Winner, 2016 CalSouthern President’s Award for Doctoral Project Excellence: Dr. Christopher Walling

Dr. Christopher Walling, a 2016 graduate of CalSouthern’s Doctor of Psychology program, is a somatic psychotherapist based in Los Angeles, California. He also owns an addiction medicine company that works with criminal justice organizations throughout greater Los Angeles. In addition, Dr. Walling has been trained in emotionally focused couples therapy by the renowned Dr. Sue Johnson.

Prior to his work as a psychotherapist, Dr. Walling worked in executive leadership in academic medicine, including tenures at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuropsychology and Biobehavioral Sciences and the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Dr. Walling’s doctoral project, titled Somatic Experiencing Praxis: Applications of Proprioception and Interoception in Psychotherapy, is a fascinating study of somatic experiencing, a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. Oversimplified, it is an approach designed to release traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early development attachment trauma.

Dr. Walling’s work explored the themes of somatic experiencing’s origins and its consequential clinical applications. It also illustrated how it supports the client’s ability to experience a biological completion of sorts, discharging psycho-motor patterns that are often held incomplete within the human nervous system for years.