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Kathy Marshack News

Entrepreneurial Couples – How to Make Love the Top Priority

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Entrepreneurial couples have their work cut out for them to sustain proper balance in their lives. Making time for friendship, romance, and family togetherness is difficult, but imperative. As contrary as it may sound, putting love as the top priority is the key to success for any entrepreneurial couple. With so many responsibilities, it is nearly impossible to be spontaneous or wait for the right moment for love and romance. Successful entrepreneurial couples realize that they have to plan for love.

How can an entrepreneurial couple plan for love? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Schedule regular date nights. I encourage couples to have one date night per week and put it in stone. Use this time to focus on one another, not the business.

2. Take frequent mini-vacations. Sometimes you need more time together than a few hours. By taking a few mini-vacations a year, you can relax and recharge, coming home invigorated and ready to get back to work.

3. Volunteer together. Doing things for others can bring a couple closer together. If you have children, volunteer together to help in the classroom or to go on the school field trips. If you do not have children, look for a local cause that you both are interested in and regularly volunteer.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Make time everyday in the morning or at the end of each day for uninterrupted discussions about everything that is necessary to keep the flow smooth. If one of you has to travel out of town, schedule time to talk every day.

All of these approaches help you remember why on earth you are working so hard anyway . . . to share your successes with the ones you love. So, make love the priority!

For more information on Entrepreneurial Couples, visit Entrepreneurial Life - Couples at Work and Home. My book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home is also available for purchase with advice specifically about the challenges of working with your spouse.

Mind Blindness and the Disconnect in Asperger Syndrome Relationships

Thursday, March 17, 2011


If you have a loved one with Asperger Syndrome, it is vital that you learn about "mind blindness" or "lack of empathy." This is a key feature of what makes your relationship with the Aspie unique. Mind blindness or lack of empathy is the disconnect between emotional and social cognition. A person with Asperger Syndrome has trouble reading nonverbal clues and therefore ignores the bulk of a conversation. The Aspie knows what they think and feel but are often unaware of what their loved ones think or feel. They become so focused on themselves that it may seem like they don't care or love you, but that is not true. What happens is that they just don't notice.

Mind blindness can have some especially serious side effects on the partner or spouse of someone with Asperger's. Even though their behavior is not intended to hurt you, it still does. Then you may reach out to someone else like a friend, but if they do not understand Asperger's they will most likely not understand what you are going through. Without the right care, low self-esteem, depression, and resentment may settle in deep.

If you find yourself in a relationship that has a lack of empathy, realize you are not alone! Many experience a similar situation. As a psychologist and marriage counselor I recognized that there’s a great need to give guidance to families of adults with Asperger Syndrome. Here are my suggestions for you:

1. Seek out therapy from a professional specializing in Asperger Syndrome. Click here to see my specific therapy recommendations.

2. Join a support group. Click here for tips on how to find one that suits your needs.

3. Educate yourself about Asperger Syndrome. My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? was written specifically for those in a relationship with someone with Asperger's. My upcoming book is entitled, Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Sight, Out of Mind. A free sample chapter is available for download. I have also compiled a list of books that I have found especially helpful - Recommended Books Part 1 and Recommended Books Part 2.

These suggestions will help you to see more clearly your own situation and take the necessary steps to live a happier, more full-filled life.

New Study Includes Interesting Tip for Insomniacs – Get Out of Bed!

Friday, March 11, 2011


In a previous blog, I spoke about the recent trend in sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation, also known as insomnia, is of serious concern due to the long-term effects it can have on a person's physical and emotional health.

A study performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine came to an interesting conclusion for those with insomnia. Their conclusion was to spend less time in bed. When someone has insomnia, they begin to associate the disorder with their bed. They lie awake for hours struggling to fall asleep which ends up upping their stress level. The key is if you are not falling asleep, get out of bed and try an activity that will help you relax your body and mind.

Establishing a healthy sleep routine and learning specific relaxation techniques will also be beneficial for those with insomnia. I recommend scheduling an appointment with a mental health care professional. They can help you establish a good routine and teach you the right techniques for your sleep deprivation issues. Most importantly, often times they help you identify the root cause of what’s keeping you awake at night. If you live in the Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington area contact my office for more information.

Scleroderma Foundation's 10 Annual Seminar – Discussing Chronic Pain

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Our mind and our body are in constant communication. What the mind thinks, perceives, and experiences is sent from the brain to the rest of the body. And vice versa – our bodies are sending messages to the brain. When your body experiences chronic pain, that pain will affect your mind and the way you think.

On March 12, 2011, I will be a speaker at the Oregon Chapter of the Scleroderma Foundation's 10th Annual Cheri Woo Education Seminar. I will be discussing "How Chronic Pain Changes Your Thinking...And How Your Thinking Can Change Your Chronic Pain."

This seminar is free and is open to the public. If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, I encourage you to come. I will be speaking at 12:45 pm. The last 15 minutes will be Question and Answer from the audience. This is a wonderful foundation and I hope that as many as possible will be available to attend. For more information on chronic pain, visit Holistic Health or contact my office.

Depression Is Not Your Fault

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Depression is a real and very serious disease that affects millions. There are many reasons why someone may suffer from depression, but it is important to note that if you have depression it is not your fault. Many tend to think that it is their fault and because of that they are embarrassed and sometimes even shy away from getting proper help.

I wanted to share with you some of the often underlying reasons why someone may have depression. Here are some factors to consider:

1. Gender. Women, regardless of nationality or socioeconomic level, have higher rates of depression than men. This may be in part due to hormonal changes often experienced during the days before menstruation, the postpartum period after delivering a baby, and around menopause. Women are also affected by the difference in their social status from men.

2. Social and economic considerations. Being in a low socioeconomic group is a major risk factor for depression. However, people of all income levels are likely to be depressed if they have poor health and are socially isolated.

3. Severe or chronic medical conditions. Depression follows or is caused by many medications or serious medical problems.

4. Emotional and personality disorders. Chronic depression is a frequent companion to anxiety disorders. Personality disorders, such as borderline and avoidant personalities, appear to strongly predispose people to depression.

5. Substance abuse and addictions. It is estimated that 25% of people with substance abuse problems also have major depression. Internet addiction is a recent phenomenon that may a pose risk for depression as well.

6. Sleep disorders. A study of male medical students found that young men who experience insomnia are twice as likely to suffer from depression at middle age.

7. Family history. A family history of mental illness, especially mood disorders, appears to predispose a patient to the development of depression. Often a combination of genetic, biologic, and environmental factors are at work. Children of depressed parents are at a higher risk for depression and other emotional disorders.

If you or someone you know has depression, seek help. Depression is a disease that can be treated effectively. Click here for more information and depression and available treatments.

Are You a Survivor of Survivors?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


How do you describe a person who has been traumatized by another person's trauma? I would describe them as a "survivor of survivors." Whether it is from PTSD, alcoholism, Asperger Syndrome, or something else, the actions of that person will affect their loved ones, sparking a cycle of re-traumatization. This type of cycle is vicious and harmful to say the least.

It's hard to explain why a person will feel traumatized by the behavior of another person, but those feelings are very real and should not be minimized. If those feelings are not addressed, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem will set in.

The key is to try and stop the cycle so no one else turns into a survivor of survivors. For the cycle to stop, both parties must seek professional help. There are a variety of effective therapies now available. In addition to therapy, joining a support group is an excellent way to gain comfort and strength from those in a similar situation.

If you have a family member with Asperger Syndrome and live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I invite you to join Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. On March 19, 2011, we will be discussing "Are You a Survivor of Survivors?" and exploring this topic in detail.

If your loved one is suffering from another type of trauma or disorder, please contact my office for more information. Do not delay in stopping the cycle!

What You Feed Your Children Impacts Their IQ

Monday, February 28, 2011


A parent’s natural desire is to give their child the best. Healthy, happy children that grow into happy, healthy adults is the ultimate goal. Sad to say, in our society, parents are struggling. We are living in the era of convenience. The problem with convenience is that it is taking a toll on children especially in one particular area…food!

Children are consuming large amounts of food rich in sugar and fat. The culprit is primarily processed foods. Parents may say that it’s no big deal, it's easy and convenient, so what's the problem? The problem according to a recent British study is that there may be a correlation between what young children eat and their IQ. A processed food diet may result is a lower IQ.

So, what lesson is there for parents? Parents, what you feed your children may have a serious impact on your child's future. Take the time to prepare healthy meals for your children. A well balance diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish is recommended. One way to improve eating habits is to eat one meal a day together as a family. It can help the family to eat a healthy and balanced diet. You will be able to observe any unhealthy habits that your children may be developing. Another benefit is it improves family communication.

It’s well worth your while to make the necessary changes in your family’s eating habits – it will only lead you closer to your ultimate goal.

For more information, visit Am I a Good Parent?

5 Steps to Develop a Fair Compensation Plan for Your Family Business

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Compensating relatives is a sticky business. Not all people are really created equal. It is sometimes very difficult to assess and compare the talents of family members who are also employees. Nor do all family members contribute equally to the business. As a result of the stress that this causes, many family business owners ignore the problem and let compensation become a breeding ground for dissension in the family.

If you want a successful family business, you must push your anxiety aside and develop a compensation plan. To develop a fair compensation plan for your business, follow these five steps:

1. Write up accurate job descriptions for each employee. Include responsibilities, level of authority, technical skills, level of experience and education required for each job.

2. Identify what your compensation philosophy is. Do you want to pay about average, or higher? Do you want to attract talent from other companies? Do you want to offset the typical male/female wage differential? Are you a training ground for young, inexperienced people?

3. Gather information on the salaries of similar positions in your industry. Size up companies that are similar to yours in number of employees, revenue, product, geographic location, etc. What salaries and other benefits do these similar organizations pay their employees?

4. Develop a succession plan. How will a successor to the leadership be identified among family member/employees? How will they be prepared for leadership? How will this choice affect the morale of the family/business? How will this successor be compensated?

5. Design an affordable plan. Obviously you want to do the best you can with the dollars you have. What can you afford to compensate each family member/employee relative to their contribution?

After you have a compensation plan that reflects the family’s values as well as sound business practices, you are in position to negotiate an employment contract with a family member. It is important that everything is spelled out up front so that when you have an annual review, there is a way to compare employee performance with outlined expectations in the job description. Salary increases can then be based upon the employee’s true accomplishments.

As the CEO of a family business, make the best decision you can for the business. As a parent or a spouse, encourage your family member/employee to achieve their greatest potential within or outside the business. In this way both business and family wins.

For more on Entrepreneurial Life, visit Families in Business.

High Risk of Substance Abuse for Children with ADHD

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Twenty seven long-term studies show a connection between ADHD and substance abuse. Research shows that someone with ADHD is two to three times more likely to suffer from some type of substance abuse than someone without the disorder. Gender and ethnicity did not change the results. (For more on this study, read ADHD Linked to Higher Risk of Substance Abuse.)

This type of research should move parents to pay close attention to the development of their children. If you suspect that your child may have the disorder, it is vital that you take appropriate action and schedule an evaluation. A diagnosis can be made by gathering information from a variety of sources. In the case of a child this is done through a detailed, structured interview with the parents. Behavior rating scales are filled out by parents and teachers to provide information on types and severity of ADD or ADHD symptoms, as well as types and severity of other emotional or behavior problems.

Once a diagnosis has been made, then appropriate treatment can be administered. Therapy is highly recommended for childhood ADHD. In individual counseling, a therapist can help the child learn to feel better about themselves. They do this by helping them recognize that having a disability does not reflect who they are as a person. Over time the therapist can help people with ADD identify and build on their strengths, cope with daily problems, and learn to control their attention and aggression. Taking these proactive steps are vital and will hopefully protect your child from taking the path of substance abuse.

For more information, visit Parenting a Child with ADD.

How to Find the Right Support Group

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Joining a support group can feel intimidating. The idea of sharing intimate stories with people you don’t know can make even the most outgoing person anxious. A lot of times, fear of joining can be dispelled by doing your research to see if the group fits you and your needs.
 
Here are a few thing to keep in mind when searching for a support group:
 
Join Online
Many support groups have websites that include the members, message boards, and meeting information. Joining online before going to the group in person will give you some time to get to know the members and their personalities. You can also get a clue as to what they are discussing and see if it will suit your needs. Don't feel bad if it is not a fit. Remember, this is about you and it's okay to be picky!
 
Ask Questions
Contact the group facilitator and ask questions about the group. Think of the questions ahead of time and be specific about what you are looking for. Ask about location, price, meeting format, and confidentiality.  
 
Avoid Negativity
Look for a support group that is solution-oriented. Having a safe place to “vent” is important but beware of groups that turn into a pity party or a place to constantly spew negative emotions. The goal of a support group is to walk away feeling refreshed. A sign of a healthy group is when there are regular members attending and you see friendships budding. If arguments are a regular feature, then walk away.
 
I have been facilitating a support group for the last couple of years –  Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. This group has continued to grow because members realize that in order to cope effectively with their unique situation, they need love and support from others who can completely relate. I have been receiving many messages from our members sharing their feeling about our group. Here are some of the latest comments:
 
"Thank you for this site and your ongoing support. I have only been a member here for exactly one month, but it has meant more to me than all the counseling I've attempted over a 30-year marriage. I just can't emphasize enough what a relief from profound confusion, invalidation, and loneliness this experience of being heard and guided here has been. I think I'm finally making some real progress in regaining myself."
 
"In starting this discussion group, you are truly creating something big. Out of your pain and life lessons, you are giving others life through awareness and the chance to express and feel. . .normal again. Further, your continued presence on this site is amazing since you already have a business to run yourself."
 

Thank you to all who have shown your support to our group. If you are interested in joining, please take the leap! We would love to meet you. Click here for more information about Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD.


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