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Presentation at the Advanced Family Law Conference, Psychologist Panel, Westin LaPaloma, Tucson, Arizona, 2015

Forensic therapy 101:
Therapy recommendations, evidence-based resources, & best practices (2015)

Subtitle: “How to not fumble the therapy ball”

PowerPoint Presentation  and Handouts:
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“Better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football. ” 

–John Heisman


The wisdom of (fictitious) Los Angeles attorney Mickey Haller:

 “You know what my father said about innocent clients?… He said the scariest client a lawyer will ever have is an innocent client.  Because if you mess up and he goes to prison, it’ll scar you for life… He said there is no in between with an innocent client.  No negotiation, no plea bargain, no middle ground.  There’s only one verdict.  You have to put an NG up on the scoreboard.  There’s no other verdict but not guilty”

Levin nodded thoughtfully.

“The bottom line was my old man was a damn good lawyer and he didn’t like having innocent clients, I said.  “I’m not sure I do, either”

–Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer


Presenter: Thomas M. Brunner, PhD

Thomas M. Brunner is President of Dr. Brunner and Associates, a forensic and clinical healthcare and consulting firm serving those in southern Arizona and beyond.  Dr. Brunner has been in practice since 2005, and is a recognized expert in forensic, child/adolescent, and assessment issues.  Dr. Brunner is the author of numerous book chapters and peer reviewed scientific journal articles, has been a keynote speaker, and is senior author of a psychological measure now adapted into 10 languages.  He has received awards for his research and professional contributions, including from the Arizona Psychological Foundation.  Dr. Brunner regularly works with court systems and private attorneys to provide defensible forensic assessment involving high conflict legal decision-making/parenting time, fitness for duty, disability, and general mental health evaluations.  


Topic Index:

What is forensic therapy and who does it?

Who does forensic therapy well?

The scientific status of psychotherapy treatment research – psychologist perspective

What are the “gold standard” psychological references for what is evidence-based?

One gap in the forensic assessment-to-therapy referral road

Best practice “close the gap” principles  – forensic therapy recommendations


Two examples of actual forensic therapy recommendations:

Example of an adult therapy hand-off minimizing chance for fumble:


Example of adult therapy directive for therapist regarding lingering issues that are outside the scope of the evaluation:



AAFC-Guidelines for Court-Involved Therapy (2010):



How to interview a therapist – Tips:


Philosophy underlying Treatment Selection:

–Edited by Catonguay, Louis & Beutler, Larry (2005).  Principles of Therapeutic Change that Work (Oxford Series in Clinical Psychology).

–Beutler, Larry (2000).  Prescriptive Psychotherapy: A Practical Guide to Systematic Treatment Selection.


List of Most Evidence-Based Treatments


–Official List of Empirically Supported Treatments (adults):

You may search by Disorder or by Treatment.  You should read the “Treatment Home” section first.

Examples of Credible Evidence-based Resources:


Links from aforementioned website listing some best practices books.


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Meet Doctor Brunner

Dr. Thomas (Tom) Brunner is a Tucson based psychologist and published expert who has a 20 year track record of clinical excellence, scientific research, teaching, publications, awards and podcast interviews.  He is the senior author of a psychological measure adapted into 14 languages worldwide, and has written over 250 blogs, many of them have gone viral.  He is revolutionizing the field of career guidance with his fresh and trademarked approach that is spreading like wildfire. Sign up here to be notified of soon to be published book, Find Your Real Me: Career Guidance Making You Truly Free.