Our Team » About Dr. Debbie

About Dr. Debbie, Licensed Clinical Psychologist in PA

My Background

I founded Pliner Psychological Associates in order to provide the community with a warm and friendly place for people to find support and get help for a wide variety of issues. Prior to opening Pliner Psychological Associates I was in private practice, where I assisted many clients in overcoming difficulties in a number of areas including anger management, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and life challenges. In addition, I have over 10 years experience working with adults with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

I am a licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. I received my Ph.D. in clinical and forensic psychology from California School of Professional Psychology - Fresno, and earned my B.A. in psychology at the University of Central Florida. My pre-doctoral and post-doctoral internship were both completed at Norristown State Hospital in Norristown, PA. While there, my responsibilities included providing therapy and conducting evaluations with both men and women with serious mental illness in the forensic unit of the hospital.  This included adults who had criminal charges and were either found incompetent to stand trial, not guilty by reason of insanity, or were sentenced to inpatient treatment.  My internships also included extensive training in individual and group therapy in the general population at Norristown State Hospital, as well as the outpatient and partial hospitalization programs at Lenape Valley Foundation in Doylestown, PA.

My approach is to tailor each person’s therapy to his or her unique needs, goals, and personality.  I realize that what may work for one person may not always work for another, and therefore I believe that it is important to be flexible and sensitive to individual differences.  Overall, we will work together to identify significant patterns in your life that affect your well-being, understand the thoughts and feelings behind those patterns, and integrate new and more effective ways at dealing with the challenges you face.  You and I work together as a team to help you build the skills and knowledge that will allow you to live a more satisfying and fulfilling life.


  • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensic Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University
  • B.A. in Psychology from University of Central Florida
  • Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Internship at Norristown State Hospital - Regional Forensic Psychiatric Center
  • Forensic research interests: competency to stand trial, NGRI verdicts, juror decision-making, recidivism, stalking, victim impact
  • Clinical research interests: treatment efficacy, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, cinematherapy

Additional Work Experience

  • Norristown State Hospital - Regional Forensic Psychiatric Center, 2003-2006: Responsibilities included working with seriously mentally ill offenders, providing individual and group therapy for competency restoration, relapse prevention, mental health awareness, and symptom management. I also perform psychological evaluations for competency to stand trial, diagnostic clarification, treatment recommendations, and amenability to treatment.
  • Lenape Valley Foundation, 2000-2003: Provided individual psychotherapy at a community mental health center. Clients treated were adults who presented with depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. Theoretical treatment approach included interpersonal, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Responsibilities also included treatment planning and implementation, as well as coordinating outpatient services with intensive case managers when necessary.
  • Forensic Health Care - California Conditional Release Program, 1996-2000: Provided counseling and case management to mentally ill offenders in an outpatient community treatment system. Performed weekly individual contacts, bi-monthly home and collateral contacts, submitted quarterly and annual progress reports to the court, conducted hospital evaluations for outpatient treatment readiness, and conducted community placement evaluations for patients found not guilty by reason of insanity and incompetent to stand trial.

See Dr. Pliner on TV!

Dr. Debbie is featured on Surviving Motherhood, a television show on The Discovery Health Channel providing support for struggling moms:

Dr. Pliner on the television show 'Surving Motherhood' Dr. Pliner on the television show 'Surving Motherhood'

View the rest of our team