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James Kimmel Jr, JD

Lecturer in Psychiatry


James Kimmel, Jr., JD, is a lecturer in psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, the founder and co-director of the Yale Collaborative for Motive Control Studies, and a researcher, lawyer, and novelist who focuses on neuroscience, psychology, revenge, addiction, forgiveness, and violence. A breakthrough scholar and expert on revenge, he first identified compulsive revenge seeking as an addiction and developed methods for preventing and controlling it. He received his doctorate in jurisprudence from the University of Pennsylvania and his BS degree summa cum laude from the Schreyer Honors College of the Pennsylvania State University. He developed the brain disease model of revenge addiction as a public health approach for preventing and treating violence, the nonjustice construct of grievance resolution and violence prevention, and The Nonjustice System and related Miracle Court App virtual courthouse for healing from victimization and controlling revenge cravings. He is a leader in expanding local, state, and national violence threat risk and reduction initiatives to include public behavioral health motive control strategies. He developed the Revenge Attack Warning Signs and First Aid and the School Nonjustice System bullying prevention and victim support program in schools. He created, the first-of-it’s-kind website aimed at preventing murders and mass shootings by speaking directly to prospective killers. He co-founded the largest peer support mental health agency in Pennsylvania. He maintains active consulting, training, and legal practices and is the author of Suing for Peace: A Guide for Resolving Life's Conflicts (Hampton Roads, 2005), The Trial of Fallen Angels, a novel (Penguin Random House/Putnam, 2012), and The Science of Revenge: Understanding the World's Deadliest Addiction--and How to Overcome It (Penguin Random House/Harmony Books, coming spring 2025). He was featured in the motion picture documentary 365 Days: A Year in the Life of Happy Valley (2014) about the Penn State University Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. He was also featured as an expert on revenge in the books The Age of Grievance by New York Times writer Frank Bruni (2024), We've Got issues by TV host Dr. Phil McGraw (2024), and Schadenfreude: The Joy of Another’s Misfortune by Tiffany Watt Smith (2018).

Education & Training

  • JD
    University of Pennsylvania (1990)

Departments & Organizations