AAFP: The Art and Science of Expert Witness Testimony

Presented By Karen Postal, PhD, ABPP
Karen Postal, PhD, ABPP

4 Hours | 4 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on AAFP: The Art and Science of Expert Witness Testimony is presented by Karen Postal, PhD, ABPP in partnership with the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP).

This program shares the fruits of a multiyear research project with in-depth interviews of attorneys, judges, and seasoned forensic experts from multiple disciplines (including psychology, neuropsychology, medicine, and economics), highlighting and offering bridges for the areas where the needs and expectations of the courtroom collide with experts’ communication habits developed over years of academic and professional training. Rather than seeing testimony as a one-way download from expert to jurors, the program focuses on the direct, dynamic, unique communication relationship that develops as each juror’s lived experience interacts with the words experts speak.

The academic tradition of “methods-centered credibility” is also expanded to include “person-centered credibility,” where warmth, confidence, and relentless attention to detail build trust with jurors. Strategies and techniques are shared for disrupting traditional academic communication and creating access to expert opinions with vivid, clear language and strong visuals. The difficult but necessary emotional work of the courtroom is addressed with specific techniques to regulate emotions in order to maintain person-centered credibility and keep the needs of jurors front and center through cross-examination. Rather than advice on testifying from a single expert, the research paradigm shared in the program offers a unique experience: like being personally mentored by over 85 attorneys, judges, and seasoned experts as they share their observations, insights, and strategies: not to “win” as a defense, prosecution, or plaintiff expert, but to be productive in helping jurors and other triers of fact do their difficult intellectual job in deciding a case.

Intended Audience

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

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training 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.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

Describe the challenges and benefits of recognizing the unique, direct, dynamic communication partnership that develops with jurors during testimony in our increasingly diverse society.

Describe person-centered credibility (how judges, attorneys, and jurors typically understand credibility) from methods-centered credibility (how academically trained experts to understand credibility).

Describe specific ways that traditional academic communication patterns prevent jurors from accessing expert witness opinions and diminish our person-centered credibility.

Describe several disruptive communication strategies on both direct and cross-examination that allow us to create moments of access and engagement with jurors.


Presented By

Karen Postal, PhD, ABPP

Karen Postal is a past president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on improving communication about neuroscience with patients and the general public. She is the author of Feedback That Sticks: The Art of Com...


1. Introduction

2. Disruptive Shift - I

3. Disruptive Shift - II

4. Disruptive Shift - III

5. Common Sense

6. Disruptive Shift - IV

7. Disruptive Shift - V

8. Disruptive Shift - VI

9. Emotional Regulation Techniques

10. Disruptive Shift - VII

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!

Program Partner

American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP)

We are proud to partner with the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) for this training. AAFP is a non-profit organization of board-certified forensic psychologists whose mission is to contribute to the development and maintenance of forensic psychology as a specialized field of study, research, and practice. The Academy does this by providing high-quality continuing education workshops, providing a forum for the exchange of scientific information among its members, and conferring awards upon outstanding students and practitioners in the field of forensic psychology.

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