10 May 2022. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are in the middle of a six week trial which is being broadcast live from the courtroom. We will look at segments of the trial and use DMM discourse coding techniques used in DMM attachment assessments, such as the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), to examine their testimony for evidence of the use of attachment strategies. Both Amber and Johnny are accomplished actors. Will they nevertheless reveal, or “leak,” attachment strategies in the course of their testimony, or even while sitting at counsel table with their lawyers?
We will also look at facial expressions to see if we can correlate DMM strategies with Paul Ekman style facial gestures.
We will start with testimony from Amber Heard’s first day of trial which is available on YouTube, and at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUbzWjNqtmo. If her testimony is honest, she gives a number of examples of drug use, aggression, and physical violence.
In two follow up sessions, DMM Coffee House #106 and #107, we will look at Johnny Depp’s testimony, and then testimony from the psychologist forensic experts to compare their psychological and intimate partner violence perspectives with the biopsychosocial DMM attachment model.
Amber Heard talked about Johnny Depp’s jealousy, often without any basis. Dr. Dawn Hughes, Amber Heard’s forensic psychologist and IPV expert, testified on day 13 of the trial. She described Depp’s behavior as possessive jealousy, something common in coercive control situations to keep Amber close and under his control. Is this better described by the idea of delusional jealousy, which we have been discussing in prior DMM Coffee House sessions?
A CSI hypothesis is that, when there is intense jealousy and there is no basis for it, this complex emotion is a strong indicator of intense control and higher use of attachment C strategies. Delusional jealousy may be followed by aggressive acts which may be intense or extreme. CSI is exploring this dynamic as a potential high quality indicator that a person is using relatively intense forms of obsessive coercion as part of their attachment-based self-protective strategies. It may be that drug or alcohol use exacerbates the intensity of the feeling of rejection and the reaction. In any given case, if the allegations of intense jealousy are true and the hypothesis is true, the presence of delusional jealousy may be a very strong indicator that the relationship involves extreme and dangerous coercion.
One example of jealousy followed by aggression which Amber described was during a plane trip to Russia. (This testimony starts at two hours 35 minutes into the YouTube video referenced above.) She testified about how she and Johnny used MDMA during the flight, and about a flight attendant joining them. Amber described the common effect of MDMA as a “love drug” and testified that the flight attendant became friendly with her, and eventually was sitting shoulder to shoulder with her, but that there was no flirting or sexual interest on her part. Then Amber testified that Johnny became jealous and angry and then violent to the flight attendant, and then violent to Amber later in their hotel to Amber. She testified that Amber hit her hard enough to make her nose bleed a little bit and that his body guard was the first to notice her nose was bleeding.
Amber testified about another similar incident while camping in the desert with some friends. After a female friend took MDMA, Amber described the friend as becoming cozy with her and how Johnny had a similar reaction.
Please note, the description in this blog post of Amber’s testimony, and the association with the concept of delusional jealousy, is made before she was cross-examined. CSI is not implying her testimony is accurate or not accurate, nor that it is complete. Amber indicates other people were present during the events described above and CSI is not aware of their testimony or perspective on the events.
Further information about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship and litigation
Hollywood Reporter has an article reviewing Heard’s countersuit, and some of the technical legal issues around defamation claims and Depp’s attempted but failed Anti-SLAPP defense to her countersuit.
The Insider has a good review of the timeline of their relationship and several court cases.
Date: Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Length: 90 minutes
Host/Facilitator: No host, open discussion, facilitated by Mark Baumann J.D., Dr. Melanie Langer, and Kristina Crowder DVLA
Platform: Zoom meeting
Session for: Any professional interested in DMM attachment theory and science. Invite your colleagues.
Sponsor: Conflict Science Institute
Session times:(US/EU/Africa/India): Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. Seattle (UTC -7). (11:00 a.m. in Dallas; noon in Miami; 5:00 p.m. in London; 6:00 p.m. in Cape Town; 9:30 p.m. in New Delhi; 11:00 p.m. in Bangkok. For Sydney Australia, the session is at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday.) (To confirm your local time, compare it to 5pm London time.)
For a registration link: Contact us, and please specify which session you wish to attend and which agency/profession you are in.
Follow up sessions
On 17 May, 2022, DMM Coffee House session #106 will cover Johnny Depp’s testimony.
On 24 May, 2022, DMM Coffee House session #107 will cover testimony from the forensic psychologists, Dr. Shannon Curry, Dr. Dawn Hughes, and Dr. David R. Speigel.
Dr. Curry testified on Day 9 https://youtu.be/jnyX3wb_EoM
Dr. Seigel testified on Day 20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5ZlzY5C_jg