Meg Van Deusen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and mindfulness practitioner in private practice since 1994. She received her BA in English from Santa Clara University in 1985 and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles in 1992. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults both in inpatient and outpatient settings throughout the Los Angeles and Seattle areas. Her knowledge of and passion for attachment theory, mindfulness, interpersonal neurobiology, sleep and dreams informs her belief that meaningful connection with ourselves and others helps us handle stress. In her review of the literature and interviews with researchers, everyday Americans, and clients, she has cultivated a first-hand understanding of how our current American culture is creating barriers to human attachments and, therefore, weakening our ability to handle the stressors we face today. She believes that the ancient art of mindfulness, the recent research on happiness, and the simplicity of nature can, among other things, help us build resilience and calm during a time when disconnection has us lost in a worried world. All this and more is detailed in her book Stressed in the US: Twelve Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More
Stressed in the U.S. Twelve Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More
Seventy-five percent of Americans are moderately stressed. Seventy-five percent of Americans are lonely. More than 33 percent of us sleep less than six hours a night. In addition, 77 percent of us use social media daily and 81 percent of us own a smartphone. Anxiety is the leading psychological diagnosis today. Why are these statistics important? Because loneliness, sleep-deprivation, social media use, tech use, and even gut-imbalance—which the Huffington Post refers to as “the modern plague”—are all causes and results of stress. Stress is the reason for at least 75 percent of today’s doctor’s visits, costing the US billions per year in employee absenteeism, accidents, and illnesses.
9/11, climate change, a historic economic crisis, numerous mass shootings, an inordinate amount of school lockdowns, a foreign attack on our election, a politically divided country, tech-induced anxiety and addiction, and information overload: since 2000, these unique-to-our-time phenomena have created a petri dish of stress in the US, causing a host of emotional and physical ailments.
Here’s the problem: while the well-researched, psychological theory on attachment tells us that secure attachments to each other and to our nation create resilience to stress, our current American culture is creating barriers, not pathways, to human trust and closeness. Stressed in the US: Twelve Tools to Tackle Anxiety, Loneliness, Tech-Addiction and More investigates current, cultural phenomena that are causing a convergence of increased stress with decreased interpersonal connection from an attachment theory perspective.
Dr. Van Deusen explains why and how our relationships are breaking down at a time when we need them the most. The good news? As a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and mindfulness practitioner, she offers insights and solutions to a complex, pervasive problem.