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Kathy Marshack News

Don’t Give Up When Conquering Anxiety

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Have you experienced excessive anxiety and worry about your daily activities, such as work or school performance? Does your anxiety or worry interfere with your normal routine, job performance, social activities, or relationships? If so you may be one of the 19 million American adults suffering from an anxiety disorder. These disorders fill people's lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

Seeking professional help from a mental health care professional is key to overcoming anxiety disorders. A psychologist will help you learn how to deal with your anxiety. Psychologists often work closely with a psychiatrist or other physician, who will prescribe medications when they are required. When you find a health care professional the two of you are working together as a team. Together you will develop a plan to treat your anxiety disorder.

In addition to therapy, here are a few tips to help you minimize the effect of anxiety:
  • Eat a well balanced diet. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Practice deep breathing techniques
  • Exercise
  • Keep an anxiety log to help you identify things that trigger anxiety
  • Find time to relax and recreate

Visit Coping with Anxiety on my website for additional information. It is important to give any treatment a fair trial. And if one approach doesn't work, the odds are that another one will, so don't give up.

Does Spring have a Dark Side?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring fever – it’s not just a myth. Scientists have found that many biological and behavioral processes follow seasonal cycles. During spring, people generally feel more energetic, enthusiastic and amorous, while at the same time listless and restless. However, there can be a dark side to spring fever. This season brings with it an increase in insomnia, vehicle accidents, criminal activity and suicide. For those who suffer from wintertime depression, they can become more energetic and impulsive in the spring, which can lead to poor judgment.

So why do we feel different in the spring? Scientists say it has more to do with increased daylight than warmer weather. Our bodies are producing less melatonin, which means an increase in sex drive, enthusiasm and confidence. In addition to light, our senses are bombarded with fragrant aromas, soft winds and beautiful flowers.

Become aware of how the changing seasons affect you personally. Take your time easing into spring. Try to keep a regular routine of exercise and drink lots of water. It will help you make a smoother transition so you can enjoy “spring fever.”

Historic 1908 Train Crossing Closes Soon for Quiet Zone in Vancouver WA

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) recently announced the closure of the historic train crossing in East Vancouver near 144th Ct and SE Evergreen Highway. This stretch of track was installed in 1908 by the first train company in Washington, eventually named Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway or S P & S. It represented a joint venture by the Great Northern Railway and the Northern Pacific Railway to build a railroad along the north bank of the Columbia River.

The history of this location actually goes in several interesting directions. Psychologist and local historian, Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D., says, “This crossing was granted to my predecessors for selling a strip of land for the train for $800.” After some extensive research, Dr. Marshack actually found the deed recording this transaction.

At the time, the crossing was necessary because the “new” train cut off the old road, the Columbia City to Cascade City Road (CCCC). The CCCC was opened in 1852 and was the first road commissioned by the brand new Clarke County Commissioners. In fact the road is probably the oldest in the Oregon Territory, since it was originally built by the Hudson’s Bay Co. to get to their saw mill and grist mill. It was built in 1826 and was called the Mill Road. Silas Maxon and his brother extended the road in the 1850s from Columbia City (Vancouver) to Camas.

The train crossing was also necessary in 1908 because the CCCC led to a steamboat landing on the Columbia River which is even older than the road and train. Farmers used that steamboat landing well into the 20th century because it was essential to get their crops to market. Dr. Marshack found an article in the Columbian, from 1980, that interviewed an elderly woman talking of the days when she took the steamboat from the landing behind Dr. Marshack’s home.

Dr. Marshack has done extensive research on this area of East Vancouver along the Columbia River. She is available for interview by contacting her office at 360-256-0448 or via email at

How Family Businesses Benefit from Working with a Psychologist

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Maintaining a delicate balance between business and family is absolutely necessary when running a family business. This is not an easy thing to do. There are differences in work ethics and personalities, along with different strengths and weaknesses. When problems arise at work, it is not only going to affect the business, but also the family arrangement. If you are part of a family business, you may want to consider working with a psychologist who specializes in family businesses.

A family business psychologist works to understand the “soft side” of families who work together. They help the family members to recognize interpersonal problems that will affect the business and the family. I’ve been working as a family business psychologist for a number of years and have seen firsthand the benefits of this approach.

I had the pleasure of working with Camille Eber who is a second generation owner of Roth & Miller Autobody Inc. in Portland. Camille recently wrote an article entitled, "Working with family member is a blessing, challenge" about her personal struggles working with family. She had difficulty getting along with her nephew, William, who is currently the operations manager. They decided to make an appointment with me to help improve their relationship.

Here is what she said about their therapy sessions, "Dr. Marshack, author of "Entrepreneurial Couples: Making it Work at Work and at Home," helped us set individual and business goals and define our responsibilities within the business more carefully, which is a key to success in a family business. The personality testing we worked through was particularly eye-opening. Once my nephew and I acknowledged we're nearly polar opposites, it helped us realize better how we could use that to benefit the business. We were able to return to work on the business as a team rather than working against each other." Click here to read the rest of the article.

If you are experiencing challenges within your family business, I highly recommend making an appointment with a family business psychologist. Like Camille's experience, you will be able to better understand yourself and one another which will help make your business and your family a success.

When Being Shy Becomes a Problem

Friday, April 30, 2010

When a study was done to find out what people feared the most, public speaking ranked number one, even higher than death! It not only is feared the most, but is one of the most prevalent and common fears that people experience. Until recently, it was dismissed as a minor problem and was considered normal that people would get nervous speaking in front of others. But recent research shows that people who do experience this problem and find it debilitating and controlling their life have a valid problem.

Symptoms such as heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, dizziness, blushing, shortness of breath, choking, one's mind going blank, etc., can be typical responses to being in the spotlight. However, if you find yourself worrying too much about what others think of you, and fear embarrassment or humiliation in front of others to the extent that you avoid situations where you are the center of attention, you may have social phobia.

Learn more about social phobias and treatment options in a self-help tip on my website.

How Couples Therapy Helps Women Dealing with Alcoholism

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alcoholism is a disease. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 14 million Americans—1 in every 13 adults—abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Abusing alcohol is not only damaging to your health, it can also have devastating effects on relationships with family, friends and coworkers. Studies show that women are less likely to seek help for their addiction to alcohol than men. If your wife or partner is suffering from alcoholism, there is something you can do to help them.

A new study focused on women dealing with alcoholism and how couples therapy could be a powerful option in overcoming their addiction. The women who participated in couples therapy had greater results than those in individual treatment. The social support of a committed spouse or partner seems to have play a role in helping the addict work on their addiction. Click here to view this study in its entirety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was used as a treatment in this study. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is designed to help address the way you think. It helps identify faulty and irrational thinking to more constructive, solution-oriented thinking. Click here for more information on the benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Whether you are a man or a woman, please seek help if you are suffering from an addiction to alcohol. There are many resources available for you. Visit the Alcoholism Recovery section on my website for more information.

A Link Between Depression and Smoking

Sunday, April 25, 2010

According to studies performed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), adults with depression are more likely to smoke than those with no symptoms of depression. They also tend to smoke more heavily. Click here to view the entire study.

Overcoming depression and an addiction to cigarettes are two different challenges that can be tamed with proper help. First, address the depression. There are many factors that contribute to depression. A very effective way to treat depression is by therapy with a mental health professional. They will be able to give practical assistance to help overcome the issues that are causing your depression. Click here to read more about Overcoming Depression.

Another part to overcoming depression is to make lifestyle changes. That is when the issue of smoking can be addressed. To be a successful at becoming a non-smoker, you must take two steps:

First: Change your environment at work and at home so that smoking is not as easy to do.

Second: Recognize that most of your smoking is done to take care of other emotional needs. When you desire a  cigarette, ask yourself, “What do I really want instead?” Then take care of the real need.

The emotional work you are doing to overcome your depression will also help you to recognize why you are smoking in the first place. A mental health care professional will be able to add further assistance to you in this area. Visit my website for more information to help you stop smoking.

New Partners & Family of Adults with Asperger Syndrome Support Group in Lake Oswego, Oregon

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It’s been one year since the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group was formed in Portland. Thanks to all who have been a part of the group and helped it to develop into a productive and upbuilding environment.

Since the support group has been so successful, we have decided to form a new group in the Lake Oswego area. Two members from the Portland group will be facilitating the new group. The group will meet on alternate Saturdays to the Portland group. If you currently attend the Portland group, you are welcome to join the Lake Oswego meetings as well. The location and exact start-up date have not been confirmed. I will be sure to include all details in a blog as soon as they have been decided upon.

This Saturday April 17, the Portland group will be meeting in at 1 pm. The theme of this month’s discussion is "Learning to laugh again." Come join us to begin the process of reclaiming your life. If you are already laughing, share the laughter. If you are still numb and in survivor mode come along and see what is possible by hearing the stories of others. If you are somewhere in between then you know that you are growing toward freedom and that feels so good.

Our goal is to start a group in the Vancouver, Washington area in the near future. For more information, please visit

What to do when your spouse has ADD?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ADD is not something that only affects children. Adult ADD is a common disorder.  Symptoms of ADD include problems with following through on instructions, paying attention, poor listening, disorganization, lack of attention to detail, trouble with tasks that require planning or long-term effort,  easily distracted, or forgetful. In addition, some with ADD can be fidgety, verbally impulsive, unable to wait their turn, and act on impulse regardless of consequences.


If you are married to someone with ADD, it is realistic to expect that there will be additional challenges in your marriage due to your spouse’s disorder. What are some simple things you can do to minimize problems in your marriage?

One key is to be organized. Making lists and keeping an up-to-date schedule will help the spouse with ADD to stay on track. You may have to kindly and tactfully remind them of important details just to keep the information fresh in their mind. We have so many handy organizational tools today. Things like sticky notes, cell phone alarms, and Google Calendar are all good aids to keep your life together organized. Another tip is to keep life simple – avoid filling the home with unnecessary things that will distract them.

Remember that mistakes and miscommunication are all part of life, regardless if ADD is present in your marriage. It is important to understand what your spouse is capable of and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Understanding on your part will help you to gain a greater appreciation for them and their disorder. Professional help may be necessary at times. A marriage counselor or a mental health care professional can help you and your spouse by giving you direction in dealing with one another and the disorder.

For more information, visit ADD in Adults on my website.

What is a Mompreneur?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The term "mompreneur" has been popping up everywhere. What does it mean? defines "mompreneur" as, "a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur." According to the Center for Women's Business Research, in 2008 "10.1 million firms are owned by women, employing more than 13 million people, and generating $1.9 trillion in sales." No wonder mompreneur has become a popular term – they are everywhere.

Being a mother and a business owner is no easy task. But when done right, both areas can be a success. Here are a few things to help keep a mompreneur in balance:

1. Stick to a schedule. Scheduling will help you stay focused on the most important tasks without getting distracted with nonessentials

2. Get the family on board. A supportive spouse is key to running a successful business. Also, involve the kids when appropriate. They can help you with things around the house or even get involved with some of the business aspects.

3. Take time for self-care. If you don't take care of yourself first, you can't take care of your family or your business. Take a few moments everyday to relax whether that means exercising, reading, or chatting with a friend on the phone.

I have written many articles about women business owners over the years as part of my Families In Business column. I invite you to learn more about how to be a successful business woman leader.

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