10 Hours | 10 CEs

This on-demand training program on Effective Expert Testimony for Forensic Evaluation is presented by Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP.

It is devoted to expert testimony that mental health professionals provide in depositions, trials, and administrative hearings. As such, this program should be of interest to all mental health professionals who testify in legal proceedings, regardless of their sub-specialty.

 The focus is on oral communication of one’s activities and opinions. Thus, the preparation of interrogatories, affidavits, and reports is not addressed. First reviewed are the research examining, and the general principles of, effective communication in legal proceedings. This is followed by a discussion of the two primary contexts in which expert witnesses testify (depositions and trials/hearing), their similarities, and differences. Next reviewed are nuts and bolts strategies witnesses should employ, followed by an extended discussion of direct and cross-examination techniques and strategies. 

Throughout the program how professional ethics, practice guidelines, and rules of evidence and procedure, shape expert testimony are discussed. Considerable use is made of case examples, using excerpts from trial and deposition transcripts, and video recordings of experts testifying.


Presented By

Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Randy Otto is a licensed psychologist and is board certified in clinical psychology and forensic psychology (ABPP). He has been a faculty member at the University of South Florida since 1989. Although his primary appointment is in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, he also teaches in the Departments of Psychology, Criminology, and Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling. Dr. Otto’s work focuses on the involvement of mental health professionals in the legal system.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

  • Describe the components/qualities of effective communication generally, and effective testimony specifically

  • Describe the differences between testifying at depositions and at trial and testify more effectively in each setting

  • Describe various ways in which credibility and expertise can be communicated when testifying

  • Communicate one’s expertise and credibility more effectively

  • Describe ethical requirements and practice guidelines that impact expert testimony and testify in accordance with them

  • Describe common/typical rules of evidence and procedure shape presentation of expert testimony and testify in a manner that is consistent with these rules

  • Describe and employ pre-testimony preparation strategies that will reduce anxiety

  • Describe an approach for effectively communicating their work and opinions to the legal decision-maker during direct examination

  • Describe and effectively respond to common cross-examination gambits.

  • Intended Audience

    This on-demand program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

  • Experience Level

    This on-demand program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

  • CE / CPD Credit

    APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

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