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Surviving the Witness Box – Court Skills for Psychologists

Event number: 19151
4 CPD hours
Study Group Network
Presenter(s): Dr Phil Watts MAPS MCCLP MCFP

Going to court rates as one of the all-time great fears for many psychologists. However, the likelihood of a therapist ending up in the witness box is increasing all the time. Court is an alien environment and giving good evidence is a learnable skill. Dr Phil has been training professionals to manage their day in court for over 15 years and he is the author of “surviving the witness box: how to give credible evidence in court”. This workshop is designed to teach you the mindset of the legal system so you understand the “game” of court. Importantly it discusses the nature of evidence and what materials the court is likely to rely upon.  How you write your report is critical to the evidence you give in court but the reports will only get a passing mention in this workshop (it is the subject of other study groups). Of importance is how to manage ploys such as hypothetical questions. Managed well, these questions allow you to shine.  Handled badly, you may look ridiculous. Finally, some practical aspects of giving evidence are reviewed such as what is the best time to give evidence, what do you call a judge, and how to look professional. This is an informative and fun workshop which will teach you practical skills.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the “game” of court
  • Know the difference between fact, opinion, and hearsay and why it matters.
  • Learn what some common ploys are and how to manage them
  • Become familiar with practical aspects of giving evidence
  • Tips on being a better expert

About the presenter(s)

Dr Phil Watts is a clinical and forensic psychologist with 25 years’ experience. He is an entertaining presenter, well known to many within the profession. He is from WA but is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Canberra. Dr Phil has recently published a self-treatment guide for men on the topic of internet pornography “IP:DIY Internet Pornography: Do it yourself treatment guide for men”. He has varied interests and has books on shared care, and giving evidence in court.


Please make sure you read the group description and details carefully before registering for a study group. CANCELLATION POLICY: As we keep study group fees to a minimum and presenters are paid according to the numbers who attend, we prefer not to provide refunds other than for 'exceptional, unforeseeable circumstances'. We are happy for you to nominate an alternative attendee or you may transfer to another study group, but only within 2 months as this adds extra admin costs. Cancellations up to 14 days prior to the study group you are registered for will receive a full refund. Cancellations within 1-13 days of the study group will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations within 24 hours of a study group will not be refunded. All cancellations must be given in writing.

Online registration


Psychology Melbourne
2/50 Queen Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Venue is wheelchair accessible
Start date: 16/4/2018
End date: 16/4/2018
Time: 8.30am -12.30pm


APS member: $110
APS student member: $110
Non APS member: $220


APS - Melbourne Branch
The Study Group Network (SGN) is an initiative of the APS Melbourne Branch designed to improve psychologists’ clinical and research skills and to keep them current with new developments.
Contact Karen Holst
03 8662 3300