is a different “tool?”

Psychodrama was founded circa 1920’s by Jacob L. Moreno, M.D., a psychiatrist who believed in using the social network to reinact particular roles or incidents from the past, using a ‘stage’ and typical ‘acting’ components of protaganist (the patient), director (usually the therapist), and auxillary egos (people in the drama). By coaching the client into the full-blown active, realistically re-created “scene” of an unresolved issue or relationship, people are able to virtually re-experience the past within the setting, with a safe network of supporters. Techniques used in psychodrama include role-play, role reversals, imagining other’s feelings and roles, and even imagining outcomes in the future. This very active relationship with the director/therapist and auxillaries enables a full ‘mind-body,’ in-the-moment re-engagement of sometimes long-buried memories. The action of psychodrama with patients acting as protagonists enables them to access very potent memories through the action, that would not often be accessible to them through talk therapy.

I have been able to utilize psychodrama techniques with most types of clients, in individual and group settings. Many re-enact painful encounters with others, and others even take on their “disorders” (e.g., role reversing with their OCD, anxiety, depression, or addiction “monsters”). Following successful psychodrama experiences, after which a catharsis often occurs, sharing takes place with other group members,  and integration on cognitive, affective, behavioral and spiritual levels can follow (Farmer, 1996). Unique to psychodrama is the active, spontaneous and creative enterprise of reenacting the drama, both positive and negative, which authenitically accesses, for the client, the core who he is. The honor of a client allowing a social network to gain a glimpse of this very personal space and his self-growth journey, is special and powerful. Protagonists who share their story with the social network often feel a renewed sense of inclusion and belonging, because of the group’s sensitivity and compassion. The healing that takes place through psychodrama is wonderful and it is my hope that more people learn the benefits of this special but little-known technique.

Please see my membership group, American Society of Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama, to learn more: http://www.asgpp.org/html/psychodrama.html

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 


read more

Medication and psychotherapy have both been demonstrated to help people with an anxiety disorder. But research on the effects of psychotherapy on nerve cells has lagged far behind that on medication-induced changes in the brain. There have been preliminary studies which have demonstrated superior effects (from patient’s reports) from cognitive therapy over medication, in quelling unpleasant anxiety (and depressive) symptoms, and these improvements have lasted in research follow-ups. But did you know that scientists are now discovering physical evidence for these improved changes in research with social anxiety disorder?

Social anxiety is a syndrome whereby people experience overwhelming fears of interacting with others and describe high expectations of being harshly judged.Vladimir Miskovic, doctoral candidate, wanted to understand if it would be possible to ascertain physical changes in the brain following psychotherapy, within people with SAD. ‘We wanted to track the brain changes while people were going through psychotherapy,’ says McMaster University doctoral candidate and study co-author Miskovic.

Miskovic was part of a research team, led by David Moscovitch, Ph.D., of the University of Waterloo, collaborated with McMaster’s Louis Schmidt, Ph.D. and Diane Santesso, Ph.D. The researchers used electroencephalograms or EEGs, which measure brain electrical interactions in real time, to assess brain activity and change. The researchers focused on the amount of ‘delta-beta coupling’, which has been found to elevate with rising anxiety. They recruited a group of adults with social anxiety disorder for their study, and divide the groups into those who received treatment, and those who did not (two sets of controls).

The patients participated in twelve weeks of group cognitive behavior therapy, a structured method that helps people identify and challenge the thinking patterns that perpetuate their painful and self-destructive behaviours. For more information on cognitive therapy, please search my website for related links. Two control groups – students who tested extremely high or low for symptoms of social anxiety – underwent no psychotherapy.The patients were given four EEGs — two before treatment, one halfway through, and one two weeks after the final session. When the patients’ pre and post-therapy EEGs were compared with the control groups’, the results were revealing.Before therapy, the clinical group’s delta-beta correlations were similar to those of the high-anxiety control group and far higher than the low-anxiety groups. Midway through treatment, improvements in the patients’ brains of those receiving the cognitive therapy paralleled clinicians’ and patients’ own self-reports of easing symptoms. And at the completion of therapy and at the two week follow-up, the patients’ tests resembled those of the low-anxiety control group!

So now we have bonafide physical proof : cognitive therapy does produce positive, enduring (at least in the short-term), brain changes at the neural/physical level. I’m sure this is just the start of what’s to come, and what we therapists and our clients have known all along – psychotherapy works! More exciting research is sure to follow, that will enable us  to truly not only visualize or imagine, expect or believe, but actually “see” our improvements in our brains, as we move towards self-growth.


read more