Debra Warner

Debra Warner

Department Faculty
  • Department Faculty
    Forensic Psychology
    Associate Professor
    Lead Faculty, Psy.D. Clinical Forensic Psychology
    Los Angeles Campus
  • The Chicago School Los Angeles
Forensic Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
617 W 7th St Los Angeles, CA 90017
617 W 7th St
Office Location
Room 815
Office Phone
On-campus Ext.
Dr. Warner received a Master of Art and Master of Education in counseling psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College. After graduating, she began consulting and provided individual therapy to chronically mentally ill patients who were involved in the legal system. Her list of professional assignments includes Sylmar Juvenile Hall, California Mentor, The Sycamores, Psychological Support Services, Phoenix Programs, IYC-St. Charles and Regional Center. In 2004, she completed her doctorate in forensic psychology from Alliant International University. She went on to work with methamphetamine patients as a psychologist for the University of California Los Angeles, Department of Family Medicine. She has been an adjunct faculty for University of Phoenix, California State University-Dominquez Hills, Antioch University, Westwood College and Southern California Institute of Technology. She also served as Assistant Professor/Lead Faculty for Chapman University's Marriage and Family Therapy program. She is currently the lead faculty for the Los Angeles Campus of The Chicago School's Forensic Psychology program. Dr. Warner is a licensed psychologist and her major areas of interest are student focused teaching and application of therapeutic tools that can be utilized in multiple forensic settings. She also has begun a private practice and is a contracted consultant for the Department of Homeland Security where she serves as a Lead Psychologist. In her spare time, she continues to explore her interest in non verbal behavioral analysis in courtroom settings.
  • B.A. Psychology, B.A. Social Relations, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA
  • M.A. Counseling Psychology, Ed.M., Counseling Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
  • Psy.D. Forensic Pychology, Alliant Internatioal University, Los Angeles, CA
Areas Of Expertise

Select Presentations

  • Warner, D., Barnes, A., Leark, R. (2005, August). A Preliminary Analysis of Attorney Facial Expression. Paper presented at the annual convention at the American Psychological Association, Washington DC.

Community Involvement

  • Lead Psychologist, Department of Homeland Security

Professional Memberships

  • American Correctional Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • Illinois Correctional Association
  • National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy


Q: Please describe your teaching philosophy.
A: My teaching philosophy is that I believe that students do not come to class as blank slates and often bring with them preconceived notions about the field of psychology. These preconceived notions may consist of false assumptions and generalizations that might block their leaning of psychology. As an instructor it is important for me to acknowledge that students bring past experiences into the classroom, and to also provide students with a more adequate view of psychology. However, to be effective in achieving this goal I have to challenge them to think differently and lessen their fear of psychology by seeing its relevance and application in their lives. I make a connection between the textbook and daily life experiences (i.e. Why did you marry your spouse or Why does your dog come to his food dish everyday at 4:00 p.m.?).

My role as the instructor is not only as a source of knowledge, but also a source of support and resources. I am approachable and available to answer questions. My belief is that the only silly question is the one not asked. I strive to be student-focused, competent, flexible and aware of student diversity. I love to get to know my students and I believe that the learning process is collaborative. Students not only learn from me and from each other, but that I learn from them.

As I have learned through my teaching experiences, my role as a teacher shifts Throughout the learning process. I use myself as a springboard for illustration of concepts and catalyst for difficult discussions. I try to develop a safe learning environment were students are able to be honest, question their reasoning and learn to "think out of the box". I challenge my students to broaden their minds and enhance their awareness of culture, diversity and individual differences. I encourage them to apply what they have learned to their future interactions with others. It is very rewarding when students tell me that they think differently. Plus, how they have applied concepts learned in class to their lives and are better for it professionally and personally.

In the past six years, I have come to find that the three objectives I have set as an instructor apply no mater what course I am teaching, 1) to facilitate the appreciation of psychology, 2) to provide fundamental knowledge and tools applicable to student's careers and 3) to enhance self-awareness and understanding of the world around them and the uniqueness of the individuals in it. The way I crystallize these objectives is by allowing the various aspects of who I am, professionally and personally, to be used in example as I take an active role in students learning in the classroom. I provide a fun and energetic atmosphere, while emphasizing much theoretical foundation. I accomplish this through using a multi-sensory curriculum. I employ films, audio equipment, Power Point slides, smart boards, experiential exercises and case studies to make material more tangible. In addition, I have begun to incorporate the use of Blackboard and other online technologies to communicate with students and provide supplemental learning. Moreover, I make use of facilitative methods to help students formulate their ideas in the classroom and aid others in their comprehension of the material.

Q: Why did you choose to enter the field of psychology?
A: I do not believe I choose the field of psychology. I think it selected me. I can not imagine a time when I was not drawn to others, the field and the aspects of what the propeller is behind behavior and psyche. I believe everyone has a niche in life and knowing you found it is so fulfilling. Also, letting it discover you is a huge part of the fun of living and exploring your career field.

Q: What advice would you give to a student entering The Chicago School?
A: To be open. It is a great environment to explore and apply techniques in their area of interest.