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Kathy Marshack News

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dr. John Gottman, professor of psychology, has written a truly informative book entitled, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” After years of research and scientific procedures to observe the habits of married couples, Dr. Gottman has created a practical guide for couples who want to achieve the greatest potential in their marriage. He uncovers the truth about the many myths of divorce and sheds light on the actual reasons why marriages are falling apart in today’s society. The book includes quizzes, questionnaires, checklists, and exercises to help couples cope with their differences and reenergize their relationship.

I highly recommend this book. I have attended Dr. Gottman’s seminars in Seattle, Washington and was impressed with his work. For more information on “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”, click on the link:

Examining the Brain - What You Should Know About SPECT

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dr. Daniel Amen, a nationally-renowned psychiatrist, has developed a revolutionary procedure of evaluating mental disorders using a method called SPECT. What is SPECT?

SPECT is a brain imaging scan that measures the cerebral blood flow and metabolic activity pattern in the brain. By looking the brain function, it will give a more accurate cause for mental disorders—conditions such as ADHD, anxiety and depression—without having to guess or assume what is actually happening. The scan shows specific areas were the brain is implicated with specific problems, reasons why it may be functioning in a certain way due to toxicity or past trauma, as well as specific target area for treatment and medication. It is beneficial for both the clinician and patient because of its accuracy and reliability of the results.

I am very familiar with the work of Dr. Amen and he has referred clients to me here in the Pacific Northwest. If you are interested in learning more about brain SPECT imaging, visit Dr. Amen’s website at

ADHD Support Group in Portland and Across the U.S.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I wanted to share an important resource for individuals with ADHD and their families. CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is the nation's leading non-profit organization serving this community. They have over 200 local chapters throughout the U.S. that offer support for individuals, parents, teachers, professionals, and others. Visit their website for the chapter nearest you: For those of you that live in the Portland, Oregon metro area here’s some information on the local chapter. Please note that meetings are free and open to the public. You do not have to be a CHADD member to attend. PORTLAND METRO CHADD PORTLAND ADULT GROUP - Meets the 3rd Tues of each month. Please visit their website for exact time and location. This is a professionally facilitated meeting where general discussion sessions alternate with speakers. Topics cover a wide variety of subjects of interest to adults with ADHD. Spouses and Significant Others are invited to attend. A WORK IN PROGRESS – Meets the first Wednesday of the month. Please visit their website for exact time and location. This meeting will focus on sharing our challenges, and our solutions to those challenges. Parent to Parent provides educational information and support for individuals and families dealing with ADHD and learning to navigate the challenges of AD/HD across the lifespan. Courses are offered in local communities across the country.

Research Shows Therapy Should Be the First Option When Treating ADHD

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When parents learn that their child has ADHD medication is often the first treatment they consider. According to new findings that could be a mistake. That is according to researchers, presenting at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention, based on the largest-ever study on the best treatments for ADHD.

Research shows that when children are initially treated with behavioral interventions — and their parents get training on how to manage their behavior — medication is used less often and in smaller doses. While medications address ADHD symptoms like restlessness and fidgeting, they don’t address other problems like difficult relations with peers, parents and family members.

In counseling, a therapist can help the child with ADHD learn to feel better about themselves. Over time the therapist can help identify and build on their strengths, cope with daily problems, and learn to control their attention and aggression. The parents may need special help to develop techniques for managing the patterns of behavior.

In many cases the entire family may need help. Mental health professionals can counsel the child and the family, helping them to develop healthy new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other. Read more of my advice on parenting a child with ADHD -

Money Triggers a Survival Instinct

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I was recently interviewed by about how entrepreneurial couples should handle money conflicts.

Here's a small excerpt of the article:

"Money is one of those things we can get really bent out of shape about," says Kathy Marshack, a psychologist in Portland, Ore., and author of "Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home." In general, money triggers a survival instinct, so worries about it can cause people to react "in more primitive ways," she says. That's especially true for couples in business together, whose livelihoods both depend on the success of the company. "If one partner makes a decision that the other feels is going to cost them, or force them to lose a contract, they can get extremely upset," Marshack says.

Some couples may want to think twice about setting up anything but an equal relationship at work, especially when it comes to titles and salaries, suggests Marshack, the Portland psychologist. Some husband-and-wife teams, to avoid being hit by self-employment taxes, make one spouse the owner and the other an employee. "Sure, it probably cuts your taxes down," she says. But it may not make sense when it comes to the "health of your relationship and even the culture of your business," she says.

To read the entire article click here -

Checkout the Autism Quotient Quiz

Friday, August 08, 2008

I just took the Autism Quotient Quiz as posted on MSNBC - While nothing is disguised—so the quiz is easy to fake—the simple questions asked do address the basics of Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger’s Syndrome. Take the quiz for yourself or a loved one and see how you measure up. Many of the questions in the quiz are addressed in my book “Sliver in My Mind.” The book is due out in January 2009. Oh and by the way, I scored 13 on the quiz, which is about average for NT women.

Entrepreneurs - Take a Real Vacation this Year

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I’ve just returned from my annual extended summer vacation. As a long-time resident of the Northwest—with an office in Vancouver, Washington and the other in Portland, Oregon—I’ve learned to take advantage of our short but beautiful summers for some rest and relaxation. As a therapist with a very full caseload, I always make sure that I have colleagues that can take care of any unseen emergencies that may arise with my clients. My goal is to—as much as possible—leave work behind me so I come back to it truly refreshed.

Working as a coach with family businesses, I’ve noticed how difficult it can be for entrepreneurs to let go of work when they’re on vacation. Entrepreneurial workaholics often never learn how to leave work and you’ll see them toting their laptops, Blackberries and I Phones at Disneyland and the beach. There are times when combining work and play is the best alternative. However, you also need to plan vacations without work in mind at all.

Oh, I know, pure vacations aren’t “write-offs”, but they may do more good than reduced taxes. So take my advice and plan at least one two week vacation a year that has nothing to do with work. Throw in two to three long weekends that are purely family fun too. Trust me you, your family and your business will benefit.

Practice good communication skills in your marriage

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Listening, talking, communicating, resolving problems, making joint decisions... these are requirements for a successful marriage or partnership. Here are some tips for effective communication: • LOOK FOR THE MEANING BEHIND THE WORDS The first place to start if you want to be heard is to listen yourself. This is easier said than done. However, once you become good at listening, half the current misunderstandings will disappear. One simple way to begin your education at becoming a better listener is to ask yourself "Why is he or she telling me this?" In other words, you are looking for the meaning behind the words. People have good intentions. But often their words don't reflect the inner meaning. To be able to respond to this inner meaning, you must put yourself in his or her shoes and ask yourself what is the meaning behind these words or behavior? • INTERPRETING THE HIDDEN MESSAGE Another step in becoming a good listener is to realize that people cannot not communicate with you. That is, they are always sending you meaningful (meaningful to them) messages if you can only learn to interpret them. So even if you think you are getting resistance from someone, realize that this individual is telling you something that is important to them. After practicing nothing but listening for a few weeks, you should be getting pretty good at figuring out the other person's reality. • UNDERSTANDING THEIR "MAP OF REALITY" Remember, we all live in our "maps" of reality. Your interpretation of reality is not necessarily superior to any other person's. Maps are just a convenient way to structure our lives. In figuring out another person's map of reality and responding to it, you begin to let the other person feel respected, appreciated, even loved. In order to respond to another person, it is necessary to put your own ego aside and look at things the way they do. • SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE Listen, observe and learn the "language" of the other person. Once you begin to speak their language, you will be surprised how much they want to learn yours. In other words, the real key to learning to talk so that others will listen is to learn the art of drawing people to you. By developing your creative listening skills, others will want to talk with and listen to you too! Take a look at the Marriage Counseling section of my website for more advice on communicating.

What’s a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome to do?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

In my new upcoming book on Asperger’s Syndrome I focus primarily on men with AS. However, I’m not going to skip over women with AS, they actually suffer a great deal. Being an eccentric man is somewhat more acceptable in society. Who doesn’t like the Absent Minded Professor? But women with Asperger’s Syndrome face unique challenges. They don’t meet up with the same acceptance in society.

Women also appear to be more aware than their male counterparts that relationships are important to attend to. They generally accept that it is a woman’s duty to care for the children and maintain the household and in general keep the family happy and healthy. But they are just not very well equipped to handle this role.

So what’s a woman to do? Explore the little known world of Asperger’s Syndrome and teach yourself how to navigate the world from the lessons you’ve learned. I also believe in self acceptance. My book will talk about how women with AS can learn to accept themselves and love their families in their own unique way.

Scientists say you should talk about your feelings

Thursday, June 19, 2008

As a therapist I've observed firsthand how much better my clients feel when they've had the opportunity to talk about their concerns. It’s interesting that scientific research is backing that up. According to a study from the University of California, describing emotions like grief and disappointment can put the brakes on brain activity that generates those feelings. By using MRI scans researchers saw changes in the brain when participants described the scary or sad faces they saw.

Sometimes talking to a sympathetic friend or family member does the trick. However, there are times when you could really benefit most from professional guidance. So, how do you know if you need counseling or psychotherapy? The short answer is when your emotional problems are overwhelming you to the point of spending several hours a day thinking about them, you should consider seeking professional help. I encourage you to read more about this in an article I wrote - When to Seek Professional Help for Personal Problems.

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