About Kimberly J. Brayton

Kimberly Brayton, Ph.D., J.D, is one of those people you’d want to have by your side in the fox hole. 

Because when things would appear to be at their worst, she’d be thinking about how cool it would be to beat the odds and come out stronger on the other side. 

Or at least that’s the feeling you get after talking to her about the career challenges she’s taken on.

After earning a law degree and a doctorate in psychology, Professor Brayton first assisted in the representation of survivors of intimate partner violence.  Additionally, she worked with individuals with mental illnesses being released from criminal incarceration. She then transitioned to work with adult survivors of trauma, as well as those struggling with chemical dependency. After that, she opened a private practice, specializing in the treatment of anxiety-based disorders as well as forensic evaluations. These days, she’s best known for her expertise in helping trauma survivors.

This is Professor Brayton’s take on why she does what she does:

“It’s healing work. It’s motivating. It’s inspiring. And it’s incredibly rewarding.”

Since 2010, Professor Brayton has been sharing her knowledge, her passion and her inspiration at Russell Sage College, first as a teacher and now director in the graduate program of Forensic Mental Health, one of only a few programs of its kind in the country. 

She says she got into teaching because she wanted to be sharing and continuing to learn. 

“I have a lot of specialized training in trauma,” she says. “So few people understand how trauma affects people. And you can make such a positive impact on people’s lives. You can help them realize dreams they never even knew they had. People from backgrounds where so much has been taken from them.”

Sage offers a Master of Science and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Forensic Mental Health, to meet the growing demand for the programs and services needed by those who have both mental health needs and criminal justice involvement.

Professor Brayton says it’s a program for students who want to help others and make a difference and who want to acquire knowledge of the law as well as psychology, sociology and criminal justice. 

Graduates of the program go in many different directions, she says. To law school, to earn doctorates in criminal justice or psychology, or to the many places where the mental health field and the judicial system intersect.

Those who are successful, Kim says, all seem to have one thing in common:

 “They’re people who love to make a difference in someone’s life. Maybe someone who no one has ever helped before.”


Recent Courses Taught

Abnormal Psychology
Introduction to Forensic Mental Health
Chemical Dependency
Criminal Procedure
Alternative Dispute Resolution

Educational Background

Ph.D., Palo Alto University
J.D., Golden Gate School of Law