(503) 222-6678 - Portland, Oregon
(360) 256-0448 Vancouver, Washington


ADD in Adults
Parenting a Child with ADD
Coping with Anxiety Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overcoming Depression
Managing Stress
Conquering Fears & Phobias
Overcoming Social Phobia
Couples at Work & Home
Dual Career Couples
Families in Business
Recognizing High Conflict Divorce
Conflict & Communication
Couples at Work & Home
Love, Sex & Intimacy
Maintaining Strong Marriage
Dual Career Couples
Advice for Singles Only
Alcoholism Recovery
Stop Smoking
Weight Control
Headache Relief
Holistic Health
Managing Blood Pressure
Releasing Unresolved Stress
Am I a Good Parent
Blended Families
Gifted Child
Coping with ADD/ADHD
Adoptive Families
Gifted Adults
When to Seek Help
Psychotherapy Options
Laid-Off from Work
Calendar of Events
Media Coverage
Press Center
Related New Stories
Enriching Your Live Archive
Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Enriching Your Life!

Sign up for my FREE newsletter! Get practical tips for you and your family.

Kathy Marshack News

Tips for the “Survivor” Entrepreneur

Friday, June 19, 2009

Are you an entrepreneur? Are you impatient with details? Do others work too slowly?  Are you hypercritical? Do you make things happen? Do others admire you? Can you usually handle twice the work of others?  Are you tenacious? Are your successes due to your own hard work?  Do you thrive on adversity? If you recognize yourself in this short quiz, then you are probably a survivor entrepreneur, someone who overcame great obstacles to accomplish their dreams in life. Because your survival depended upon quick action and attending to what was immediately necessary to accomplish your dream, this type of entrepreneur has honed efficiency to a fine science. Your gaze is constantly on the horizon, looking for the next opportunity or the next problem to solve. However, when you err, you are exceptionally hard on yourself. Here are a few tips every survivor entrepreneur should learn to cultivate: 1. Learn to accept failure graciously; you'll have more friends and supporters that way. Others may have experienced more failure than you have and they need to know that you understand and are human too. Don't stop being right, but be more patient with your errors and those of others. 2. Remember you are the one with the vision. It is your gift and one that should be used generously and wisely. Others have different gifts to contribute that are just as valuable, but without visionary ability, they really can't so easily understand what you grasp in an instant. So take the time to walk them through what you know. 3. Don’t make a life of surviving. Some survivor entrepreneurs keep creating crises in their lives, often unconsciously, so that they can get the thrill of mastering the crisis. The entrepreneur may be able to handle this excitement but your family and friends may tire quickly of the emotional roller coaster. Save the surviving for real adversity and take the time to stop and smell the roses with the ones you love. There are deep and profound rewards in the tiny things that occupy ordinary life too, if you will explore that territory. Read my article to learn more about “survivor” entrepreneurs.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Reduce ADD Symptoms

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For decades, medications have been used to treat the symptoms of attention deficit disorders. For many people, these medicines dramatically reduce their hyperactivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. But many people are hesitant about taking medication. Is there anything else available to reduce symptoms of ADD? Dr. Daniel Amen, a child psychiatrist, has been using Omega-3 fatty acid supplements for years to treat patients with ADD. In one of his recent newsletters, Dr. Amen highlighted a study from Canadian researchers studying the effects of Omega-3’s on ADD. Their results showed that children taking Omega-3 supplements have better behavior and a greater attention span. This study has been published in the February 2009 journal, Paediatric Child Health. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only beneficial for ADD, but also for depression, joint pain, and great for the brain. In addition to medication or supplements, I highly recommend behavioral therapy, emotional counseling, and practical support. In individual counseling, a therapist can help the child or adult with ADD 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. For more information on coping with ADD/ADHD, please visit my website.

Scheduled Television Appearance on June 16, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Exciting news! I will be appearing on Portland’s KATU morning show, AM Northwest. I will be discussing my new book, Life with a Partner for Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE? Here are the details: When: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 Show:  KATU AM Northwest Local Channel: Channel 2 Scheduled Time: 9-10 am Link for viewing online: I hope you can tune in!

More Recommended Books on Asperger Syndrome

Friday, June 12, 2009

Here are a few more books on Asperger Syndrome that I highly recommend reading. Enjoy!

The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism - Temple Grandin
Temple Grandin is credited with bringing the tough subject of autism out in the open. She is a strong advocate for autistic adults and children in securing the type of education and emotional support they need. Her first book, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, is a seminal work that makes you rethink your notions of what it means to be autistic. In this book on social skills, Temple and her coauthor Barron break down the mystery of social relationships so that they make more sense to the autistic mind.

 The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome - Tony Attwood Attwood has led the field when it comes to opening our minds to another way to look at this developmental disorder. Filled with scientific research this book is not without heart. Books on Asperger's Syndrome need to help the reader learn more but it is important to recognize that we are all part of the human condition. Attwood does a marvelous job in weaving together a useful guidebook to this complex disorder.

The Other Half of Asperger Syndrome: A guide to an Intimate Relationship with a Partner who has Asperger Syndrome - Maxine Aston
Aston was the first person to nail it on the head. In this slim little book she exposes the mystery of living with a spouse with Asperger's Syndrome. Her research unlocked the puzzle box for many people. No you are not crazy, but it is true that you and your Asperger mate live on different planets. Read this book summarizing Aston's research and learn more about your Asperger's mate.

Asperger's Syndrome and Adults... Is Anyone Listening? Essays and Poems by Partners, Parents and Family Members... - Karen Rodman
I was reading Karen Rodman’s book a few years ago when the pieces fell into place for me and I realized that my mother suffered from Asperger Syndrome.  The poignant stories in her book are written by Neuro-typical family members who have struggled with similar relationships with AS adults.  It is this personal awakening that spurred me to write my own book, Life with a partner or spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? Practical Steps to Saving You and Your Relationship.  If you aren’t sure that your loved one suffers from Asperger Syndrome, or if you need emotional support for your often confusing, chaotic and heart breaking life, read Rodman’s book for a breath of fresh air.

Exciting News Regarding Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hundreds of thousands suffer from the debilitating effects of Myalgic encephalopathy (ME) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome every year. Common symptoms include extreme fatigue and muscle soreness leaving many bedridden.  For years the underlying cause of this disease has remained a mystery but researchers have recently developed a new test that might hold the answers.

According to Telegraph news article, the disease may be set off by a large amount of  bacteria called enterococci and streptococchi in the stomach. Prof De Meirleir, from Vrije University, who created the new test, said that these bacteria, in combination with metals like mercury, stimulate the creation of high levels of a gas in the body. This in turn sets off a chain reaction limiting the body's ability to produce energy and creating a build-up of acid which muscles find difficult to breakdown. The new test searches for the bacteria in the urine. If it comes back positive, the treatment includes antibiotics, probiotics, and diet. Obviously this is very exciting news, but still in the beginning stages of more conclusive research. If you are currently suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ask your family physician for more information. Fatigue is also a symptom of depression, click here to learn more about the common symptoms of depression.

Unexpected Feedback on My New Book – Going Over the Edge?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I set out to write my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, with the hope that it would help those in Asperger relationships. I’ve already received feedback from readers around the world who are benefiting from the lessons I share. However, I recently heard from one of my clients, who read my book, and I was touched to hear how it impacted his life in an unexpected way.

My client is a father to an Asperger child and decided to read the book to better understand his child. He has a strong desire to help his child as he continues to grow and form relationships as an adult. Although he did find information helpful to his Aspie child, what he was surprised to discover was the changes he personally needed to make.

This parent realized that there are areas in his own personal life that need improving. He learned that he needs to take back his life too and live a life that is more true to his spirit. He recognized that he was isolating himself and stewing in depression rather than putting his talent into the world. The actions he needed to take are in his behalf but will ultimately help his child as well. I never quite thought that my book might be meant for those not struggling with an adult AS relationship. However, the messages in this book are universal. All of us need to take stock and decide if it is time to take back our lives. I truly appreciate my clients heartfelt comments. If there are others who have comments on my book, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send me an email at

Should Asperger Syndrome be used as a defense?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

There are those in the Asperger Community who suggest that Asperger Syndrome should not be considered a psychiatric diagnosis at all.  Using the term “neurodiversity” they assert that Asperger Syndrome, although atypical, is a normal human difference.  Individuals with Asperger Syndrome should be respected for their differences according to these advocates. So where does that leave Gary McKinnon and his obsession?  I wrote about McKinnon who has Asperger Syndrome in an earlier post – he was indicted in a U.S. District Court in Virginia for hacking into NASA and US Military computer systems in search of information on extraterrestrials. According to the neurodiversity model, Mr. McKinnon should be treated as any other cyber-terrorist. (I presume the other side of being respected for being different, is also being responsible for one’s actions.) Under the extradition treaty between the US and the UK, he should be extradited to the US and stand trial for the crimes he committed.  And if found guilty, I presume the judge and jury would determine a punishment that suits the severity of the crime, even prison. However, even if Asperger Syndrome is used as a mitigating factor, what are those mitigating circumstances.  If he was obsessed and didn’t fully comprehend the social consequences of his actions, didn’t he still commit a crime?  Didn’t he still harm people? Another question that comes to mind is whether or not prison will rehabilitate Mr. McKinnon.  Whether he has a developmental disorder or is just a little different than the norm group, won’t he be the same computer hacker he was before he went to prison, still unable to fathom the social world? The tragedy of allowing the justice system to make judgments about a mental disorder really came home to me when I recently treated a young man with Asperger Syndrome for a brief time, before he was arrested, tried and imprisoned. His life has been a series of unimaginable bad luck as a result of living on the edge of society.  He has never been able to secure fulltime employment because of his poor interpersonal skills and “mind blindness.”  He was alienated from his family years before he was arrested.  He lived alone in a small dingy apartment, friendless and trying to survive on a very limited income.  His only crime was befriending a young teenage boy who complained of abuse by his parents. The teen’s parents retaliated by accusing the man of molesting the boy.  Although this man passed the polygraph and tests for pedophilia, he was convicted and sent to prison anyway because the Court psychologist reported he had “no remorse.”  First of all it is hard to have remorse for a crime you didn’t commit.  Secondly, a classic characteristic of Asperger Syndrome is the inability to convey one’s feelings to others.  No doubt this man was depressed and frightened, but all he could do was sit motionless in the examining psychologist’s office.  Now he sits in prison. Does McKinnon need a doctor or prison? I wish I could tell you that I had the answers to this dilemma. I do believe that Asperger Syndrome is a developmental disorder, worthy of diagnosis and treatment.  There is a lot of suffering among those in this population, including their loved ones.  And there are psychological treatments that alleviate some of this suffering, with inspiring new research breaking ground daily.  So I would hate to see people continue to suffer simply because this diagnosis is part of a political debate. Likewise it is just too simple to turn over to the justice system an individual who is disabled by the peculiarities of Asperger Syndrome. Gary McKinnon did commit a crime.  He has publicly admitted to everything, though he didn’t come forward until he was caught. He engaged in subterfuge to hide his identity, so he was capable of comprehending that what he was doing was wrong, or at the very least could get him caught.  Yet he persisted to engage in those actions because he was obsessed beyond common sense . . .  a classic characteristic of Asperger Syndrome.  Like Howard Hughes (who some suggest had Asperger Syndrome) in his obsessive search for ever more efficient airplanes, McKinnon was determined to uncover the truth . . . that the US military is holding out evidence of anti-gravity propulsion systems.  Would an ordinary person risk going to prison over UFOs? The bottom line is intention.  If the news stories are accurate McKinnon did not set out to harm anyone.  Neither did my unfortunate client, and he is hardly a threat to anyone.  So the legal experts need to determine how to protect the citizenry from people who commit crimes, whether intended or not, and whether people like Gary McKinnon are really a threat to society.  And the mental health experts need to determine how to successfully treat those with Asperger Syndrome.  But what do you do when these two worlds collide? Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist in the “antipsychiatry” movement, wrote an article in 1960 entitled, “The Myth of Mental Illness,” wherein he proposes that it is dangerous to make mental health care a political issue.  You can only imagine the ramifications if the government controls who is mentally fit.  According to Szasz’ controversial view, Gary McKinnon needs a doctor and he should be held accountable for his actions, regardless of whether he fully understood the outcome or was obsessed with his mission. And at the other end of this continuum, if mental health care and the justice system were separate as they should be, my young client would not be in prison for the non-crime of having poor interpersonal skills. You can read more about McKinnon’s story at

An Asperger Relationship Success Story

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Communicating, connecting, and loving is an integral part to any relationship. What happens, though, to the relationship if one member suffers from Asperger Syndrome? If the person with AS cannot comprehend the interior life of their Neuro-typical partner, then connection is very difficult. Especially since the interior life of an NT consists of how he or she views him or herself in relationship to another. An individual with Asperger Syndrome has a much more difficult time knowing him or herself in relationship to another. Thus the Aspie partner does not realize that a loving relationship requires more than just facts. It requires connecting to the interior life of their loved one and sharing their interior life too. This is what is meant by a reciprocal relationship. An Aspie/Neuro-typical (NT) couple are often described as like two insulated wires wrapped around each other, touching but not connecting. Is that it then? Does the relationship have to end based on the fact that the connection will be extremely difficult? The answer is NO. I recently read a fantastic article entitled, Modern Love - Somewhere Inside - a Path to Empathy, that gives hope to anyone in an AS/NT relationship. The article is written by David Finch, a marketing engineer for a semiconductor manufacturer. David has Asperger Syndrome. David went undiagnosed until his wife, Kristen, made the discovery. Kristen is a speech pathologist who works with autistic children. Through her work, she became more familiar with the milder forms of autism and began to recognize that David has the symptoms. She chose the right time and administered an online Asperger questionnaire to David and the answer was immediately clear to them both. David writes about their struggles and learning to cope with their newfound discovery. In the midst of trials, they have found one another and have reached a gigantic milestone. Not to say that their relationship is perfect now, but it is a work in progress. In my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, I seek to help NT individuals learn how to arrive at a new understanding of themselves and their significant other. It is my hope that many more will reach out and educate themselves, like David and Kristen, and take the steps to repair a relationship hurt by Asperger Syndrome. It would be a joy to read more success stories like this one.

Whether You Have Asperger Syndrome or Not – Trust Your Instincts When Finding a Therapist

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why are some Aspies so hostile to psychologists and psychotherapy?  Among those adults with Asperger Syndrome, there is a growing movement toward acceptance instead of diagnosis.  These folks say they don’t want to be “fixed” but accepted for the unique human beings they are.  The problem is there are times when they could really benefit from professional help for anxiety or severe depression that comes from struggling with interpersonal problems, but they resist treatment. Is there an underlying reason for this resistance? Yes, unfortunately too many mental health professionals are woefully unprepared to treat the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome. I should know since I sought professional guidance for my daughter.  I went from professional to professional for years seeking help for my daughter’s suicidal depression and severe anxiety.  It was a school psychologist who finally turned me in the right direction and I will be forever grateful for her help.  As a result of my trials and tribulations, I was able to write my book on the subject, “Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: GOING OVER THE EDGE? The majority of therapists are well-intentioned; they’re not the biggest part of this problem. At least they are open to learning.  You can hand them a book and ask them to consider another possibility, and they will learn.  It is the clueless and narcissistic ones that do the most damage.  Unfortunately I was annihilated by one of these clueless and self-righteous therapists not long ago and I’m still recovering from her unkind and ignorant words. Karin is an interior decorator, turned psychotherapist, without much in the way of credentials, but a gift for marketing.  She is attractive and personable, but absolutely clueless about Asperger Syndrome.  One day she witnessed one of my daughter’s meltdowns and was stunned.  Later she criticized me for not handling the situation well. Furthermore, she told me that she would never have the problems I do because she is so much more balanced when it comes to handling these situations. Coming from a therapist, these words hurt. But I needed to consider the source. Karin has never parented any children of her own, much less a child with special needs. How on Earth could I possibly consider her opinion seriously, when she is clueless?  When someone with Asperger Syndrome (or their family)  is seeking professional help, they are apt to run into a therapist or two or three like Karin.  No wonder they’re angry or depressed by the therapy experience. So how does one choose a therapist when the odds are great that you will run into more than one Karin?  Whether you have Asperger Syndrome or want help with any other of the myriad problems that plague humanity, always trust your instinct.  Never give up but do trust your instinct.  Don’t waste your time and your heart with a therapist you cannot trust.  I love this quote from Buddha, because he sums up the situation in that inscrutable way that only the Buddha can. “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason, and your own common sense.”

New Support Group in Portland Focuses on Helping Partners and Spouses of Adults with Asperger Syndrome

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm excited to announce that I'm launching a new support group, "Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD," in Portland, Oregon. This is not a therapy group, rather a place for people to learn from others and to share their story about the often frustrating and isolating life of loving an adult with Asperger Syndrome Disorder (ASD). I was motivated to start the support group after posting the first chapter of my new book on my website. I was completely overwhelmed by the huge response from people around the world looking for guidance and support on how to navigate a relationship with a partner with Asperger Syndrome. In addition to providing a safe, supportive place to share their experiences, I see this group as a forum to learn more, through books, films and guest speakers. For example, films such as "Mozart and the Whale" will stimulate important discussions about life as a partner of an ASD adult. I'll also invite experts in the field of Asperger Syndrome to speak, thereby creating a counterpoint to personal experience. The group is being organized through Those interested in joining the group in Portland, Oregon can go to There is no charge for participating in this group. This group is exclusively for Neuro-typicals, for those who love and care for adults with Asperger Syndrome. The first meeting will be held on Saturday, May 23rd at 1:00 p.m. The location is found at the group web page. We will be discussing my new book, "Going over the Edge?" Please sign up at I look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories.

Recent Posts RSS