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About Tucson Psychologist Dr. Thomas Brunner

Doctor Thomas Brunner

Resume / CV

Click Here to download my General CV / Resume.
Click Here to download my Forensic Vitae / Resume


Dr. Thomas (Tom) M. Brunner, often called “Dr.B”, has been a grower of People and organizations for over 20 years.  You may view his LinkedIn page to review his full work portfolio.  Sign up for his newsletter here.

At the Nuclear Core of all of his Clinical, Forensic, and Talent Development work is a passion for helping people reach their true potential.  He has written over 250 Good to Great blogs, many of which have gone viral, including “10 Character Flaws That Can Derail Even Good People”, which has been read by over 160,000 people.

Low Volume, Personal Customization, High Quality

Dr. Brunner uses Great People Science (GPS) tools to deliver innovatively tailored, deeply impactful, and uniquely durable solutions.  To do this, he has intentionally chosen a low volume, high-quality counseling style, rather than the more popular movement toward “corporate” counseling.

See my full list of clinical, career guidance and forensic evaluation and treatment services 

Thought Leader in the Field

He is considered a thought leader in the field of psychology, and his blogs have been read by thousands of people around the world – they have even picked up by high profile news organizations, including his blog about a Career Guidance book being published in the international and neutral news aggregate website www.realclearmarkets.com.

Dr. Brunner obtained the highest level of training in the behavioral health field and is a licensed psychologist. Click here to read what the difference is between a psychologist and other professionals.

Down-to-Earth, Uniquely Practical Approach

As psychology moves away from unnecessarily long-term models of care, idle “chit chat” talk therapy and inappropriate over-usage of unhelpful assessment tools, Dr. Brunner’s focus is to provide the most cost-effective assessment and care with the most sustainable results, in the most comfortable environment possible. As a Midwesterner who worked road construction growing up (his father ran a road construction company in Illinois), he prides himself on using a very down-to-earth, user-friendly approach.

Because Dr. Brunner takes such a unique approach, he is consulted by a wide variety of parents and professionals in Southern Arizona and beyond. He has developed a strategy of pinpointing the fundamental factors involved in emotional, behavioral, and learning problems. His strategy is based on a combination of published clinical research, quality training, and working with world-renowned, pioneering personality expert, Dr. Charles Spielberger, Ph.D., ABPP, who was Dr. Brunner’s main graduate school mentor.

Breadth of Training

You deserve to work with someone who precisely separates out each factor causing a problem. Often problems are due to many different factors that may have indirect roots, such as medical issues (e.g., chronic pain causing anxiety). Dr. Brunner has worked in a full variety of clinical contexts, including several medical hospitals, residential facilities, schools, medical and mental health clinics. He has held a variety of positions such as a school psychologist, long-term residential care evaluator and therapist, teaching assistant in residential milieu program, and emergency psychiatric care.

Dr. Brunner was asked by St. Joseph’s Hospital (Tucson, AZ) to assist them with the setting up of their bariatric psychological screening protocol, based on his in-depth medical psychology training (including training at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital, Tampa, FL, USA).

Providing Transparency, Visually Based Precise Planning

Dr. Brunner believes that often, psychologists are not transparent enough. One way he provides complete transparency is sending potential clients examples of his actual psychological reports (sanitized to comply with HIPAA laws), so they can see how he thinks about things. Given his no-nonsense approach, Dr. Brunner is often asked to give a “second opinion” by parents, schools, pediatricians, and/or attorneys on psychological reports completed by other practitioners.

Highly critical of the way psychology does a poor job of helping people visualize and truly grasp complex issues, Dr. Brunner has developed a way to visually model each client’s behaviors and what may be affecting them – this gives people a literal “road map” to work with. Drawing on watching his dad work as a civil engineer, Dr. Brunner has developed a “human engineering” approach, mapping out key issues and dynamics with clients in his conference room so they have crystal-clear functional grasp of everything impacting them. This work leads to a precision-guided plan.

His uniquely impactful approach has led to him being consulted by many organizations, including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tucson Electric Power, University of Arizona Athletics Department, and a wide variety of private, charter, and public schools. Dr. Brunner has been an approved evaluator for several organizations including the University of Arizona Disability Resource Center (DRC), the University of Arizona Athletics Program, and the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN).

Community and Continuing Education Presentations/Training

Dr. Brunner has given numerous local and/or national presentations including at the following venues: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Grand Rounds at University Medical Center, University of Arizona Francis McClelland Institute, Pima County Bar Association, Pima County Medical Society, Pima County Attorney’s Office, State Bar of Arizona Annual Conference, Arizona Association of Family Conciliation Court Annual Conference, and at the University of Florida Health Science Center. 

Dr. Brunner was the keynote speaker at the 15th Annual on Critical Issues facing Children and Adolescents Conference in Salt Lake City.

He has also served as a volunteer and presented at the local CHADD branch which serves parents of children with ADHD.

Stamping out “drive-by” assessments, which lead to misdiagnosis or medication over-prescription

Behavioral science is rapidly advancing every day. Advanced psychological assessment can be difficult to find. One of Dr. B’s most common experiences is parents who have seen a multiplicity of practitioners who have conducted superficial assessments, leading to thousands of dollars in wasted money, a headache, and heartache.

One of Dr. Brunner’s key missions is to combat trends toward superficial “drive-by” assessment, where people are labeled and then quickly medicated, by providing the opposite experience: a thorough yet concise assessment. He has a particular interest in providing precise assessments that not only identify problems, but uncover hidden dynamics, so an overall understanding of personality functioning is obtained.  Audio interview of Dr. Brunner discussing what great assessment can do for you.

Hybrid practitioner, focused on bringing out the best in others

Rather than narrowly focusing on one area of psychology, Dr. Brunner practices from a hybrid model to ensure his work remains fresh and cutting edge. If you type in search terms to his website, you will likely find a blog addressing one of your current concerns.

At the root of his drive to become a psychological expert was the joy of recognizing hidden talents in others and helping people develop and find their most meaningful path.  This has led to his not only wanting to accurately identify the cause of problems in people who are struggling, but to simultaneously help people find the transformative “Deeper Intelligence” they need to live a more meaningful life. When we have meaning, we have joy! 

See Dr. Brunner’s movie revealing a process he developed to help people find their True Potential.

Movement away from generic healthcare, and toward a customized, craftsmen model

Dr. Brunner is a passionate believer that while diagnoses are important, behavioral health professionals are often too narrow in their focus of treating a problem, instead of serving the whole personSee his advice about how to interview a Counselor, Therapist, or Mentor you are thinking of using. He believes deeper healing comes from identifying the unique collection of passions and natural aptitudes each person has so they are fully utilized during his service to each client.

Proven expertise, given high stakes referral requests

Given his status as a published expert, Dr. Brunner is widely consulted in high-stakes situations, including attorneys handling high conflict situations, as well as by high-performance athletes. His clients include the Pima County Conciliation Court, private attorneys, as well as adolescent and/or adult Olympic athletes.

Dr. Brunner has worked closely with many attorneys. He provides high-quality forensic evaluations and expert consultations in the following forensic areas: personal injury/wrongful death, trauma, disability, civil rights, child/adolescent issues, ADA or 504 educational law or related cases (including learning disability), fitness for duty, general pre-employment screening, and general mental health evaluations.

Author of precise measurement tool

Dr. Brunner’s passion for improving the precision and impact of behavioral science assessment led him to invest 5 years of his life into creating a measure of anger for youth. This is known as the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI-2 C/A) which is viewable here. The STAXI-2 C/A is one reason why Dr. Brunner has become a recognized local and national expert in accurate assessment/evaluation of simple to complex problems. The STAXI-2 C/A has been adapted into fourteen (14) languages around the world, and is used with hundreds of youth in the US in athletic, school, medical, outpatient, and forensic settings.

Dr. Brunner feels that all too often, people working in behavioral health will misuse measures. Dr. Brunner brings his experience as the author of a measure to his analysis of every measure that he decides to use, so that he not only chooses the best measures, but he uses them appropriately.

Intense and Rigorous Academic Training

Dr.B earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Florida ([USF] Tampa, FL).  He then completed his psychological residency at an academic teaching hospital, Shands Hospital, at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL).

Following this experience, he completed his postdoctoral year of training at Hillsborough County School District, where he honed his assessment skills while he served school students with severe learning and behavioral challenges. His doctoral training also included work at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital and The Children’s Home in Tampa, Florida.

He has particular expertise with children and adolescents, stemming from research and clinical work with other child experts including Gary Geffken, Ph.D., at the University of Florida. Recently, he published an article on the accurate assessment of ADHD in a book edited by University of Arizona assessment expert, Dr. Nancy Mather.

Previous to this doctoral level of training, he completed his M.A. at the University of Chicago (Chicago, IL) where he specialized in Psychology and Ethics. During this time he also worked in the behavioral health “trenches” as a teacher/behavioral specialist at The University of Chicago’s Orthogenic School. This is a residential facility for severely abused children.

Dr. Brunner is humbled by the fact that in 2010, fellow psychologists from around the State of Arizona nominated him to receive the Early Career Psychologist Award, which is awarded by the Arizona Psychological Foundation.


Community mentorship of young people who will shape our future has always been a key part of his professional mission. That is why one of his most enjoyable activities is mentoring the undergraduate members of his research team, many from the University of Arizona. The vast majority of his intern students have been successfully accepted into highly prestigious, competitive programs such as at the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the George Washington University (Washington, D.C.).

His research team has worked on projects presented here in Tucson (e.g., at the Frances McClelland Research Institute, University of Arizona) as well as to be presented in other countries (Society for Research in Child Development [SRCD] conference, Montreal, Québec, Canada). One of his students received the University of Arizona’s President Award for Undergraduate Research.

He and his wife (a native Tucsonan and veterinarian) are raising two children, two dogs, and four cats. He is an avid cyclist, mountain biker, hiker, and Wildcat Fan! They love gardening together and the challenge of growing plants in the challenging climate of the Sonoran Desert.

Resume / CV

Click Here to download my General CV / Resume.
Click Here to download my Forensic Vitae / Resume.