HeadshotHello and thank you for visiting my website.

I am a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, Michigan in the metro Detroit area, and Cheboygan, Michigan in Northern 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 including psychodrama, dialectical behavioral therapy, mindfulness and EMDR 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 supportive 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 29 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
  • 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.


Dr. Elizabeth A. Corby

Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Guide to the DSM-5 for Substance Use Disorders

If your Michigan operator’s license has been revoked for multiple drunk driving arrests, then a hearing will be required before your license can be reinstated.  At this hearing, you will be required to submit a substance abuse evaluation.  This is defined by the applicable administrative rules as follows:

(o) “Substance abuse evaluation” means a written report regarding the petitioner on a form prescribed by the department that includes a statement of the testing instruments used and the test results, if any exist, a complete treatment and support group history, diagnoses, prognoses, and relapse histories, including those relapse histories that predate the beginning of the most recent treatment program.

To help lawyers understand what a substance abuse evaluation is and to help them understand how substance use disorders are diagnosed, Dr. Elizabeth Corby co-authored an article on this topic with Michigan DUI defense lawyer Patrick T. Barone.  The article is entitled Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Guide to the DSM-5 for Substance Use Disorders and appeared in the November 2016 SADO Criminal Defense Newsletter. This article covers the basics relative to how substance use disorders are evaluated for court purposes, including driver license restoration hearings.

This is an important article because many defense lawyers have little knowledge about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), or even how substance use disorders are diagnosed.  And yet, as indicated, substance use evaluations are required for a driver license review hearing.  Also, the DSM is updated regularly, and the most recent update contains significant changes in the way substance use disordered are diagnosed.  There are new diagnostic codes as well, and a failure to use the updated information can result in a failure to meet your burden of proof at the driver license appeal hearing, even if all the other evidence you present is in order.

A copy of this article may be downloaded here.  Please contact Dr. Corby with any questions about the article, or to schedule a substance use evaluation.



Bi-Weekly Personal Growth Group

  • Bi-Weekly Wednesday Psychodrama Group
    with Dr. Corby

    This 2 1/2 hour twice monthly psychodrama group is an on-going personal growth co-ed group for men and women. These groups will use psychodramatic techniques, sociometry, and many other empirically-supported methods to enhance personal development. In this group we address a wide variety of issues, such as depression, anxiety, distorted thinking, substance abuse, feelings of not belonging, codependency, shame, trauma, as well as bodywork emotional release, wholeness and mind-body wellness.

    The current group, which has existed for a decade, consists of a small group of highly motivated individuals who are experienced with the experiential action group therapy method known more broadly as psychodrama. New members are usually easily role-trained in the method by other more experienced members and the facilitators.

    A typical psychodrama session will usually consist of three phases: the warm-up to action, the action or drama, followed by group sharing. Through the psychodrama action method, the protagonist and other group members develop insight into past inter and intrapersonal issues, traumas, present challenges, and future goals and find healing through psychologically and physically working through unresolved issues. Group members are the healing agents for one another.

    Psychodrama incorporates and involves both the body and the mind and is effective toward the treatment of a broad range of issues and concerns. For example, persons experiencing relationship challenges, overcoming past trauma, loss or addiction may find psychodrama to be a profoundly healing experience. The therapeutic group provides those in treatment for these and a variety of mood, emotional or personality disorders with a safe space and format to process and communicate  difficulties, pain or challenges.

    Each session is different, but generally begins with the directors checking in with the protagonist from the last session, and a brief processing of their work and group building. Then, after warm-up, the group will typically move into action with activities and/or the selection of a new protagonist. Break out sessions periodically enable members to share on a smaller level and get to know each other individually. Many psychodrama interventions are utilized each session which may consist of everything from empty chair work all the way through to more complex dramas involving multiple scenes and auxiliaries.  Participants therefore will have the opportunity to experience the psychodramatic roles of protagonist, auxiliary, double, witness and audience member.

    The Wednesday afternoon psychodrama therapy group is open to anyone wishing to explore and experience the profound therapeutic value of psychodrama and group therapy. No psychodrama experience is necessary; however, participants must make a commitment to the group to attend every session. No drop ins are allowed as this is a working therapy group. Individuals interested in simply trying psychodrama are advised to enroll in one of our daylong, weekend or intensive workshops.

    Additionally, this group requires and incorporates high levels of individual and group trust, safety, and confidentiality. Consequently, when selecting new group member candidates, it is necessary for us to carefully consider group dynamics and sociometry, and this requires that any potential new group candidates be prescreened. The group must also be prepared for the possible entry of a new group member.

    Cost is $75 per two and a half hour session. Insurance may reimburse part of the cost. Contact me for more information.

Michigan Substance Abuse Evaluations for Teens and Young Adults

Michigan Teenagers who drink can sometimes find themselves on the wrong side of the law.  This includes being charged with crimes like MIP (minor in possession) and Minor BAC (which is under age drunk driving , also known as zero tolerance), among others.

Many courts in Michigan treat underage drinking very seriously.  Some judges have a track record that includes jail time for crimes involving underage drinking, but most judges understand that severe punishment for these kinds of crimes is not appropriate.  Instead, many courts look at teenage drinking crimes as an opportunity to assess whether or not the teenage offender is at risk for problematic drinking, and then to order that the offender become involved in treatment.  To assure compliance, the court will also order monitoring like daily or random PBTs (preliminary breath tests).

In order to be proactive, and to help the teenage offender and his/her family determine if an alcohol problem does exist, or might be brewing, some lawyers in Michigan will refer their client for a private substance abuse evaluation.  This substance abuse evaluation can be used as a baseline to begin treatment, and it can also be used by the lawyer to help with plea negotiations and sentencing.

Substance abuse evaluations for crimes like MIP and Minor BAC as the same as substance abuse evaluations for “adult” crimes like drunk driving.   As such, the substance abuse evaluation will include an interview and the administration of usually two or three different psychometric tests, the purpose of which is to help the therapist determine if there is a drug or alcohol abuse problem, and then to recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

The evaluator, usually a clinical psychologist or other highly trained mental health/substance abuse professional, will determine from both the tests administered and the interview if the patient meets the criteria for the DMSV 5 diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder.  This diagnosis is one of the factors used in determining the treatment plan with the client. Oftentimes clients will follow up for treatment by using their health insurance plan; however, evaluations that are legal in nature are not covered by health insurance policies. The treatment portion of the evaluation, if recommended, is covered as long as it has not been ordered by the courts. This is another reason for a youth to be evaluated prior to sentencing in the courts. Besides the financial and legal incentive for an independent substance abuse evaluation, the client benefits from early intervention by an evaluator in order to receive guidance and direction toward a healthy relationship with alcohol in the future.

Many times youth will not in need of follow-up treatment, and the evaluation can assist the lawyer in the advocacy of the client in terms of suggesting a lighter sentence. However, when treatment is warranted, early intervention not only assists the youth’s developmental trajectory and well-being, but assists in the planning purposes and shows prior cooperation on the part of the youth at sentencing time.


Follow these 14 Steps to Avoid Relapse

During the holidays and after the beginning of the new year, therapists often see an uptick in people who are stressed out and feeling depressed.   If this sounds like you, then you may also be at higher risk of relapse whether it be due to alcohol, drugs, sex and pornography, eating, spending or gambling.   Here are 15 suggestions that may help you avoid relapse and stay physically and mentally healthy this holiday season:

  1. Avoid certain unhealthy or triggering people, places and things. Part of relapse prevention is to learn to identify the what, who, and why of addiction, and then to avoid them.  This includes the familiar traps associated with a return or increase in use. Your therapist can help you recognize that relapse is a process of reverting to a learned behavior can make all the difference in terms of being in the driver’s seat over the problem behavior.
  2. Develop a strategy. Related to #1 above, it is crucial to know thyself and to pattern a strategy to NOT relapse. To NOT plan to stay abstinent is to plan to lose control or to relapse.
  3. Increase your support by making an appointment with your therapist or going to additional AA or group therapy meetings.
  4. Attend a Michigan Psychodrama Center workshop. The MPC offers numerous groups and workshops aimed at assisting those with addictive struggles.
  5. Address the emotional triggers that fuel out of control behavior. Many times, childhood pain surfaces during the holidays. Family get-togethers challenge most of us, but when there has been alcoholism, drug use, or other dysfunction in one’s family environment, the feelings when seeing family members or reliving memories at this time of year can be overwhelming. Talk to a professional or other “safe” person about these feelings. Otherwise, you may find yourself numbing the pain with substances or other addictions.
  6. Eat well, exercise, do yoga or mediate. All of these activities boost the body’s natural endorphins and sense of well-being and calm. It is Michigan, meaning there is little sun during the winter, so you may want to check your vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D can signal fatigue and bring on poor eating and sleeping habits.
  7. Manage your expectations. Avoid Facebook and comparing yourself to others. Most people exaggerate their successes and avoid posting their difficulties. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you are less worthy than others.
  8. Volunteer. Assisting others who are in need, worshiping or serving at a spiritual institution or giving of yourself in other ways boosts the mood and shifts the focus from your own feelings.
  9. Manage your thoughts. Read about cognitive therapy and learn how to spot cognitive distortions and reframe them. Dr. Corby is a certified cognitive therapist and can provide guidance.
  10. Maintain good sleeping habits and sleep hygiene. Sleep deprivation can lower your resistance to relapse and can also make you feel depressed. Talk to your therapist to determine if your sleep issues are psychological, and consider having a sleep study done to rule out things like apnea.
  11. Practice good self-care. Prioritize your schedule, balance it, don’t overdo it or overpromise to others. Perfectionism is the enemy to self-love.
  12. Don’t expect that you will feel festive just because it is the holidays. Allow yourself to be authentic and cry, write feelings in a journal, feel your frustration over the past and present, and feel down, so you can clear those feelings away for moments of joy that might pop up.
  13. Remember that this season is temporary. Staying centered, real and supported can help you ride out the urges and vulnerability to relapse and arrive on the other side of the season stronger than ever.


Charles R. Schuster Left Mark on Detroit’s Addiction Recovery Community

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.

The Trial Lawyer’s Use of Psychodrama

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).

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




Social Anxiety: Changing your brain with psychotherapy

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.

Want a good mental work out to cure your bad habits? Try Cognitive Brain Training

 A promising new type of cognitive therapy called “brain training” has been demonstrated to be useful in treating drug addiction, according to an article recently published in the recent issue of Biological Psychiatry:

Warren K. Bickel, Richard Yi, Reid D. Landes, Paul F. Hill, Carole Baxter. Remember the Future: Working Memory Training Decreases Delay Discounting Among Stimulant Addicts. Biological Psychiatry, 2011; 69 (3).

 I use this type of therapy in my office to treat all types of problems ranging from depression, to AD/HD, to addictive problems. This new study adds significant weight to earlier preliminary results that brain training is highly useful for problematic substance abuse.

We have come to learn that drug addiction leads to changes in the actual structure and function of the brain. People with compulsive addictions, especially those that are substance in nature, tend to exhibit a trait called “delay discounting”, or the tendency to devalue rewards and punishments that occur in the future. People with addictions may at the same time have a predisposition towards what is called “reward myopia” which is the tendency towards the immediate gratification that drugs can provide with addictions.

Warren Bickel, Ph.D., a pioneer in Brain Training and his colleagues at the Center for Addiction Research in Little Rock, Arkansas borrowed a rehabilitation approach used successfully with patients suffering from stroke, or traumatic brain injury. The therapy approach involved stretching general memory capabilities. Subjects addicted to stimulants were given brain exercises that focused on strengthening the areas of the brain associated with storing and managing information reasoning to guide behavior. Dr. Bickel’s team found that by strengthening the brain circuitry, they also reduced the addicts devaluation of longer term rewards.

Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry comments on the article:“The legal punishments and medical damages associated with the consumption of drugs of abuse may be meaningless to the addict in the moment when they have to choose whether or not to take their drug. Their mind is filled with the imagination of the pleasure to follow. We now see evidence that this myopic view of immediate pleasures and delayed punishments is not a fixed feature of addiction. Perhaps cognitive training is one tool that clinicians may employ to end the hijacking of imagination by drugs of abuse.”

My experience with Brain Training has been equally exciting, in terms of seeing clients learn to develop competing thoughts and goals that not only challenge their maladaptive patterns (e.g., depression, anxiety, impulse delay with AD/HD or substance abuse), but replace those thoughts with real expectations of rewards in the future, if the client were to change his or her old pattern. This “old versus new” brain idea is explained to clients as offering a choice – either clients can revert to old “reptilian” responses that keep them locked in their psychic pain, or give a good mental workout to new neuroconnections that satisfy and encourage new thought and behavior patterns, and rewards! Putting it another way, if we envision in our minds new positive possibilities, we can not only get excited about those potential outcomes in our lives, but we can actually increase our brain’s likelihood that the brain “muscle” will train and grow in response to our cognitive strengthening exercises. How cool is that! So maximize your “brain
plasticity.” Cognitive Brain Training is an extremely useful addition to another great technique I use, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), which will be the topic of my next blog. Stay tuned.