Marriage Counselor, Dr Laurel Anderson Testimony, Johnny Depp v Amber Heard Def Trial

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Marriage Counselor, Dr Laurel Anderson Testimony, Johnny Depp v Amber Heard Def Trial

 

 

A video deposition of Dr Laurel Anderson, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's couples' therapist, was presented during Johnny's WaPo article defamation trial on April 14, 2022. As a therapist and author of several books about partner abuse I've been following this case for a couple of years and was particularly interested in taking a detailed look at this testimony. 

As I worked my way through Dr Anderson's testimony, I developed more and more questions about the therapy and this post became much more extensive than I anticipated.

Interestingly, during this same period of time, I am working on writing a book chapter with tips for therapists who work with abused men. Looking inside the therapy this couple received can provide valuable insight to the general public, therapists, and others in the helping professions.

 

What's in This Post

The first half of this post provides background to Dr Anderson's testimony and testimony analysis with selected transcript excerpts. 

The second half is a more continuous transcript presented in a timeline sequence without much commentary.

Who is Dr Laurel Anderson?
Dr Anderson's Trial Testimony
Transcript of Dr Anderson's Trial Testimony
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Therapy Sessions
Background for the Couple's Counseling with Dr Anderson
The Significance of the Starting Date For Counseling
Dr Anderson Noted that Amber Dominated the Joint Appointments
Johnny Accuses Amber of Physical Abuse But Isn't Supported in Session
DV Discussion (Or Lack There Of) in Appointments after Johnny's Accusation that Amber Hit Him
Amber Controlled the Narrative
Johnny May Not Have Known that Amber Was Talking DV With Dr Anderson
In Individual Sessions, Amber Admits Hitting Johnny
Analyzing the Excuses for Amber's Violence
Dec 15, 2015: Amber Asks Dr Anderson If She Would Have a Divorce Advantage If She Files a DV Accusation with Police First
Dec 17th, Amber Shows Dr Anderson Bruises
"She Gave as Good as She Got"
The "Mutual Abuse" Controversy
Was Johnny and Amber's Abuse Mutual?
Dr Laurel Anderson Testimony Transcript Excerpts re Counseling Sessions

Books about partner abuse by Ann Silvers

 

Who is Dr Laurel Anderson?

Dr Anderson is a long-time couples' therapist based in Los Angeles.

She is a Clinical Psychologist who has been providing individual and couples' counseling in LA for 40 years. 

She met with Amber and Johnny separately and together several times between Oct 2015 and June 2016. 

 

Dr Anderson's Trial Testimony

Dr Anderson didn't testify in person during the defamation trial. Her testimony was presented as a video deposition. During the deposition, both parties had a chance to question the psychologist.

Her testimony focused on several sets of documents

  • Emails (such as ones about introductions and appointment arrangements)

  • Dr Anderson's Appointment Ledger

  • Dr Anderson's Therapy Session Notes

  • Her Treatment Summary

Additionally, she offered some impressions of the couple's relationship and behaviors. 

Click here for the video recording of Dr Anderson's Johnny v Amber Day 3 defamation trial testimony

Note that we only know about the parts of Dr Anderson's therapy and impressions that were shared during her testimony. 

It appears that Dr Anderson didn't have access to all the information about Johnny and Amber's relationship that has been made public the last several years. We may view information that she absorbed during their therapy differently than she did because we have had access to these other sources of information. 

 

Redactions from Dr Anderson's Client Records

Much of the exhibits pertaining to Dr Anderson are heavily redacted.

From Dr Anderson's testimony, it appears that the non-DV portions of exhibits were redacted:

Dr Anderson (32:44)

"It’s the only thing in this clinical session that apparently was about physical abuse or else it would not have been redacted out."

 

Dr Anderson's description of her Treatment Summary vs Therapy Session Notes

"It's a treatment summary. When I was first subpoenaed or my notes were required years ago. My notes are jumbly. They don't say a lot. They're confusing . . . So I did what psychologists do, you go through all of those notes and your brain because it's not as if you're not left with a very clear sense of what went on.

So I took everything I thought and believed conceptually about them. I went through all of my notes, and I wrote this treatment summary. And that one paragraph is still there."

Note: It sounds like the majority of the summary is redacted because it doesn’t refer to DV.

 

Transcript of Dr Anderson's Trial Testimony

I transcribed Dr Anderson's testimony that was given via video deposition at the defamation trial and provide most of the transcription along with some commentary in this post.  

I didn't include parts of the testimony about things like appointment dates and lengths, but did include my summary of that information.

I'm not presenting this as a perfect transcription, but I did check it for mistakes. (Just sayin' I might have missed something.)

Times given in brackets throughout represent the time on the transcript. Any underlining that appears in the transcript excerpts is added by me to draw attention to that portion.

 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Therapy Sessions

Marriage counseling and therapy

Dr Anderson had a mixture of sessions that were one-on-one and with both JD and AH present, but they were described by her as all focused on couples' therapy.

Discussions of the noted sessions appear in the transcript later in this post.

4 in-person sessions with Johnny and Amber together:

  • Oct 1, 2015 -- This session was discussed during testimony.

  • Oct 14, 2015 -- These session notes are completely redacted so it seems there was nothing about DV discussed. 

  • Oct 21, 2015 -- JD left part way through the session and the session continued with Amber alone. Dr. Anderson: “Each threatened [to walk out] and stood up.” The session notes are completely redacted so it seems there was nothing about DV discussed. 

  • Nov 12, 2015 -- There was no discussion of this session in the testimony. 

 

2 in-person sessions with Johnny:

  • Oct 7, 2015 -- This session is described as an "Intake". That typically means that they went over personal history forms. No notes from the session were discussed in trial. Note that Amber's parallel intake session was discussed as it had DV-related content.

  • June 18, 2016 -- This session was discussed during testimony.

 

4 in-person or phone sessions with Amber:

  • Oct 6, 2015 -- Amber's intake session. This session was discussed during testimony.

  • Oct 24, 2015 -- Phone session. No discussion of session content during the trial.   

  • Dec 15, 2015 -- This session was discussed during testimony.

  • Jan 13, 2016 -- This session was discussed during testimony.

AdditionallyAmber dropped by Dr Anderson's office Dec 17, 2015 to show her bruises on her face (photos and in person). This meeting was not included in the list of sessions but is discussed in the testimony excerpts below. 

 

And there were 4 cancelled appointments in 2015:

  • Oct 29
  • Nov 4
  • Dec 4
  • Dec 10

 

 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Relationship and Legal Battles Timeline

To sort out Johnny and Amber's relationship, trials, and tribulations, I created a timeline including links to supporting documents, articles, videos etc.

Click here for the timeline. 

 

 

 

Background for the Couple's Counseling with Dr Anderson

A friend of Amber Heard, Christian Carino, introduced Amber to Dr Anderson via email a couple of times.

 

March 28, 2015 Introduction

The first introduction is March 28, 2015: 

Laurel, my closest friend Amber on copy, wants to come see you alone first and then with her husband, Johnny. We'll leave it to you two to arrange a time.”

Amber does not appear to follow-up on it at that time.

Interesting about March 2015: Mar 8th is when Johnny's finger was severed in Australia during a fight between JD and AH.

 

Sept 2015 Introduction and Appointment Request

The second introduction was September 9, 2015. After this introduction, Amber corresponds with Dr Anderson about possibly making an appointment. 

Amber emailed Dr Anderson on Sept 27, 2015:

“Hi, Laurel. Johnny and I are back in town and would love to know if you have any availability to see us this week.”

 

The Significance of the Starting Date For Counseling

That Amber emailed Dr Anderson about an appointment on Sept 27, 2015 is interesting in that we have a recorded 2-hour conversation between Johnny and Amber from the day before. 

In the Sept 26, 2015 recording, it is evident that Johnny fled the penthouse apartment the night before because Amber had hit him. 

The recording includes many admissions of violence by Amber and demonstrates her abusive tone, attitude, and manipulations.

In the conversation, Johnny repeatedly states that he needs to leave whenever Amber gets physical and Amber repeatedly criticizes Johnny for taking that stance.

Here are some of the most famous excerpts from the Sept 26, 2015 conversation: 

Johnny and Amber recorded conversation Sept 26 2015 

 

recorded conversation Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Sept 26 2015

 

Amber Heard admits to abusing Johnny 

 

 

I wanted to know more about this conversation than just the highlights so I transcribed the entire 2 hours.

Click here for the transcription and my analysis of the Sept 26, 2015 conversation.  

 

What's Not In Dr Anderson's Testimony

There are therapy notes where Amber admits to hitting Johnny, throwing a can at him, and initiating physical fights. But at no point in any of Dr Anderson's testimony does Johnny say that he was physically violent with Amber.

The therapist's notes show that Amber accuses Johnny of having been the first to hit, but Johnny is not present during her Oct 6, 2015 session when this accusation is leveled.

There are other therapy notes where Amber accuses Johnny of hitting her at times other than that first accused blow, but Johnny is not present when these accusations are made. 

 

Question (01:03:35)

"When we were going through Amber's, the incidents where Amber described Mr. Depp being violent, Mr. Depp was not present. Correct?"

Dr Anderson (01:03:46)

"That's true."

Dr Anderson's notes and testimony explicitly provides psychological reasons for Amber's physical attacks on Johnny several times (32:44) (33:42) (40:39), but there isn't that same attention to trying to explain why Johnny would hit Amber. This contributes to a sense that Johnny as an aggressor was not a focus of therapy. 

The one time that it is noted that Johnny accused Amber of hitting him, it is also noted that Amber didn't deny it and that she aggressively changed the subject. We can infer from the testimony that Amber didn't take the opportunity when they were in that session together, to counter with any accusations of DV against Johnny. 

 

Dr Anderson Noted that Amber Dominated the Joint Appointments

Marriage Counselor Testimony Dr Anderson Def Trail Johnny Depp v Amber Heard

 

Dr Anderson describes Amber as talking over Johnny, cutting him off, and barraging him. 

Dr Anderson (13:33)

“Ms. Heard had a jack hammer style of talking. She was very amped up. He had trouble talking at a similar pace. Their dialogue -- he was cut off a lot. … He couldn't keep up with her rapid fire way of conversation. And so he was really overwhelmed.”

Dr Anderson (31:15)

"She talked over him. She had rapid fire talking.”

Dr Anderson (31:30)

“I pointed out the process to her at some point, and she got it that no one could actually have a decent dialogue with her if she was rapid firing and talking over and just barraging. It was a process issue.”

 

Johnny Accuses Amber of Physical Abuse But Isn't Supported in Session

During the 1st session Johnny and Amber had with Dr Anderson, Johnny mentions that Amber hit him.

Amber takes the conversation off in another direction (as an abuser would) and the topic of physical abuse never seems to come up in joint sessions again. 

From Dr Anderson's testimony about the 1st session:

Question (30:20) 

When Mr. Depp told you that Amber hit him in the jaw, did Amber respond in any way? Did she deny it? Did she admit it?”

Dr Anderson (30:30)

“I don't think she denied it, but what I believe from my notes was that she galloped off in a new direction and they continued to talk, and there was no more that Johnny Depp was going to say about what he was reporting. It was more that they started into a fight, and I wrote that their process is a back and forth firing at each other.”

 

It is possible that Dr Anderson tried to return to the topic of Johnny's physical abuse accusation but Johnny was resistant after the haranguing response from Amber to his first attempt at the topic. This could be reflected in the note that "there was no more that Johnny Depp was going to say about what he was reporting."

Pushing a client during a couple's appointment for disclosure about abuse that they are enduring could put them in physical danger at home. If Dr Anderson assessed that as a possibility, it could explain her not forcing the issue in this 1st session.

On the other hand, it is also reasonable to think that Johnny's accusation should have led Dr Anderson to ask lots of follow-up questions so she could assess what, if any, physical violence is present in this couple and the physical safety of both parties. Maybe that happened and we just don't know, but there's no evidence that it happened. 

Therapists and others need to ask themselves whether Johnny's accusation of "being hit in the jaw" didn't get more in-session attention because the accusation came from a man. 

Men typically have a very difficult time broaching the subject of being abused by their wife or girlfriend. There tends to be a lot of shame around the idea that they are being abused and apprehension that they will be believed. Raising the issue and being shot down could easily be enough to stifle any willingness to visit the subject. 

Tweet about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Marriage Counselor Dr Anderson Testimony

DV Discussion (Or Lack There Of) in Appointments after Johnny's Accusation that Amber Hit Him

Dr Anderson therapist testimony Depp Heard Trial Virginia US

 

Dr Anderson appears to have a policy of meeting with each member of a couple separately for an intake session in order to provide an opportunity for each to speak freely about things they may fear bringing up in front of their partner. (Some couples' counselors do this. Many don't. The way that this practice played out for this couple provides an example of how it can backfire.)

After Johnny and Amber's 1st joint session, each of them meet with Dr Anderson alone within the following week.

There is no evidence that the topic of DV comes up in the individual intake session that Dr Anderson had with Johnny alone.

BUT domestic violence was discussed in Amber's individual intake session.

Question (32:24)

“So tell us what you mean in that one section. ‘He hits her. No closed fist. She hits back and now starts it for pride because father hit her.’ Would you please tell us what you meant by that?”

Dr Anderson (32:44)

This is her reporting to me. It’s the only thing in this clinical session that apparently was about physical abuse or else it would not have been redacted out.

So when she said in terms of physical abuse that he hits her, a no close fist means an open hand slap to me. And she says that she hits back and now she starts it and sometimes hits him first because her history is having been violated by her father physically and just out of pride, a lot of things trigger her. And if she's triggered, she would hit him first.”

Dr Anderson met with Amber alone several other times.

The testimony shows that DV was discussed during 3 out of 4 of the solo appointments that Amber had with Dr Anderson. (More on the details later.)

From Dr Anderson's perspective, these individual sessions were part of the couple's counseling:

Dr Anderson (26:38)

"...whether I talked to them or saw them individually or as a couple, it was all in service of couples therapy."

In these individual sessions, Amber is free to portray what's going on in the relationship without Johnny questioning that portrayal.

There is no evidence that the subject of physical violence comes up in any of the remaining joint sessions. (It's possible that it came up and we just don't know about it, but the lack of testimony about these sessions points toward them being about subjects other than DV.)

The probability that DV wasn't discussed in joint sessions other than the one squashed mention of it in the first session is supported by this testimony:

Question (01:03:35)

"When we were going through Amber's, the incidents where Amber described Mr. Depp being violent, Mr. Depp was not present. Correct?"

Dr Anderson (01:03:46)

"That's true."

Dr Anderson is told repeatedly in individual appointments with Amber that there has been, and is, physical violence in the relationship. Dr Anderson appears to believe Amber's stories.

Amber described a relationship in which both parties are in physical danger. It is difficult to understand why physical safety would not become a crucially important part of the joint couple's appointments.

 

The Horrible Violence in Australia Isn't Talked About

That domestic violence was skirted as a topic in joint sessions and the intake session when Johnny was alone with Dr Anderson seems to be confirmed by a fact that comes out late in her testimony: the violent episode about 6 months prior to the start of couple's counseling in which Johnny's finger is severed is not mentioned until Johnny has a session with Dr Anderson after the marriage ends. 

Question (01:02:58)

“Do you know did Mr. Depp talk about his fingertip with you before June 18, 2016?”

Dr Anderson (01:03:06)

“No, because I would have written it when he first mentioned it to me.”

Amber and Johnny have competing stories about the March 2015 Australia episode, but both versions are very violent. Johnny's severed finger required surgery and became life-threatening when he contracted MRSA.

Johnny at first told the hospital that he cut his finger off by accident. Some time around the London libel trial in the UK, Johnny said that Amber was angry in Australia about his desire for a post-nuptial agreement and threw a liquor bottle at him smashing his hand on the counter and cutting off his finger tip. (It would not be unusual for a DV victim to initially turn attention away from publicly shaming their partner and then tell the truth later.)

Amber claims that Johnny smashed his finger himself in a drug-fueled rage. And that he hit her, dragged her across broken glass, and penetrated her with a liquor bottle, etc. (The penetrated her with a liquor bottle part may be a new accusation with the US trial. I haven't heard it before. There was some testimony from the London trial that was under seal, so she may have presented this story there and it wasn't made public until now.)

Whoever's story you believe, if Dr Anderson didn't know about this event, she was handicapped in understanding, assessing, and counseling this couple.

 

Amber Controlled the Narrative

If DV was never brought up again in joint sessions after Johnny is shut down in the 1st session when he raised the issue, and it isn't discussed in Johnny's individual intake session, but it is discussed in solo sessions with Amber─then Amber controlled the narrative that Dr Anderson received.

Even though Dr Anderson clearly recognized Amber's abusive way of talking to Johnny and accepted that Amber sometimes initiated physical violence against him (as Amber told her on more than one occasion), Dr Anderson's opinion of what went on in the marriage was potentially distorted by Amber being given free reign to plant her unchecked anti-Johnny narrative:

  • accusing Johnny of hitting her first (32:34), and

  • excusing her violence as reactionary (32:44) (34:53) (45:57) (52:29) (52:49) (53:42).

 

Johnny May Not Have Known that Amber Was Talking DV With Dr Anderson

Something else that concerns me about the possibility that Amber was telling Dr Anderson stories about physical abuse in sessions when Johnny was absent, but those stories weren't mentioned in joint couple's appointments: Johnny could have had the impression that stories of their physically violent encounters weren't part of their marriage counseling.

(I've worked with couples who eventually disclose information about their relationship that they had agreed amongst themselves to keep secret from me. It has typically been the case that one member of the couple is motivated to keep embarrassing information from being talked about.)

Dr Anderson would be potentially crossing ethics lines if she shared information from an individual session during a couple's counseling appointment. It is possible that she has some special exception to the rules about disclosure of personal health information in her couple's client contract, but typical ethical constraints is for non-disclosure. 

Johnny may never have known that Amber was telling Dr Anderson anything about DV until after their therapy was over and he received the information from other sources.

He may not have even known that Amber was seeing Dr Anderson for any one-on-one appointments beyond the first individual intake sessions they each had.

 

In Individual Sessions, Amber Admits Hitting Johnny 

In her intake individual session after the 1st couple's appointment, Amber admits to hitting Johnny, including initiating physical violence on occasion, but says Johnny hit her first:

Question (32:24)

“So tell us what you mean in that one section. ‘He hits her. No closed fist. She hits back and now starts it for pride because father hit her.’ Would you please tell us what you meant by that?”

Dr Anderson (32:44)

“This is her reporting to me. It’s the only thing in this clinical session that apparently was about physical abuse or else it would not have been redacted out.

So when she said in terms of physical abuse that he hits her, a no close fist means an open hand slap to me. And she says that she hits back and now she starts it and sometimes hits him first because her history is having been violated by her father physically and just out of pride, a lot of things trigger her. And if she's triggered, she would hit him first.”

 

Analyzing the Excuses for Amber's Violence

 

Marriage Counselor Testimony Dr Anderson Def Trail Johnny Depp v Amber Heard

 

 

Excuses/reasons for Amber's violence against Johnny are given throughout Dr Anderson's testimony.

From Dr Anderson's testimony about her Treatment Summary: 

Question (16:04)

“And how did you come to the understanding that on some occasions Miss Heard physically abused Mr. Depp?

Dr Anderson (16:11)

Miss Heard reported that.”

Question (16:12)

“What did Miss Heard report to you?”

Dr Anderson (16:15)

“That it was a point of pride. Two things.

It was a point of pride to her. If she felt disrespected to initiate a fight and her father had beaten her, she was not going to.

And the second one is what she reported to me, which is if he was going to leave her to deescalate from the fight, she would strike him to keep him there. She would rather be in a fight than have him leave.”

 

From Dr Anderson's testimony related to a phone session with Amber on Dec 15, 2015:

Question (39:48)

[Reading from the session notes.] “Then last night, Monday, she slapped him as he sat there talking incoherently.

Dr Anderson (40:07)

"This was...Ms. Heard talking on the phone to me. Mr. Depp's mother was in ICU. He had been doing a lot of he was fucked up, as she would say, on a lot of drugs. And she slapped him because he was being incoherent in talking about being with another woman."

Question (40:34)

"Did she tell you that he had hit her first, or was she the one who initiated the slap?"

Dr Anderson (40:39)

"She initiated that one because I think she felt demeaned and threatened." [Note: There is nothing to indicate that Amber was threatened by Johnny physically, but Dr Anderson may have concluded that Amber felt threatened that Johnny would leave her because of the accusation of her having an affair with another woman.]

 

I think it is important that people recognize that reasons for behavior don't excuse behavior.
 
Reasons for behavior don't excuse behavior
 
Women's violence against men is often excused away. In particular, women's abuse of men is often blamed on the men that are the target of their abuse. Men are made responsible for their own actions and the woman's actions. (I talk more about this in another post: Why is it So Hard To Recognize Abuse OF Men BY Women as a Problem?)

This "blame the victim" mentality when it comes to abused men is reminiscent of what DV activists say they are fighting against—but they typically ONLY fight against it when a woman is the designated victim. 

It is unclear to me whether Dr Anderson excuses Amber's behavior or is noting reasons for Amber's behavior as areas of focus for therapy. 

Let's take a look at some of the reasons/excuses mentioned above. 
 
1. "It was a point of pride to her. If she felt disrespected"

The excuse that "I hit them because they disrespected me" is a marker of someone who grossly overreacts and turns to physical violence when they are emotionally hurt. It is a common justification for domestic violence and other violence.

It is the justification that Will Smith and others gave when Will went up on the Oscar's stage and hit Chris Rock after Chris told a joke that Will felt disrespected his wife.
 
2. "if he was going to leave her to deescalate from the fight, she would strike him to keep him there"

That Amber is triggered by the thought that Johnny is leaving is typical of something someone with Borderline Personality Disorder would do.

Extreme fear of abandonment and becoming abusive when that fear is triggered is very typical of people with BPD.

While a diagnosis of Amber was not presented by Dr Anderson during Johnny's defamation trial in the US, Johnny made the claim during the UK libel trial against the Sun newspaper that Dr Anderson said that Amber has BPD and other personality issues.

 
Did Dr Anderson diagnosis Amber Heard as BPD, Sociopath, Narcissist? 
 

From her testimony presented at the US defamation trial, Dr Anderson does not appear to have the advantage we have in hearing the 2-hour recorded conversation between Amber and Johnny that occurred the day before Amber emailed Dr Anderson to set up an initial marriage counseling appointment.

A lot of that conversation is Amber returning time and again to chastising and demeaning Johnny for leaving fights and Johnny trying to get her to see that he must leave when she gets physical. 

Dr Anderson testified that Amber says she hits Johnny "to keep him there," but from the recording we know that Johnny has a pattern of leaving when Amber gets physical. 

 

Dec 15, 2015: Amber Asks Dr Anderson If She Would Have a Divorce Advantage If She Files a DV Accusation with Police First

 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Defamation trial Therapists testimony

 

During a phone call session between Amber and Dr Anderson Dec 15, 2015, Amber asks "Will she have advantage if she leaves him but files with police for abuse first?"

This is stunning given that earlier in the same phone session Amber stated that she hit Johnny "as he sat there talking incoherently." 

This violence against Johnny happened when he was supposedly "fucked up, as she would say, on a lot of drugs" and "Mr. Depp's mother was in ICU."

[Side note: Amber's accusations against Johnny re DV in both the UK libel trial and US defamation trial spend a lot of time attacking Johnny for his use of drugs and alcohol, setting up the idea that his drug use fuels his violence, but here we have Amber telling her therapist that she initiated a physical fight because Johnny was "fucked up on a lot of drugs."]

Here is Dr Anderson's testimony about the Dec 15, 2015 phone appointment with Amber:

Question (39:48)

[Reading from the session notes.] “Then last night, Monday, she slapped him as he sat there talking incoherently. Who slapped who?”

Dr Anderson (40:01)

"I actually know what happened."

Question (40:06)

"What happened?"

Dr Anderson (40:07)

"This was, as I said, Ms. Heard talking on the phone to me. Mr. Depp's mother was in ICU. He had been doing a lot of, he was fucked up, as she would say, on a lot of drugs. And she slapped him because he was being incoherent in talking about being with another woman."

Question (40:34)

"Did she tell you that he had hit her first, or was she the one who initiated the slap?"

Dr Anderson (40:39)

"She initiated that one because I think she felt demeaned and threatened."

Question (40:44)

"And this is what she reported to you, correct?"

Dr Anderson (40:48)

"Yes."

Question (40:52)

"He was not on the call when she made these allegations, was he?"

Dr Anderson (40:59)

"No."

. . . 

Question (42:33)

“Directing your attention to the last snippet from that session. ‘Will she have advantage if she leaves him but files with police for abuse first?’ Was that a question that she asked you?”

Dr Anderson (42:52)

“Yes. This was her talking out loud, trying to strategize for herself.”

A few minutes later in Dr Anderson's testimony, they are discussing her Treatment Summary where Dr Anderson describes this slap of Johnny as Amber "trying to initiate a fight." (I double-checked the recording to make sure that the transcript was right because this wording seems to indicate that Dr Anderson believed that Amber purposefully tried to start physical fights.)

Question (53:42)
"Okay, let's move to the next page, please. And I just want to focus on the one snippet on base, page three. ‘She reported trying to initiate a fight with him one night by slapping him when she was offended by what he said.’"

 

There is no mention of Johnny hitting Amber in Dr Anderson's notes or testimony about this phone session. 

  

Prophecies of What Was to Come

After Johnny told Amber that he was divorcing her in May 2016, Amber did several things:

  1. May 21, 2016: She called the police and accused Johnny of DV when he was at the penthouse to pick up a few belongings (he had moved out of the penthouse a month before) before leaving the country for a couple of months for work. [For more on what happened on this date: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard May 2016 Domestic Violence Abuse Accusation, What Happened?]

  2. May 23, 2016: She files for divorce. 

  3. May 24, 2016: She had her lawyer send Johnny's lawyer a letter threatening to go public with accusations of DV unless he agreed to a lucrative financial divorce settlement.

  4. May 27, 2016: When Johnny did not agree to her financial demands, she filed for an emergency ex-parte Request for Restraining Order even though he is not in the state and will not be back for an extended period of time. She posses for paparazzo with a visible "bruise" on her check. 

  5. She releases a story to People magazine. June 1, 2016:

"Amber Heard states that “there was one severe incident in December 2015 when I truly feared for my life.”

These new, exclusive photos in the latest issue of PEOPLE show Heard with facial injuries, including an apparently bruised eye and cut lip – allegedly caused by Depp in that incident."

 

Dec 17th, Amber Shows Dr Anderson Bruises 

Within a couple of days of the Dec 15, 2015 phone call session, Amber goes to see Dr Anderson in-person. She doesn't go to see her for a session. She goes to show her pictures and in-person bruises on her face.

This testimony begins with a reference to Dr Anderson's treatment summary.

There does not seem to be session notes to back up her summary regarding seeing Amber's bruises and pictures of bruising. And Dr Anderson testifies that she did not keep copies of the pictures for their file. (This seems surprising. I would certainly want copies of the pictures for my file if my client presented me with something similar, and I would make detailed notes about this interaction with a client whether it was an official "session" or not.)

The attorneys ask Dr Anderson quite a lot questions about the bruises that she saw.

Question (52:49)

[Referring to the Treatment Summary.] “Yeah. And I want to ask you about that one paragraph. I think you've described this in the course of your testimony, but I did want to ask you about your sentence: ‘She reported always hitting him back as a point of pride, but admitted that she eventually initiated the hitting herself.’ Is the she you're referring to, Ms. Heard?"

Dr Anderson (53:34)

“It is.”

Question (53:35)

“And is the ‘him’ you're referring to, Johnny Depp?”

Dr Anderson (53:41)

“It is.”

Question (53:42)

"Okay, let's move to the next page, please. And I just want to focus on the one snippet on base, page three. ‘She reported trying to initiate a fight with him one night by slapping him when she was offended by what he said.’"

Question (54:37)

“Then in the last sentence: ‘It was also at this time that she showed me photos of her injuries.’ When did Miss Heard show you photos of her alleged injuries?”

Dr Anderson (54:54)

“Well, to the best of my pulling together the information I wrote down, I'm saying it was right after that fight. And my recollection is she came in --- she talked to me by phone, and then came in the next day. Or at least I thought somewhere around the time she got the injuries. I know she came in in person to show me.”

Question (55:24)

“Did she show you photos or did she show you both? You said she showed you photos. And so is it your testimony that she showed you photos of her injuries shortly after the alleged event.”

Dr Anderson (55:45)

“Somewhere in the period while she still had injuries. She showed me photos, but she also came in and showed me in person.

Question (55:54)

“And what did she show you in person?”

Dr Anderson (55:58)

“Bruising on her face.”

Question (56:00)

“Other than the bruising on her face, what other injuries did she show you?”

Dr Anderson (56:06)

“I don't remember. There may have been more, but I don't remember.”

. . .

Question (57:14)

“Go back very briefly to exhibit two. And this refers to a session that was just you and Ms. Heard, correct?”

Dr Anderson (57:42)

“Yes.”

Question(57:43)

“And this call, which was just between you and Ms. Heard and not Mr. Depp involved, that occurred on or about December 15, 2015?”

Dr Anderson (57:54)

“Yes.”

Question(57:55)

“And was it just shortly after that call when Ms. Heard showed you pictures and actually came into your office, is that right?”

Dr Anderson (58:06)

She came in on 12/17, so yes.”

Question (58:09)

“So Ms. Herd came in on December 17 and you saw bruises on her face, is that correct?”

Dr Anderson (58:18)

“I believe that's when.”

Question (58:20)

“Was that bruising that you observed similar to the bruising that appeared on the photographs that she showed you?”

Dr Anderson (58:32)

“Yes.”

Question(58:34)

“You testified that what you saw in person was similar to what you saw in the photographs Amber gave you, correct?”

Dr Anderson (58:41)

“Yes.”

Question (58:42)

“When she came into your office on December 17, what did her face look like?”

Dr Anderson (58:50)

“What I recall is not purple, green and blue, but just a darkening, so kind of a darker gray-blue sort of thing. But I don't have a photo of it. I don't remember that well.”

Question (59:06)

“Is that, Dr. Anderson, consistent with your understanding that there were no other entries on December 15 or December 17 relating to physical abuse?”

Dr Anderson (59:20)

“There was nothing about physical abuse. Nothing in that next session. It was all about Christmas, and her therapist telling her one thing. ..”

Question (59:29)

“What was the size of the bruise on her face that you observed on December 17?”

Dr Anderson (59:38)

“Maybe like this [Dr Anderson makes a circle with her fingers.] in more than one place. About an inch.”

Question (59:44)

“So is it fair to say those are small bruises in more than one place? So there was how many one inch size bruises were on her face that you observed?”

Dr Anderson (59:55)

“I'm not a good person to ask this question to. I don't really remember. I wasn't looking to memorize it. I think there's other data that will support this. Not from me.”

Cross-Examination on these points re bruises

Question (01:00:06)

“A few minutes ago, you briefly spoke about seeing bruises about an inch on Amber heard space. You recall that testimony?”

Dr Anderson (01:00:16)

“Yes.”

Question (01:00:17)

“And you were making motions with your fingers.”

Dr Anderson (01:00:20)

“But I was saying multiple I'm not saying one.”

Question (01:00:23)

“Right. You were seeing multiple bruises on Amber's face when you were talking about how the size of it your fingers were under your eyes. You remember seeing the bruises under Amber's eyes?”

Dr Anderson (01:00:36)

“That's what I recall. They may have been in other places throughout her body. I don't remember, but I do remember her face.”

So here we have Dr Anderson testifying that she saw bruising on Amber's face the day after Amber told her that she hit Johnny because he was "talking incoherently" and asked her if she would have an advantage in divorce if she first called police to file a DV report against Johnny.  

What we don't know about the bruises:

  • Are they real?

  • Did they come from Johnny hitting her after she hit him?

  • Did they come from Johnny defending himself from her attacks on him?

  • Did Amber create them herself?

  • Are they makeup? (This one seems less likely since Dr Anderson says she saw them, but we don't know how close she looked.)

 

 

"She Gave as Good as She Got"

Dr Anderson met Amber alone 4 times but only met Johnny alone twice: once for an initial intake appointment and once on June 18, 2016.

This June 18th appointment happened after Johnny and Amber's divorce had begun and about 7 months after their last couple's appointment. Dr Anderson had seen Amber alone twice in the interim. 

A sound bite that came out of Dr Anderson's testimony is that Johnny is reported to have said "She gave as good as she got."

I'll include the testimony pertaining to this reported statement below. I don't know what to think of the statement. Some people see it as an admission by Johnny that he was just as violent as Amber, and it could be taken that way, but I think that it is quite open-ended as to what Johnny might have meant.

When considering for yourself what he might have meant, keep in mind that DV does not seem to have been the focus of their couple's sessions so he might not have been thinking violence when he made the statement. 

 

Question (49:57)

Then you write: ‘Was chaotic violence, but gave as good as she got.’” What does that mean?

Dr Anderson (50:06)

I believe I'm quoting. I think I'm quoting some of this is just my typing of the words he's using while he's talking. He's also very verbal when no one's interrupting him. And I think he talked about how chaotic it was, how violent it was. And she gave as good as she got. That's kind of a direct quote. That's not my language.”


Cross Examination

Question (01:00:45)

“Turn to page 13 where it says ‘was chaotic, violent.’ Do you know what Mr. Depp was referring to there?”

Dr Anderson (01:01:04)

“What I said previously, and I'll say it again, he's kind of doing a retrospective of trying to understand a relationship and is characterizing it as chaotic and violent. But she gave as good as she got and she started it. 

He's complaining, but he's also just kind of describing what the relationship was. His mother is dead at this point. The relationship is not good. It's over pretty much. And he's trying to come to terms with it, and he still loves her and is mourning.

So he's a very articulate man. And when left alone to speak, he can describe intelligently what's going on. I think while he's talking, and I'm not trying to be obtrusive with my taking notes. I'm listening. I'm talking. But I'm also copying down a word here and there. So my belief is that those are his words.”

Question (01:02:16)

“And Mr. Depp, I think you testified about this, but I just want to make sure Mr. Depp told you Amber gave as good as she got, correct?”

Dr Anderson (01:02:24)

“Correct.”

Question (01:02:26)

“Did you ask what Mr. Depp meant by ‘gave as good as she got’?

Dr Anderson (01:02:30)

“I was pretty aware of what he meant. I agreed.”

Question (01:02:33)

“What did you understand, Mr. Depp to mean?”

Dr Anderson (01:02:36)

“She initiated fights. She started violence. She rose to the challenge if he started first, which in my opinion, that had been established throughout the relationship, that she fought as hard as he did. And he tried to deescalate far more than I think she did.”

 

The "Mutual Abuse" Controversy

 

Was Johnny Depp and Amber Heard relationship mutual abuse

 

During her testimony, Dr Anderson described Johnny and Amber's relationship as "mutual abuse." 

Dr Anderson (15:13)

“He had been well controlled, I think, for almost, I don't know, 20/30 years, and both were victims of abuse in their homes, but I thought he had been well controlled for decades. And then with Ms. Heard, he was triggered and they engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.

I know she led on more than one occasion and started it to keep him with her because abandonment and having him leave was her worst nightmare. And I think he may have initiated it on occasions, too, that I'm less sure on.

 

Dr Anderson's mention of "mutual abuse" got a lot of attention in media after her testimony. Many subsequent news articles grabbed this and ran with it. 

I noticed that some people on Twitter were confused because the DV community says there is no such thing as mutual abuse. For example, the National Domestic Violence Hotline says that mutual abuse is a myth

The DV community's rejection of the idea of mutual abuse is grounded in their belief that DV is caused by patriarchy. 

Their logic goes like this:

  1. Partner abuse is caused by the power imbalance created by patriarchy: therefore only men abuse women.

  2. Only men abuse women: therefore partner abuse cannot be mutual.

I don't agree with the idea that partner abuse is caused solely or even mostly because of patriarchy. (See my post Patriarchy Isn't The Only or Main Reason for Partner Abuse for more on the topic.)

Partner abuse has 3 motivating forces: control, demean, and/or punish. There are many reasons why someone might control, demean, or punish their partner. (I came up with 72 reasons.)

There is a great deal of research supporting the idea that some partner abuse is mutual abuse or bidirectional, but a major challenge when talking about mutual abuse is setting the parameters of what it means.

In his book, Gender Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse: A Comprehensive Approach, John Hamel points out that:

"The term mutual is ambiguous, with a number of possible meanings."

Hamel says that a key part of designating abuse as mutual is that both partners must behave abusively toward the other to the same degree. 

We need to be careful to not label abuse as mutual when one party is acting out of self-defense against the aggression of the other party. 

We also need to be careful to not label abuse as mutual using a false-equivalency equation: one partner's name-calling is not equivalent to another partner's punches. 

 

Was Johnny and Amber's Abuse Mutual? 

While I do believe that some cases of partner abuse involve mutual abuse, the label does not appear to fit Johnny and Amber's case.

In Gender Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse: A Comprehensive Approach, John Hamel puts forward "questions to ponder in assessing mutuality:

  • Who initiates the physical assaults?

  • How repetitive or excessive are the physical assaults?

  • When the other person responds to a physical assault, is it in self-defense or is it retaliatory?

  • When one person initiates physical assaults, is it typically in response to intense emotional and verbal abuse and/or controlling behaviors, and not simple to common provocations, such as nagging?

  • How frequent and severe is the nonphysical abuse?"

There is evidence that Dr Anderson wasn't aware of a lot of information resources that would be important to answer Hamel's criteria questions.

This undermines that validity of Dr Anderson's diagnosis, but let's look further at Dr Anderson's mutual abuse conclusion.

By Hamel's standards, Dr Anderson undermines a diagnosis of mutual abuse herself in the very same statement that she presents the label:

Dr Anderson (15:13)

“...with Ms. Heard, he was triggered and they engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.

I know she led on more than one occasion and started it to keep him with her because abandonment and having him leave was her worst nightmare. And I think he may have initiated it on occasions, too, that I'm less sure on.

She is sure that Amber initiated physical violence against Johnny "on more than one occasion" but isn't sure that Johnny ever initiated it.

We also know that Dr Anderson witnessed and noted (as I outlined in an earlier section) Amber dominate Johnny during joint couple's appointments. 

And Dr Anderson stated that Johnny "tried to deescalate far more than I think she did.” (01:02:36)

It leads me to wonder:

  1. Is Dr Anderson's definition of mutual abuse that there was abusive type behavior from both parties even though it wasn't to equal degrees? (Name-calling from one party and physical assault from another party could be labelled mutual abuse if the definition gets stretched.)

  2. Is Dr Anderson exaggerating Johnny's abuses and minimizing Amber's. (There is evidence that Dr Anderson accepts as true whatever Amber is telling her in individual sessions. But even in her own stories, Amber is often the aggressor.)

  3. Is Dr Anderson so blinded by the prevalent belief that women don't abuse men that labeling the abuse as mutual is as far as her mind can stretch?

 

Abusive Behavior from Females Gets Minimized

We don't really have to see research to know that abuse by women against men gets minimized, but here are a couple of references showing that both the general public and helping professionals tend to discount abuse when it's female-to-male and show more concern about male-to-female abuse. 

Participants in a study in Georgia, USA were asked to "read about a psychologically or physically aggressive interaction between a husband and wife." Half the scenarios had a husband who was aggressive and half had a wife who was aggressive.

The Georgia study found that:

"Male aggression toward females produced higher ratings of aggressiveness and more negative evaluations of perpetrators than female aggression toward males."

 

Other research shows that helping professionals have similar prejudices:

"Individuals who work in the helping professions also assess behaviors by male partners to be more threatening and harmful than when those same behaviors are displayed by female partners."

--Hines, D. A., & Douglas, E. M. (in press). Men’s experiences of female-perpetrated IPV. In E. A. Bates & J. C. Taylor (Eds.) Domestic violence against men and boys: Experiences of male victims of intimate partner violence. Taylor and Francis.

 

 Why is it so hard for people to recognize abuse of men by women

 

I was asked why people don't recognize abuse of men by women as a problem several times during interviews about female-to-male partner abuse that I created a blog post with my answer. Click for the 8 reasons I came up with. 

 

 

 ______________________________________ 

 

Dr Laurel Anderson Testimony Transcript Excerpts re Counseling Sessions

What follows is a more continuous transcript from Dr Anderson's testimony. It includes pieces that I pulled out for discussion above, but is presented here with very little commentary. It isn't the entire transcript of her testimony as I took out the parts that were going over the schedule of appointments and other relatively minor topics of that nature. 

Dr Anderson's Description of Her Approach

Question (20:19)

"And if you would just please describe for us lay people what a clinical psychologist does."

Dr Anderson (20:26)

"The first thing is evaluation, intake, gather material.

The second thing and the way I work is during the intake process. Could be one session. It could be four sessions. Depends on if it's an individual or a couple. I'm conceptualizing, I'm looking for the process.

The content is something I make notes on, I care about. It leads me from session to session, but I'm really looking at process, what's going on between two people or what's actually going on inside of someone.

The third step is I show my hand, I talk about it. I try to get either three people in the room all on the same page with me or one other person. This is what I see. And then the onus is on me to not just be a good friend and hold someone's hand and talk about mom, but to actually make change. And so I lay out here are the things I think we need to work on, and then there are action steps for all of them so that someone has a more directed sense of what they're doing in psychotherapy as opposed to just coming in and talking about how they feel."

 

Oct 1, 2015, JD & AH, First Session Therapy Notes

Early in her recorded testimony, Dr Anderson described this session as being for "background intake" (03:25). 

During her testimony below, she is looking at an exhibit created from her therapy session notes.

 

Dr Anderson (28:08)

“The first line is Ms. Heard talking, saying that Mr. Depp says to her: ‘No one likes you. You're getting fame from me. I'm falling out of love with you. You're a whore.’ She's reporting just in the first session just how bad the relationship is, just how mean they are to one another.

 

Dr. Anderson later clarifies “Ms. Heard reported that that's what Mr. Depp said to her at their worst.”

She may have asked them to describe their worst fights. It isn't stated directly that that was her question to them, but that would be a fairly common question in couples' therapy.



"And at that point, because I'm typing quickly as they go along, I'm switching into a different voice more about the process between them, where she has, I believe, interrupted him. He says no more about what she says about him. And it's just that they're fighting and she has a hard time.

She bites the bait. She can't let him talk -- is my recollection. And from this, that's kind of what that is. So it gives me a sense of what they're doing at home, they are each reporting, ‘This is what we say to each other.’”

 

I've read through this transcript several times and every time I get a concerned reaction to "She bites the bait."

This makes it sound like Johnny has maliciously baited Amber. But that doesn't fit with Amber "interrupted him," "He says no more about what she says about him," and "She can't let him talk."

It also doesn't fit with Dr Anderson's descriptions of the session that follow. 



Question (30:20) 

When Mr. Depp told you that Amber hit him in the jaw, did Amber respond in any way? Did she deny it? Did she admit it?

Dr Anderson (30:30)

I don't think she denied it, but what I believe from my notes was that she galloped off in a new direction and they continued to talk, and there was no more that Johnny Depp was going to say about what he was reporting. It was more that they started into a fight, and I wrote that their process is a back and forth firing at each other.”

Question (31:08)

“At any point during the first session, did Ms. Heard interrupt Mr. Depp when he was trying to talk?”

Dr Anderson (31:15)

“Yes. She talked over him. She had rapid fire talking.”

Question (31:22)

Did she interrupt him during your other sessions that are reflected in plaintiff's exhibit 2?”

Dr Anderson (31:30)

Yes. And I pointed out the process to her at some point, and she got it that no one could actually have a decent dialogue with her if she was rapid firing and talking over and just barraging. It was a process issue.”

 

Oct 6, 2015, Just Amber, Therapy Session Notes

[Dr Anderson and the lawyer are referring to the exhibit with Dr. Anderson’s session notes.]

Question (32:24)

“So tell us what you mean in that one section. ‘He hits her. No closed fist. She hits back and now starts it for pride because father hit her.’ Would you please tell us what you meant by that?”

Dr Anderson (32:44)

This is her reporting to me. It’s the only thing in this clinical session that apparently was about physical abuse or else it would not have been redacted out.

So when she said in terms of physical abuse that he hits her, a no close fist means an open hand slap to me. And she says that she hits back and now she starts it and sometimes hits him first because her history is having been violated by her father physically and just out of pride, a lot of things trigger her. And if she's triggered, she would hit him first.”

Question (33:34)

“When you said that she sometimes hits Johnny first because of pride, what did you mean?”

Dr Anderson (33:42)

“She was sensitive to feeling disrespected and a number of other things. And if she felt disrespected, she had come out of her background history, feeling that her pride needed to dominate and she needed to stand up for herself.”

Question(34:05)

"When Ms. Heard told you that Johnny Depp hits her or slaps her, Johnny Depp was not present, correct?"

Dr Anderson (34:15)

Correct.

Question (34:31)

Did Miss Heard tell you that she socked Mr. Depp?

Dr Anderson (34:38)

Yes. She was describing kind of the progression of the physical violence.”

Question (34:46)

“Did you have any understanding of what she meant when she admitted that she socks Mr. Depp?”

Dr Anderson (34:53)

“Yes, because there were three lines above this that explained the progression a bit. And I've already said what it was. She felt she had to hit him back if he hit her, and so she always did.

Question (35:18)

And again, that entry is from a session where Mr. Depp was not physically present, correct?

Dr Anderson (35:25)

“That's right.”

 

Dec 15, 2015 Amber Phone Session, Therapy Notes

 

Question (39:48)

[Reading from the session notes.] “Then last night, Monday, she slapped him as he sat there talking incoherently. Who slapped who?”

Dr Anderson (40:01)

"I actually know what happened."

Question (40:06)

"What happened?"

Dr Anderson (40:07)

"This was, as I said, Ms. Heard talking on the phone to me. Mr. Depp's mother was in ICU. He had been doing a lot of, he was fucked up, as she would say, on a lot of drugs. And she slapped him because he was being incoherent in talking about being with another woman."

Question (40:34)

"Did she tell you that he had hit her first, or was she the one who initiated the slap?"

Dr Anderson (40:39)

"She initiated that one because I think she felt demeaned and threatened."

Question (40:44)

"And this is what she reported to you, correct?"

Dr Anderson (40:48)

"Yes."

Question (40:52)

"He was not on the call when she made these allegations, was he?"

Dr Anderson (40:59)

"No."

Question (41:27)

“…right below what we were just talking about in red. It says, ‘should she call police?’ What is that referred to? So what did you mean?”

Dr Anderson (41:39)

"That was her asking me."

Question (41:41)

"Did you respond to her?"

Dr Anderson (41:43)

"I believe I did."

Question (41:45)

"Then you write doesn't want to divorce. Want to want to divorce? Yes. What did you mean by that?"

Dr Anderson (41:55)

"She loved him. He loved her. She believed that she wasn't stupid. She knew that what they were doing wasn't healthy. And so she wanted to want to divorce him, but she didn't. And yet it had escalated to this point. So she was trying to figure out what to do."

Question (42:33)

“Directing your attention to the last snippet from that session. ‘Will she have advantage if she leaves him but files with police for abuse first?’ Was that a question that she asked you?”

Dr Anderson (42:52)

“Yes. This was her talking out loud, trying to strategize for herself.”

 

Dec 15-17, 2015 From Dr Anderson’s Treatment Summary

Question(51:35)

"Doctor Anderson, have you ever seen this document before?"

Dr Anderson (51:57)

"Of course. I created it."

Question (52:00)

"Okay. And what is it?"

Dr Anderson (52:02)

"It's a treatment summary. When I was first subpoenaed or my notes were required years ago. My notes are jumbly. They don't say a lot. They're confusing, as you've seen or you haven't seen, actually. So I did what psychologists do, you go through all of those notes and your brain because it's not as if you're not left with a very clear sense of what went on. So I took everything I thought and believed conceptually about them. I went through all of my notes, and I wrote this treatment summary. And that one paragraph is still there."

[It sounds like the majority of the summary is redacted because it doesn’t refer to DV.]

Question (52:49)

“Yeah. And I want to ask you about that one paragraph. I think you've described this in the course of your testimony, but I did want to ask you about your sentence: ‘She reported always hitting him back as a point of pride, but admitted that she eventually initiated the hitting herself.’ Is the she you're referring to, Ms. Heard?

Dr Anderson (53:34)

“It is.”

Question (53:35)

“And is the ‘him’ you're referring to, Johnny Depp?”

Dr Anderson (53:41)

“It is.”

Question (53:42)

"Okay, let's move to the next page, please. And I just want to focus on the one snippet on base, page three. ‘She reported trying to initiate a fight with him one night by slapping him when she was offended by what he said.’"

Question (54:37)

“Then in the last sentence: ‘It was also at this time that she showed me photos of her injuries.’ When did Miss Heard show you photos of her alleged injuries?”

Dr Anderson (54:54)

“Well, to the best of my pulling together the information I wrote down, I'm saying it was right after that fight. And my recollection is she came in --- she talked to me by phone, and then came in the next day. Or at least I thought somewhere around the time she got the injuries. I know she came in in person to show me.

Question (55:24)

“Did she show you photos or did she show you both? You said she showed you photos. And so is it your testimony that she showed you photos of her injuries shortly after the alleged event.”

Dr Anderson (55:45)

“Somewhere in the period while she still had injuries. She showed me photos, but she also came in and showed me in person.”

Question (55:54)

“And what did she show you in person?”

Dr Anderson (55:58)

“Bruising on her face.”

Question (56:00)

“Other than the bruising on her face, what other injuries did she show you?”

Dr Anderson (56:06)

“I don't remember. There may have been more, but I don't remember.”

Question (56:10)

“And you weren't present during the alleged physical injuries, correct?”

Dr Anderson (56:19)

“Correct.”

Question (56:20)

“So the only basis you had with respect to the cause of the injuries was what Ms. Heard told you, correct? And you write: ‘The physical violence that occurred between them appeared to me to be mutual.’ You never actually witnessed any physical violence by Mr. Depp or by Ms. Heard, correct?”

Dr Anderson (56:48)

“Never.”

Question (56:56)

“And you said that ‘They were each victims of domestic violence, both in their family. They were each victims of domestic violence in their families.’ What did you mean by that?"

Dr Anderson (57:09)

“They were each beaten by parents.”

Question (57:14)

“Go back very briefly to exhibit two. And this refers to a session that was just you and Ms. Heard, correct?”

Dr Anderson (57:42)

“Yes.”

Question(57:43)

“And this call, which was just between you and Ms. Heard and not Mr. Depp involved, that occurred on or about December 15, 2015?”

Dr Anderson (57:54)
“Yes.”

Question(57:55)

“And was it just shortly after that call when Ms. Heard showed you pictures and actually came into your office, is that right?”

Dr Anderson (58:06)

“She came in on 12/17, so yes.”

Question(58:09)

“So Ms. Herd came in on December 17 and you saw bruises on her face, is that correct?”

Dr Anderson (58:18)

“I believe that's when.”

Question(58:20)

“Was that bruising that you observed similar to the bruising that appeared on the photographs that she showed you?”

Dr Anderson (58:32)

“Yes.”

Question(58:34)

“You testified that what you saw in person was similar to what you saw in the photographs Amber gave you, correct?”

Dr Anderson (58:41)

“Yes.”

Question(58:42)

“When she came into your office on December 17, what did her face look like?”

Dr Anderson (58:50)

“What I recall is not purple, green and blue, but just a darkening, so kind of a darker gray-blue sort of thing. But I don't have a photo of it. I don't remember that well.”

Question(59:06)

“Is that, Dr. Anderson, consistent with your understanding that there were no other entries on December 15 or December 17 relating to physical abuse?”

Dr Anderson (59:20)

“There was nothing about physical abuse. Nothing in that next session. It was all about Christmas, and her therapist telling her one thing. ..”

Question(59:29)

“What was the size of the bruise on her face that you observed on December 17?”

Dr Anderson (59:38)

“Maybe like this [Dr Anderson makes a circle with her fingers.] in more than one place. About an inch.”

Question(59:44)

“So is it fair to say those are small bruises in more than one place? So there was how many one inch size bruises were on her face that you observed?”

Dr Anderson (59:55)

“I'm not a good person to ask this question to. I don't really remember. I wasn't looking to memorize it. I think there's other data that will support this. Not from me.”

Cross-Examination on these points re bruises 

Question (01:00:06)

“A few minutes ago, you briefly spoke about seeing bruises about an inch on Amber heard space. You recall that testimony?”

Dr Anderson (01:00:16)

“Yes.”

Question (01:00:17)

“And you were making motions with your fingers.”

Dr Anderson (01:00:20)

“But I was saying multiple I'm not saying one.”

Question (01:00:23)

“Right. You were seeing multiple bruises on Amber's face when you were talking about how the size of it your fingers were under your eyes. You remember seeing the bruises under Amber's eyes?”

Dr Anderson (01:00:36)

“That's what I recall. They may have been in other places throughout her body. I don't remember, but I do remember her face.”

 

Jan 13, 2016 Session Notes, Just Amber

Question (45:22)

[Reading from therapy notes.] “You write: ‘Didn't fight on island until last day. On island, started to get into something.’ What were you referring to there?”

Dr Anderson (45:40)

“Well, Christmas had occurred, and the goal was they had a lot of people going to his island and they were going to be together. And the goal was to try and get through the Christmas holiday without fighting. And so she was reporting on that.”

Question (45:57)

“Then you write: ‘He got aggressive, threatening, didn't touch him, hid in bathroom.’ What were you referring to there?

Dr Anderson (46:09)

“What she reported to me, which was an improvement that she didn't participate.”

Question (46:22)

“So is it fair to say that she told you she did not hit him at that time?”


Dr Anderson (46:27)

“Yes, that's what I believe my notes say. Yes.”

Question (46:30)

“Then you write: ‘She threw can at him since home fighting. Then she better.’ Who is the ‘she who threw a can at him’?

Dr Anderson

"Miss Heard."

Question

"And the ‘him’ whom she threw a can at. Was Mr. Depp correct?"

Dr Anderson (46:48)

"Yes."

 

June 18, 2016 Session, Just Johnny

Question (48:47)

“You write: ‘Fight on her April 22 birthday. He late. Huge fight. His mother died on the 20th.’ I think I know what you're referring to, but if you could please describe that for the record.”

Dr Anderson (49:05)

“Domestic violence charges had already been made. His mother had just died on the 20th.”

Question (49:26)

“Well, when he told you that there was a fight on April 20, 222 birthday, was that Ms. Heard’s 30th birthday?”

Dr Anderson (49:37)

“I think it was.”

Question (49:40)

“And is he telling you that he arrived late for the birthday dinner party and there was a huge fight?”

Dr Anderson (49:47)

“Yes.”

Question (49:57)

“Then you write: ‘Was chaotic violence, but gave as good as she got.’” What does that mean?

Dr Anderson (50:06)

“I believe I'm quoting. I think I'm quoting some of this is just my typing of the words he's using while he's talking. He's also very verbal when no one's interrupting him. And I think he talked about how chaotic it was, how violent it was. And she gave as good as she got. That's kind of a direct quote. That's not my language.”

Cross Examination

Question (01:00:45)

“Turn to page 13 where it says ‘was chaotic, violent.’ Do you know what Mr. Depp was referring to there?”

Dr Anderson (01:01:04)

“What I said previously, and I'll say it again, he's kind of doing a retrospective of trying to understand a relationship and is characterizing it as chaotic and violent. But she gave as good as she got and she started it. 

He's complaining, but he's also just kind of describing what the relationship was. His mother is dead at this point. The relationship is not good. It's over pretty much. And he's trying to come to terms with it, and he still loves her and is mourning.

So he's a very articulate man. And when left alone to speak, he can describe intelligently what's going on. I think while he's talking, and I'm not trying to be obtrusive with my taking notes. I'm listening. I'm talking. But I'm also copying down a word here and there. So my belief is that those are his words.”

Question (01:02:16)

“And Mr. Depp, I think you testified about this, but I just want to make sure Mr. Depp told you Amber gave as good as she got, correct?”

Dr Anderson (01:02:24)

“Correct.”

Question (01:02:26)

“Did you ask what Mr. Depp meant by ‘gave as good as she got’?

Dr Anderson (01:02:30)

“I was pretty aware of what he meant. I agreed.”

Question (01:02:33)

“What did you understand, Mr. Depp to mean?”

Dr Anderson (01:02:36)

“She initiated fights. She started violence. She rose to the challenge if he started first, which in my opinion, that had been established throughout the relationship, that she fought as hard as he did. And he tried to deescalate far more than I think she did.”

Question (01:02:58)

“Do you know did Mr. Depp talk about his fingertip with you before June 18, 2016?”

Dr Anderson (01:03:06)

“No, because I would have written it when he first mentioned it to me.”

Question (01:03:10)

“Did you ever see Mr. Depp with an injury to his finger during any of your sessions with Mr. Depp or that counseling sessions together with Amber?”

Dr Anderson

“During that session, yes. He showed me on June 18, 2016.

Question

“But before June 18, 2016, did you ever see an injury to Mr. Depp’s finger?”

Dr Anderson (01:03:30)

“No, I didn't.”

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  • Ann Silvers
Comments 3
  • Ann Silvers
    Ann Silvers

    Hi Kevin. Thanks for the thanks. It’s good to hear that you found the post interesting and helpful. “Amber Heard recorded herself treating Depp sadistically” is a great way to describe the non-consented recordings Amber made of Johnny during interactions in which she set him up. -Ann

  • S.
    S.

    Thank you for this insightful & extensive article.

    Honestly, I don‘t know how to voice some of my thoughts about Dr. Anderson and her approach kindly. However, since anything that wasn’t about DV was redacted it’s difficult to say for sure what she might’ve (imo) neglected, so some things can only be speculated.

    As someone who was diagnosed with BPD years ago, has tried several therapists due to that diagnosis & worked through some of it in specialised inpatient care & therapy with other cluster B patients… I’m left to wonder how qualified Dr. Anderson was to work with Ms. Heard? In my experience therapists who didn’t keep up to date with specialisation in cluster B patients & rarely work with them can be rather… well, not up to date and not practiced with us to put it mildly.

    I’m wondering if Dr. Anderson knew about the apparent diagnosis or diagnosed it herself during the time she worked with Ms. Heard, because if either of that is the case I’m left wondering why she believed Ms. Heard’s versions without seemingly double checking? Why she didn’t ask for more single sessions with Mr. Depp to safely get his version of their fights? (I might be ignorant here, I’ve never been to couple’s counselling, but it really strikes me as odd that she saw Ms. Heard significantly more often in solo appointments than she saw Mr. Depp.) Especially after he mentioned being hit by her in the joint session. As you already pointed out, I really cannot understand how Dr. Anderson came to the “mutual abuse” conclusion when she mostly got Ms. Heard’s version of things.

    Another thing that infuriates me is her way of giving testimony of things she can’t be sure of, because she never heard both sides/ didn’t seem to look further into the DV claims. She says that she “thinks Mr Depp meant…” or “thinks Mr. Depp instigated some of the violence” etc. Maybe I’m being ignorant again, but wouldn’t it be more truthful to say “regarding physical violence, Ms. Heard reported in our session that… I have not heard Mr. Depp’s recounting of these fights, therefore I cannot confirm the truthfulness of her statements during our solo sessions/I can only guess the truthfulness.”? I guess what I’m trying to say is that to me, her testimony felt biased with her partly somewhat speculative answers.

    …I’ll get off the soapbox now, thank you again for this article!

  • Kevin Hornbuckle
    Kevin Hornbuckle

    I saw you on Popcorn Planet and came here to read your article. I am experienced in your field and I wholly agree with your insights into the pathologies that are driving this defamation. Amber Heard recorded herself treating Depp sadistically. She is defending herself by heaping on additional defamation. Dr. Anderson’s testimony was careless and driven by her own self interest. Keep up the good work, Ann.

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