Adams, Michelle

Adjunct Faculty

Career History

Michelle Adams is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in correctional and forensic psychology. She completed a forensic postdoctoral fellowship with LACDMH at Twin Towers Correctional Facility and UCLA Harbor Medical Center. She has served over 18 years as a clinician, forensic evaluator, clinical supervisor, and quality assurance coordinator, supporting incarcerated individuals with mental illness in prisons, jails, state hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, juvenile justice facilities, and psychiatric emergency rooms. Michelle’s original career as a professional dancer in NYC led her to serve others as a dance/movement therapist, which led to her current career in forensic psychology.


PhD      Clinical Psychology, Forensic Concentration               Fielding Graduate University

MA        Clinical Psychology, Forensic Concentration               Fielding Graduate University

MA        Dance/Movement Therapy                                           Antioch Graduate University

BFA       Dance Performance & Composition                            Texas Christian University


As a passionate educator, Michelle has taught students for over three decades in public and private universities and secondary schools, as well as court-mandated educational programs. She serves as adjunct faculty at Phillips Graduate University (where she is teaching MFC549 Psychological Assessment) and Fielding Graduate University. She is a regular lecturer for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office and Alternative Public Defender’s Office, as well as Twin Towers Correctional Facility’s forensic training program for doctoral students.

Practice/Areas of Focus

Michelle’s areas of clinical expertise include crisis intervention, suicide risk, correctional mental health assessment and treatment, forensic evaluation, psychological assessment, cultural sensitivity, effective documentation, and arts in psychotherapy. Her clinical credentials include dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, and yoga & meditation. Her research interests include the history of US incarceration, the development and treatment of mental illness in incarceration environments, and correctional treatment applications of dialectical behavior therapy, dance/movement therapy, and yoga & meditation.

Professional Organizations/Activities

Michelle is a professional member of the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the American Dance Therapy Association. She collaborates with a team of attorneys on a social justice endeavor, educating judicial systems about the devastating impact of US incarceration practices on individual and social mental health, while encouraging courts to order mental health and other treatment choices whenever possible, as the measurably more effective and more humane option over incarceration.


Michelle’s research has been published in the American Journal of Forensic Psychology, Psychological Services, the International Journal of Aging in Society, and the American Journal of Dance Therapy. She has presented her research at the American College of Forensic Psychology’s annual symposiums and the American Dance Therapy Association’s annual conferences.