10 Hours | 10 CEs

This self-paced 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 specialty area. The focus is on oral communication of one’s activities and opinions. Thus, the preparation of interrogatories, affidavits, and reports is not addressed. Reviewed are general principles of effective communication in legal proceedings, research examining effective communication in legal proceedings, research examining effective communication by expert witnesses, strategies, and skills to employ during direct- and cross-examination. Considerable use is made of case examples-using excerpts from trial and deposition transcripts-as well as video recordings of mental health professionals testifying.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the components/qualities of effective testimony

  • Describe differences between testifying at depositions and at trial

  • Describe various aspects of experience (and inexperience) to communicate to the audience their expertise and credibility

  • Describe the rules of evidence that impact their sworn testimony during direct examination and cross examination

  • 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 effective responses to commonly-used cross-examination ploys.

Presented By

Randy Otto, PhD, ABPP

Randy Otto, Ph.D., ABPP is an Associate Professor in the NSU Department of Clinical and School Psychology. Previously, he was a faculty member in the Department of Mental Health Law & Policy at the University of South Florida, where he served for 33 years. Dr. Otto was awarded doctoral and master’s degrees in clinical psychology from Florida State University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Rochester. Dr. Otto’s research and writing focus on forensic psychological assessment. He has developed two psychological tests that are used in forensic assessment settings, and he has authored and edited books on forensic psychological evaluation, expert testimony and report writing, ethics in forensic psychology practice, assessment of trial competence, violence risk assessment and Florida mental health law. Dr. Otto has served as president of the American Psychology-Law Society, the American Board of Forensic Psychology, and the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (Division 41) and has received awards for his professional contributions from the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, the American Psychology-Law Society, the Society for Personality Assessment, the New York State Psychological Association, the University of Nebraska, and the University of California, San Francisco. He currently serves as Executive Director of the American Board of Forensic Psychology. Dr. Otto shares that his daughter is continually amazed that some are actually willing to pay to hear him speak, when she regularly volunteers to pay to have him shut up. When not at work or with his wife and daughter, Dr. Otto is likely to be found at a poker table or on a motorcycle.

Collect Badges, Earn Certificates

This is a badge-earning course, which means it will help you earn a certificate that can be showcased on digital platforms like LinkedIn.

  • Intended Audience

    This self-paced course is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

  • Experience Level

    This self-paced course 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.


  • 1


    • Review Before Proceeding

  • 2

    Presenting Expert Findings & Opinions Via Testimony

    • Lesson 1 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 3

    Effective Communication - The Four Cs

    • Lesson 2 Video

    • Testifying in Court

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 4


    • Lesson 3 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 5

    Appearance and Presentation

    • Lesson 4 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 6


    • Lesson 5 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 7

    Courtroom Testimony

    • Lesson 6 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 8

    Structure and Organization of Courtroom Testimony

    • Lesson 7 Video

    • Evidence-Based Recommendations for Expert-Witness Testimony

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 9

    Cross Examination Strategies and Responses

    • Lesson 8 Video

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 10


    • Instructions

    • Evaluation

    • Submission Verification

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

  • Expert Instructors

    Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

  • CE Credit

    Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

  • Convenience & Flexibility

    Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!

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