The Barone Defense Firm is pleased to announce that the firm’s founding partner and CEO Patrick Barone was recently appointed to the NCDD mental health task force. The committee was formed in 2021 to provide a confidential resource for any NCDD member feeling overwhelmed with the rigors of running a law practice or the pressure and stress of being criminal defense trial attorney.
Whether it be learning how to better accommodate clients who are going through what may be the most stressful event of their lives, or dealing with difficult and demanding prosecutors or courts, practicing as a criminal defense trial lawyer is an exceptionally difficult and stressful endeavor. It’s easy for the practitioner to become overwhelmed too. This is especially when practicing as a DUI defense lawyer. The defense of intoxicated drivers has its own unique demands and stresses, and the NCDD mental health task force was formed to help members deal with these stresses. Additionally, the task force will be available to offer consultation on how best to help anxious and stressed clients, including those who may be in need of treatment.
Mr. Barone brings a unique skill set to the NCDD mental health task force as he has recently completed the requirements necessary to become a Board-Certified Trainer, Educator and Practitioner (TEP) of psychodrama. Nationally, there are only a small handful of trial lawyers who possess this highest level of psychodrama certification thereby earning this distinction.
Psychodrama is a deep and often cathartic reenactment therapy method that was originally conceived and developed in Vienna by J.L. Moreno around the turn of the 20th Century. Like the father of psychotherapy, Dr. Sigmund Freud, Dr. Moreno was a psychiatrist, and he developed his theories as a student of Dr. Freud’s. An often repeated though possibly apocryphal story suggests that Moreno confronted his former teacher one day and said, “Dr. Freud, “you analyze their dreams. I give them the courage to dream again.” While far less famous than his senior colleague, Dr. Moreno is now retrospectively credited with many innovations, including group therapy and the empty chair, which was later incorporated into Gestalt therapy by his more well-known colleague Dr. Fritz Perls.
One of the many contributions that today’s most famous and successful living trial lawyer Gerry Spence has made to our profession, was his innovative conception of how to bring the philosophy and practice of psychodrama into the courtroom and develop it as a trial skill. Since 1994, this initial masterstroke has been perfected by Spence alongside the students, faculty and psychodramatists of what was formerly the Trial Lawyer’s College. Throughout the years this talented group of criminal defense and plaintiff’s lawyers experimented with if not perfected how to use the various interventions of psychodrama into all phases of trial practice, from the initial preparation, called “discovering the story,” to voir dire, opening statement, direct and cross-examination and closing argument. After the three and a half week training, Trial Lawyer’s College graduates have gone on to win some of the Nation’s top verdicts in tort and civil rights cases as well as not guilty verdicts in some of the most challenging criminal trials. Mr. Barone became a Trial Lawyer’s College Graduate in 2012.
As a therapeutic method, many lawyers have also utilized psychodrama to heal from their own traumas, hurts, habits, and hang-ups, so that when representing clients, they don’t bring their own “baggage” into the courtroom. When he was still active at the Trial Lawyer’s College, Spence would always tell the story of his Uncle Slim, and use it explain to the students the importance of “doing their own work” what Spence metaphorically referred to as “working on the horse.”
Mr. Barone became a board-certified practitioner of psychodrama (CP) in 2018, and will obtain his TEP certification in 2022. Certification for both has been obtained through the American Board of Examiners in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy. Overall, this has been a 12-year endeavor for Mr. Barone. Obtaining TEP certification has required a total of well over 1200 hours of training and supervision, along with passing two written board examines and two psychodrama “on sites,” which assesses a candidate’s ability to conduct a group psychodrama session as well as the candidate’s ability to teach and train the philosophy, methodology and process of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy.
Additionally, Mr. Barone has utilized his psychodrama training in teaching trial skills to lawyers around the county, and locally to law students taking his course at Western Michigan University’s Cooley Law School Class entitled “Drunk Driving Law and Practice,” and with the Criminal Defense Attorney’s of Michigan Trial College. He has also offered “psychodrama for lawyers” through the Michigan Psychodrama Center, which he co-founded along with Dr. Elizabeth Corby in 2015.
The NCDD Mental Health Task Force is currently formulating how to best utilize Mr. Barone’s unique skill set in service of the NCDD membership. with