- Walker Ladd
Previously a professional modern dancer with both a BA and MFA in dance from UCLA, Walker returned to school to receive an MA in clinical psychology from Antioch University Seattle and practicing as a Couples and Family Therapist. Following the traumatic childbirth and subsequent postpartum depression of her son in 2000, Walker dedicated herself to maternal mental health advocacy and research literacy, working as a certified birth doula (CD, DONA), and serving as the perinatal mental health editor for Lamaze International's Science and Sensibility, before returning to school to receive her Ph.D. in psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
Since her doctorate in 2014, Dr. Ladd has taught research methods and mentored doctoral students through the dissertation process while conducting her own research on perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Working across multiple qualitative methodologies, Walker seeks a deeper understanding of the subjective experience of mood and anxiety disorders during the perinatal period. Her book, Transformed by postpartum depression: Women's stories of trauma and growth (Praeclarus, 2020), was based on her grounded theory study of the traumatic and nature of untreated perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and subsequent posttraumatic growth for 25 women. She has conducted research on the stigma of mental illness for new mothers with a bipolar disorder (Ladd, 2018) and the meaning of postpartum depression for women in later life (Ladd, 2021). She is currently working on a study regarding the experience of the postpartum anxiety for new mothers during COVID-19.
Dr. Ladd has been a faculty member of Saybrook University since 2018 and is currently full-time faculty in the Department of Research. In addition to designing curriculum, Walker teaches qualitative research methods, including: hermeneutic phenomenology, narrative inquiry, autoethnography, heuristic inquiry, constructivist and Straussian grounded theory, and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Walker serves on dissertation committees as Chair and methodologist.
Walker is a full member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP), the Society of Humanistic Psychology (Division 32), the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IATA), and the Marce International Society for Perinatal Mental Health. She was the founding President of PATTCh (Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth) with Penny Simkin, and served on the President's Advisory Council for DONA (Doulas of North America).
- Areas of Expertise
Area Expertise Biological Development Cognitive Development Pregnancy (Alternative Methods of Fertilization) Pregnancy (Alternative Methods of Fertilization) Child & Adolescent Development Teratogens Anxiety Disorders Clinical Psychology / Mental Health Mood Affective Disorders / Suicide Trauma/PTSD Consciousness & Spirituality Studies Consciousness Studies / Altered States of Consciousness Marriage & Family Parenting Mood Disorders Bipolar Disorder Depression Dysthymia Psychology Clinical Psychology Cognitive Psychology Developmental Psychology Humanistic Psychology Marriage and Family Transpersonal Psychology Posttraumatic Growth PTSD/Trauma Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Case Study Research Design/Methodology Grounded Theory Heuristic Research Phenomenology Qualitative Inquiry Qualitative Inquiry
- Education History
Degree Institution Year PhD Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA 2013 MA Antioch University, Seattle, WA 2000 MFA UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 1994 BA UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 1989
- Professional Memberships
Role Organization Full Member American Psychological Association Member APA Division 32- Humanistic Psychology Member Society for Qualitative Inquiry in Psychology (SQIP) Member Marce Society of Perinatal Mental Health Member International Society for Trauma Studies
- Community Involvement
Role Organization Volunteer Qualitative Peer Mentor - Marce Society
- Media Exposure
- Curriculum Vitae
Postpartum and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, postpartum psychosis
Stigma of mental illness
Childbirth, traumatic childbirth, and childbirth practices
Transformational dimensions of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
Ladd, W. (2020). Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women's Stories of Trauma and Growth. San Antonio, TX: Praeclarus Press.
Ladd, W. (2018). "Born Out of Fear": A Grounded Theory Study of the Stigma of Bipolar Disorder for New Mothers. The Qualitative Report, 23 (9), 2081-2104.
Karraa, W., & McCaslin, M. (). Karraa, W., & McCaslin, M. (2015). Published: A grounded theory of successful publication for midcareer scholars. The Qualitative Report, 20 (8), 1332 - 1340.
- Professional Skills
postpartum depression, childbirth, grounded theory, hermeneutic phenomenology, interpretive phenomenological analysis, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders in perinatal period, stigma of mental illness, pragmatism, qualitative research, PTSD, post traumatic growth, maternal theory