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Kathy Marshack News

Have You Ever Encountered a Psychopath?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Have you ever been "had"? Perhaps without being aware of it, you encountered a psychopath. A psychopath is a person who lacks conscious and/or empathy. They commit actions without feeling any guilt or remorse – even if it hurts other people.

Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, shared his insight on psychopaths while interviewed on NPR. Even though he is not a psychologist, he has been able to nail psychopaths. Why is this of interest? According to Robert Hare, the inventor of the psychopath checklist, you are very likely to find a psychopath climbing the corporate ladder. These are people that you come in contact with on a regular basis.

I encourage all of you to tune into Jon Ronson's interview and learn more about the behavior of psychopaths. If you’re able to identify psychopaths, you can take precautions to protect yourself from their ruthless behavior.

Click here for more information about the broadcast.

Health Insurance Companies are Booming Even in Economic Downturn

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How do you feel when you hear the term "health insurance?" After reading the New York Times article, Health Insurers Making Record Profits as Many Postpone Care, I shutter!

Due to the economic state, many Americans have chosen to abandon or postpone medical care. They are more conscious of costs because gas and food (other necessities) are more expensive. Because of this, health care (especially mental health care) goes out the window. Insurance companies have since increased their premiums and are now racking in record profits. They claim it is largely due to the fact that they are protecting themselves for when Americans have the money to spend on health care again. Many who are in need of health care are scared that they cannot afford what is prescribed.

This is a case of the big bad companies playing into the fears of the little guys. They are exploiting the natural fear that humans have and are using it for their financial gain. Greed is ugly! This is the reason why privatization of health care does not work. If you are shopping for health insurance, make sure to find out about mental health care benefits. Click here to read a blog about what you need to keep in mind when you are in this situation.

Do You Feel Alone in an Asperger Relationship?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Do you feel alone even though you have a family? This is a common feeling for neurotypicals (NTs) who are in an Asperger marriage or have a family member with Asperger Syndrome. Even though you have a family, you can still feel very alone. Rest assured that your family member loves you, but they are blind to the emotional needs that you have. This is known as "mind-blindness." You may logically be able to comprehend this fact about your loved one, but after time, it can take a toll on you emotionally and even physically.

Your family may not understand what you are going through, but there are others who do. There are many men and women who are in the same situation, coping with the loneliness that comes from being in an Asperger relationship. How can you find each other ? By joining Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. Time and time again, I hear our members refer to this group as a "family." Its intent is not to replace the family you have, but rather extend it by filling the emotional needs that each individual has. I find it an honor to be a part of this unique family circle.

If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I encourage your attendance. Some upcoming topics for discussion are: Is your body taking a beating? Is Asperger’s a disconnect between cognitive and emotional empathy? Is your Asperger partner or loved one a survivor?

If you do not live locally, look for a support group for families of Asperger Syndrome in your area. You are also welcome to join our site and participate on the message boards. We have lively discussions and would love to hear from you. Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD

Also you may find my book helpful. Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? is available for purchase. The book primarily focuses on the NT in the relationship and how to guide yourself through these unique relationships. Click here to download a free sample chapter.

Attention Busy Women: Are You Addicted to Stress?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The idea of being addicted to stress may sound ridiculous, but it's true. Many Americans, specifically women, are in fact addicted to stress. The American Psychological Association says that more than half of women say they are stressed out. That is an increase of 25% in just 4 years! Stress is a very normal emotion, but it is not normal or healthy to be addicted to stress.

Why are so many women addicted to stress? For one thing, stress may equate a sense of success. They may feel like they have to work just as hard and as long as everyone else to stay ahead of the game. "Everyone else who is successful is stressed." Without realizing it, they have become victim to negative peer pressure.

Once the stress starts this vicious cycle, it is hard to stop. Stress can stimulate the production of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. That surge of hormones becomes addictive and in order to get that feeling, you need stress.

What are the consequences of stress? Stress can affect your emotional state. Depression, anxiety disorders are usually accompanied with acute stress. There are also many physical consequences such as tension headaches, gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, weight gain or weight loss, and also an increased risk of heart problems, stroke, and susceptibility to infections.

If you think that you have become addicted to stress, seek help. Like any other type of addiction, you can overcome it. For specific tips, visit Managing Stress on my website. Do not hesitate to take the proper steps to start leading a healthier and happier life.

The Latest Autism Statistics (1 Child in 38) Are Staggering

Monday, May 09, 2011

You may have heard the numbers reported on by the CDC – that 1 in 110 children are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. According to new research, it could be much higher! The American Journal of Psychiatry will be publishing new research from a study performed by researchers at the Child Study Center at Yale University and George Washington University.

For the last six years, researchers studied 7-12 year old children from the Ilsan District of the city of Goyang, South Korea. They estimate that 2.64% or 1 in 38 children in South Korea have autism. This doesn't necessarily mean that there are now more autistic children than before, but that the method of screening was more thorough.

In the past, the statistics given by researchers came from records of existing autism cases, but it never included children from parents who did not seek out a diagnosis. In the study performed in South Korea, the researchers tried to screen every child from the ages of 7-12. No wonder it took them six years! For more details on this study, read Study Uncovers Higher Rate of Autism.

These numbers can come as quite a shock. It raises the question, if this was done in the United States, would that 1 to 110 statistic change? It is my hope that doctors, parents, and teachers take a more proactive approach to uncovering autism. The earlier autism is detected, the sooner that child can receive the right kind of therapy, training, and schooling. Early detection is vital!

How to Build Self-Esteem in a Child with ADHD

Friday, May 06, 2011

ADHD often goes hand in hand with low self-esteem and depression. These negative emotions can start at a very young age. It may stem from feeling different from their peers, the inability to get the same results as others, and/or receiving extra criticism. As parents, it’s important to instill confidence in your ADHD child early on. Taking this extra effort is well worth your time and energy. If not, there can be serious consequences in the future.

Here are a few tips to help build the self-esteem in a child with ADHD:

·Positive reinforcement. In the past, I spoke about the benefits of positive reinforcement when it comes to autistic children, but the same principles apply to children with ADHD. Instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the positive. Look for the good behavior and the good qualities that they are exhibiting and be quick to commend them. When giving commendation, be specific. Explain what they did that you liked and why you liked it. The goal is to help them to make the connection that their good behavior equals positive reinforcement.

·Encourage their strengths. What is your child good at? Are they artistic? Musical? Athletic? Take note of what they excel at and encourage them to pursue those strengths. When they are feeling down about not excelling in an area, remind them that every person has strengths and weaknesses, and then remind them of their "special" skills or strengths. Get their teacher involved in this. They can exert a powerful influence for the good over your child.

·Use rewards. Rewards can be a tool that you can use to help your child build confidence. The reward does not need to be something grand, but it should be something that is meaningful to the child. Explain how they can earn the reward. Then make it "visual" by perhaps putting together a chart that tracks their progress and then posting it in their room or on the refrigerator. They will be able to see their progress. Plus it helps them to set goals and see that they can reach them.

·Do not compare them to others. A child is an individual and every individual is different. Comparing a child to another will simply guarantee that their confidence and self-esteem will drop. Avoid making careless comparisons. Instill in your child your love for them and tell them what makes them special to you.

·Therapy. Therapy can help a child feel better about themselves. A therapist can help a child to recognize that their disorder does not reflect who they really are. Over time the therapist can help children with ADHD identify and build on their strengths as well as help parents to learn how to do this more effectively.

Continue to encourage your child. Express your love for them. It may not always be easy to raise a child with ADHD, but by applying these few suggestions, your child will be more equipped to handle their future with confidence.

For more information, visit Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD. If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington to set up an appointment for Adult or Child ADHD counseling, contact my office.

TV Series “Exploring Critical Issues” Delves into Autism and Asperger Syndrome

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle." - Khalil Gibran

Dr. Robert A. Scott, Adelphi University President, the host of the television series "Exploring Critical Issues" will soon be discussing the topic, "Autism and Asperger Syndrome." The purpose of the segment is to discuss the newest autism research and policies with the goal of bring awareness to this fast growing disorder.

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is much more common than previously realized and many adults are undiagnosed. Studies suggest that AS is considerably more common than "classic" Autism. Whereas Autism has traditionally been thought to occur in about 4 out of every 10,000 children, estimates of Asperger Syndrome have ranged as high as 20-25 per 10,000. A study carried out in Sweden , concluded that nearly 0.7% of the children studied had symptoms suggestive of AS to some degree. Time Magazine notes in its May 6, 2002 issue cover story, “ASD is five times as common as Down syndrome and three times as common as juvenile diabetes." Click here to learn more about Asperger Syndrome.

Along with Dr. Robert Scott is a panel of four autism experts including Dr. Stephen Shore, Assistant Professor of Education at Adelphi University. Dr. Shore wrote the forward to my book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?. He teaches courses in special education and autism at Adelphi University. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Dr. Shore addresses adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his many books.

This one hour broadcast will air:
Sunday, May 8th
Sunday, May 15th
Tuesday, May 10th
Tuesday, May 17th
Thursday, May 12th
Thursday, May 19th

"Autism and Asperger Syndrome" can be viewed online at

Are You an Emotional Eater?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How do you deal with stress? A common solution for many is to EAT. This is what we call "emotional eating" or using food to soothe negative emotions. Emotional eaters usually turn to food that are high in fat, sugar, and calories.

There are many of situations that can trigger emotional eating. Work, family problems, financial stress, and health problems are common culprits. Emotional eating can be done consciously or unconsciously, but regardless it is habit forming and can cause serious health problems. Emotional eating can damage any weight-loss plans. It also creates an unhealthy cycle of eating (bingeing) and then heavy guilt because of overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Emotional eating is just a temporary fix for the cause of stress – it’s never a solution!

How can you overcome emotional eating? Here are some tips:

· Keep a record. It is important to identify what you eat when you feel a certain way. Start a food log and record what you are eating, when you decide to eat, and how you feel before and after you eat. By keeping an accurate record, you will be able to identify patterns and triggers. The key is to look for what emotion(s) are causing you to eat.

· Think before you eat. Once you have been able to identify you emotional eating triggers, use this information for the next time you feel that emotion. Ask yourself, "Do I want to eat because I feel ______? Am I really hungry or just looking to relieve stress? Why do I want to eat _______?

· Find a new way to reduce stress. Since emotional eating is an unhealthy way to reduce stress, it is now time to find a healthy way. Exercise, relaxation breathing, journaling, talking to a close friend, taking a hot bath, getting a massage, or reading a book are all healthy and simple ways to manage stress.

· Purge your home of unhealthy foods. It is easy to binge on ice cream, pizza, and chips when it’s within your grasp. If you want to stop emotional eating, remove any food items that you are drawn to when you are stressed. Instead, fill your refrigerator and pantry with healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, veggies, and yogurt.

· Therapy. If you cannot seem to get a grip on your emotional eating, then it is time to seek help from a mental health care professional. They will be equipped to help you identify your triggers and give you proper coping techniques. They will also be able to help you cope with the root cause of your emotional eating.

The cycle of emotional eating can be broken. By gaining on control over emotional eating, you will feel in control and have a healthier life.

If you would like help in dealing with emotional eating and live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Learn How to Use Your Emotions When Making Business Decisions

Friday, April 22, 2011

Making good business decisions is not based on high IQ. Rather it is based on how perceptive you are with your emotions. Those of us who feel our feelings, interpret them correctly, and then act upon that information, have an advantage over those of us who rely solely on intellect to make decisions. If you’re a business owner you probably need to make tough decisions every day. But really anyone can benefit from this information.

To properly perceive and act on your emotions takes practice. You must learn to master these 3 steps: (1) feeling your feelings; (2) interpreting your feelings correctly; and (3) acting upon the feeling information.

· Feeling your feelings. Feelings are things like joy, irritation, hunger, fatigue, boredom, confusion, pain, anticipation, pride, embarrassment, tension, and so on. It is also important to remember that you always feel your feelings first. Because of how you are "wired" thoughts or interpretations come after feelings. So it is useful to notice those feelings consciously before your conscious mind decides to ignore them or misinterpret them.

· Interpreting your feelings correctly. The key element here is to realize that feelings are basically neutral. That is, they are neither good nor bad; they are just feedback. Take anger for an example. Anger may feel unpleasant to you and therefore, something to suppress. However, the feeling of anger is neither good nor bad; it is just feedback about something that is important for you to know. Try to view all of your feelings that way. They are feedback in feeling-form about your environment.

· Acting upon the feeling information. Here are a few basic tips to improve your decision making by including relevant feeling information. (1) Always checkout your feelings before making any decision. (2) Inquire after another's feelings before proceeding to decision making. (3) Check your feelings again after arriving at the decision. (4) Remember that "feeling good" about something doesn't always mean that the decision is correct. (5) Be willing to acknowledge that you are afraid or angry or confused. Hiding these feelings from yourself may deny you powerful and necessary information.

Many of you know those successful people who seem always to be in the right place at the right time. They aren't really any smarter than you are, but probably they trust an "inner knowing" based upon using all of the resources available to them, emotional, mental, physical and even spiritual.

For more on information, visit Entrepreneurial Life.

Are You in a Codependent Relationship?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are you in a codependent relationship? Codependency is the act of sacrificing oneself for the sake of another’s addiction. It is an attitude, a style of living. People become codependent when they consistently allow their own needs and rights to become secondary to another’s needs and rights. This type of relationship can be harmful and its effects can be devastating.

You can identify if you are in a codependent relationship by looking for specific symptoms. Here are some symptoms to lookout for:

· Are you tired and depressed all the time?

· Does it seem you can’t do enough to please your partner, father, girlfriend?

· Are you the only one who cares if things get better?

· Are you getting more and more headaches, backaches, stomach aches?

· Are you sacrificing your good reputation to help someone who doesn’t give back?

· Feel unappreciated?

· Are you relying on food, shopping, alcohol or other drugs to give you a lift?

To break this devastating cycle, it is important for the codependent to recognize that you count just as much as the person you are protecting. Why are your rights as a person or your health less important than theirs? Secondly, by breaking the cycle of codependence, you are giving back, to the addict, responsibility for their behavior. The first step toward your recover and theirs, is accepting responsibility for your own behavior and your own live. After all, how can they get better if you do it for them?

Breaking codependency is extremely difficult to do without help and regular support from others. Psychotherapy, or marital therapy are necessary. You may want to call self-help groups, such as Al-Anon or Codependents Anonymous, both listed in your local directory. If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, WA, please contact my office for an appointment.

For more information, visit Marriage Counseling - Breaking the Cycle of Codependency.

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