Psychologist Testifies On Johnny Depp Allegedly Penetrating Amber Heard With Bottle, Diagnosing Her With PTSD
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Amber Heard's mental health was again a topic of testimony in court Tuesday. Dr. Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist hired by Heard's legal team testified, during the ongoing defamation trial, that she diagnosed Heard with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as a result of alleged "intimate partner violence" that she suffered at the hands of her ex, Johnny Depp.
Dr. Hughes' diagnosis comes after a forensic psychological evaluation, held over the course of 29 hours, in which she conducted a clinical interview with Heard and asked her about her life both before and after her marriage to Depp. A psychological testing component also allowed Hughes to conduct a "broad scan" of different symptomatologies that people may have in their lives, allowing her to give her indicators as to how the Aquaman actress approached the test.
In addition, Dr. Hughes reviewed a number of documents, including Heard's medical records as well as the audio and text messages presented during the course of the trial.
After considering the data, Dr. Hughes arrived at a few expert opinions, including that "intimate partner violence" occurred between Heard and Depp.
"Ms. Heard's report of intimate partner violence and the records that I reviewed, is consistent with what we know in the field about intimate partner violence -- characterized by physical violence, psychological aggression, sexual violence, coercive control and surveillance behaviors," Dr. Hughes explained.
As for her second main opinion, Dr. Hughes told the court that Heard demonstrated "very clear psychological and traumatic effects" from three statements Depp made through his attorney.
"The second main opinion was that Ms. Heard demonstrated, very clear, psychological and traumatic effects or the exacerbation of trauma, from those statements that Mr. Depp made through his attorney," she continued. "There were three statements that we evaluated to see how they affected her emotionally and psychologically and it was my determination they did."
It was through this evaluation that she diagnosed Heard with post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as a result of the alleged intimate partner violence she claims to have suffered at the hands of Depp.
"I diagnosed Ms. Heard with post traumatic stress disorder," Dr. Hughes said. "The etiology is the cause. In order to meet the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder, you have to have an actual cause. It's one of the few diagnostic entities that we have to have a cause for, and the cause was the intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp."
She continued, "That was what was pushing the symptoms, that was what was related to the intrusive phenomena, that was related to her avoidance, that was related to her differences in her mood, that was related to her avoidance efforts, so the cause was the intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp."
As for the violence Dr. Hughes said Heard suffered, she claimed that Depp "pushed, shoved, slapped, choked and kicked" Heard as well as "slammed her into a wall," causing the actress to sustain injuries that ranged from "bruising" and "pain" to some "cuts" and a "loss of consciousnesses" following an alleged incident between the pair. Dr. Hughes also described some of Heard's sexual assault allegations against Depp, including that at one time, he allegedly penetrated her with a liquor bottle.
"There are indications, as I've mentioned before, of the sexual assault and the sexual abuse, and how he would, when he was angry and when he was drunk — it was mostly drug- and alcohol-fueled rage when he would throw her on the bed and try to have sex with her," Dr. Hughes said. "Then, you know, if he was not able to perform, he would get more angry at her and blame her. We have this dynamic of blaming her for his inability to take responsibility for his behavior."
While Dr. Hughes did go on to say that she believed Heard acted violently toward Depp over the course of their relationship, listing several alleged incidents which included both physical and verbal abuse, it was her opinion that Heard was not a perpetrator of intimate partner violence against Depp.
"Given all of the other data, that was not my opinion," Dr. Hughes said.
Dr. Hughes' diagnosis comes after Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensics psychologist hired by Depp's legal team, diagnosed Heard with borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.
Dr. Curry described the term personality as "the way we think, we feel and we act that make us who we are." Thus a personality disorder, she said, "is some sort of dysfunction in those enduring traits."
"When we have a personality disorder, there are going to be disturbances in several different areas that are visible in almost all different facets of their life," she said.
When it comes to histrionic personality disorder, Dr. Curry said that the hallmarks include "an overly dramatic presentation," "drama and shallowness," a need to "always be the center of attention," and a "quick shift" between emotions.
"She would suddenly be one way, and then she would become very animated or very sad," Dr. Curry said of Heard. "When people are displaying these emotions with a personality disorder, there's a sense of shallowness to it. People who are observing them will feel like it's almost play-acting... She never really indicated a vulnerable feeling of her own."
As for borderline personality disorder, Dr. Curry explained that it's characterized by "instability" in personal relationships, emotions, behavior, sense of self and identity, as well as "emotional reactivity," all of which is "driven by this underlying terror of abandonment."
And finally, when it came to the diagnosis of PTSD, Curry on the other hand, said that she did not believe that Heard has PTSD as both the actress and Dr. Hughes have claimed.
"Ms. Heard did not have PTSD," Dr. Curry said, "and there were also pretty significant indications that she was grossly exaggerating symptoms of PTSD when asked about them."
As the defamation lawsuit continues, ET will be streaming it live as new revelations are revealed and new witnesses take the stand.
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