News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Articles written by audry van houweling, pmhnp

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  • The power of connection

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP Columnist|Updated Dec 11, 2018

    The holiday season can be a mixed bag of emotions. In the best case, it is filled with joy and merriment; however, feelings of grief, stress, and loneliness are also common. In either case, what makes the season most meaningful for most of us is celebrating the connections we share with those we love. In these digitalized times, establishing and maintaining social connections that allow for face-to-face contact has become more challenging. It has become the norm - especially in our younger generations - that social... Full story

  • Facing the tough questions of suicide

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Nov 6, 2018

    Have you ever felt so overwhelmed, sad, or hopeless that you considered ending your life? This is a question I ask to almost every new client that comes in my doors. You might be surprised who says, "yes." Prominent community members, business owners, CEOs, healthcare providers, educators, honor-roll students, dedicated parents, spiritual leaders, elementary-aged children, elite athletes, yoga masters, and politicians are all among the many individuals who were brave enough to tell me that yes, they have contemplated... Full story

  • The gift of letting go - moving toward simplicity

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Oct 23, 2018

    The intersection between our emotional state and physical surroundings is clear. With a society that thrives on consumerism and being inundated with digital information (i.e. my personal inbox with about 3,000 emails), we can frequently find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and overstimulated. Certainly, there are aspects of our physical environment that are essential to emotional wellness as in safety and security. Additionally, however, our tendency to accumulate, update, and keep up with trends, can be... Full story

  • Facing up to childhood trauma

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Jul 17, 2018

    It is not easy being a kid these days. Even in the best of circumstances, growing up in today's world certainly comes with challenges. Suicide rates have risen among teens - and sharply. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide for teens is up 28 percent since 2000. Suicide among girls age 15-19 has reached a 40-year high and has increased 30 percent for boys age 15-19 since 2000. Suicide is now the third leading cause of death in young people age 10-24. The digital age has made social comparisons, criticism,... Full story

  • The loneliness behind success

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Jun 19, 2018

    How do you define success? Who or what shaped your ideas of what success is? Has this definition served you not only financially, but also spiritually and emotionally? Our vision of success has likely been dictated by past experiences, relationships, education, opportunity, culture, and the society in which we live. In our society success is often defined by external accomplishments - our bank accounts, our home, our cars, our clothing, how many letters we have after our name, and how many followers we have on our social... Full story

  • A woman's desire for control

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Jun 12, 2018

    One of my goals in my practice is to heighten insight and self-awareness among my clients. Many of my female clients come to me with complaints of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and underappreciated. These symptoms are often married to perfectionistic tendencies and attempts to control the external to compensate for internal chaos. Now for some controversy. When it comes to control and gender, it seems that a double standard exists. Men are often chastised for seeking control in a relationship as it seems akin to emotional... Full story

  • Confronting body shame

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Apr 24, 2018

    I always ask my clients to rate their self-esteem 0-10. The vast majority of my clients rate themselves below 5. If my client happens to be female, complaints about her body almost always dominate the list of why. Intellect, character, performance and achievement are often never mentioned. It is altogether disheartening how many of us associate value and worth with size, the number on the scale, and measurements that are idealized by a social concept that is unrealistic and, in many cases, impossible. Like most women,... Full story

  • Compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma

    Bhy Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Feb 27, 2018

    It seems empathy is in high demand these days. Helping professionals, healers, or simply those with caring personalities may feel overwhelmed and even exhausted trying to meet this demand. Having a caring heart and a tendency to put others ahead of ourselves makes us especially vulnerable to "compassion fatigue." Compassion fatigue, a term coined by Dr. Charles Figley, is a "state of tension and preoccupation with the suffering of those being helped to the degree that it can create a secondary traumatic stress for the... Full story

  • Is marijuana harmless?

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Feb 13, 2018

    No. But let's get our priorities straight. I have lived most of my life "by the book." I think I tried marijuana once...OK maybe twice. Curiosity, I suppose, mixed with a bit of peer pressure back in my younger years. Despite my anticipation of some wild trip, I think I just ended up eating more potato chips and falling asleep on the couch. Underwhelming, you could say. Years later, I am now a psychiatric nurse-practitioner. Having worked throughout the Northwest, you would have to be living under a rock to avoid the chatter... Full story

  • Mental illness and places of worship

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNPColumnist|Updated Jan 30, 2018

    It is estimated that one in four Americans suffers from some sort of mental illness. A good number of these individuals may lean on their faith and place of worship in times of distress. While a place of worship may provide needed refuge, in other instances our place of worship can also cause shame. There have been noteworthy efforts among some places of worship to recognize the prevalence and impact of mental illness; however, in too many others, there continues to be a stigma and/or discomfort that perpetuates silence and... Full story

  • Women and alcohol

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP Columnist|Updated Jan 16, 2018

    Alcohol use among women is up - by a lot. According to a study conducted by JAMA Psychiatry rates of alcohol use, high-risk alcohol use, and alcohol-use disorder have all increased considerably among women from 2001-02 to 2012-13. The study also noted considerable increases in alcohol use among minorities and older adults. While there has been a recent spotlight on opioid and prescription drug use, alcohol use has quietly been climbing, and deaths attributed to alcohol continue to rival any other substance. High-risk... Full story

  • Don't chase resolutions, chase habits

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Jan 2, 2018

    The New Year is upon us. It is that time of year again when we feel a surge of inspiration to tackle those resolutions - lose weight, quit smoking, read more books, travel - you know the drill. The beginning of a New Year can feel like a fresh start, which at least for a while can jumpstart our motivation into action. Now for the bad news: most resolutions fail. We start the year feeling optimistic and then all too often life seems to get in the way and our motivation dwindles. Sound familiar? Many of us have our sights set... Full story

  • The curse of comparison

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Dec 26, 2017

    It is human nature to compare ourselves against others. There has always been a pressure from generation to generation to "keep up with the Joneses." Of course, who the "Joneses" are has changed over time. For instance, you have had to replace those lovely harvest gold and avocado appliances once so chic with white or black and then to stainless-steel, and now somehow smart appliances that can order your milk for you. The way in which we compare has also changed. If we go back a century, our means to compare was based... Full story

  • Coping with grief during the holiday season

    Audry Van Houweling, PMHNP|Updated Nov 28, 2017

    For many of us holidays are made meaningful by spending time with the people we love most. We build traditions and memories defined by our loved ones playing special roles in helping to make the season bright. Someone hangs the Christmas lights, carves the turkey, decorates the home, prepares our favorite foods, eats the cookies, lights the candles, or whatever holiday traditions we may value. We come to anticipate these traditions, and it therefore can be especially difficult when those traditions and memories are disrupted... Full story