(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

Families in Business – The Benefits of Volunteering

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

In families that share family and business, it is easy for their time to be taken up by the essentials of daily living.  It can become a work-and-little-play situation.  If this scenario sounds all too familiar, think about balancing out the family by incorporating volunteering into your family’s lifestyle.  What? You have no time, you say?  Well, consider what family volunteering can do for you and your family, before you conclusively make up your mind.

Family volunteering produces quality time.  This includes:

      Establishing common bonds while helping others. 

      Discovering new knowledge about each other. 

      Mutual respect as demonstrating skills and learning new ones are processed. 

      Deeper and meaningful conversations around the dinner table.

Convinced, but need help getting started?  Call a family meeting and take time to consider this whole idea. Make sure everyone, no matter how young, participates in the discussion. You might want to proceed this way:

      Explore and list current volunteer efforts.

      Everyone has a community concern.  Discuss each person’s concern.

      Consider the possibilities and efforts involved.  Be realistic in determining how much time and effort the family can afford.

To arrive at the best volunteering scenario for your family may require several family meetings, but if you are looking for meaningful and quality time together, this time will be well spent. A one-time activity may be a good place to start. Perhaps look close to home for an opportunity, such as raking leaves for an elderly neighbor.  This will provide an opportunity to see how everyone likes volunteering together.

Show your children that volunteer work is important and meaningful by taking your commitment seriously. Even when things are hectic, keep the commitment alive by talking and planning. Think about how this experience will enable you to pass along your legacy of values and ethics to your children, giving them not only an important example, but wonderful family memories as well. 



Asperger Syndrome and Codependency

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As more adults are being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS), mental health professionals are learning that one of the most handicapping problems faced by these adults occurs in their interpersonal relationships. The primary reason that adults with Asperger Syndrome have poor interpersonal relationships is that they have underdeveloped social skills, the major one being empathy. The way the spouse of the Asperger Syndrome partner often copes with this lack of empathy is to become codependent.


Codependence is defined as a state of mind where you put your needs and dreams aside in order to help the other person have a life. Kindness is doing these kinds of things sometimes and having a balance of give and take in a relationship. In a codependent relationship, no matter how much you give the other person does not return the favor. Yet you keep on giving and getting more fatigued, frustrated and resentful.


Codependence leads to micromanaging the AS members of the family. Because the AS members are doing everything they can to function in other areas of life, such as their job, everything else gets dropped. The codependent person picks up what is dropped as well as managing his or her own life.


1.    The codependent arranges all of the social life.

2.    Or the codependent is fully responsible for childcare and home management.

3.    Or the codependent covers for his spouses social faux pas.

4.    Or the codependent lays out her husband’s clothes because he always mismatches things.

5.    Or the codependent pays for extra childcare or dry cleaning because his wife is so overloaded.

6.    Or the codependent works overtime or a second job because his spouse cannot earn enough money or keep a steady job.

7.    Or the codependent takes a job for health benefits because her spouse is self-employed in lieu of unsteady employment.

8.    Or the codependent stays up late to type the teenager’s paper so that the kid won’t turn in homework late again.


The codependent experiences burnout eventually. To get beyond codependency, you need to explore self-care. Put your needs first and see to them first.  Since your AS spouse or child loves you but has no idea how you tick, make your beliefs and needs known in concrete ways.


Educate yourself as much as possible about the relationship issues of AS so that you can spot the symptoms of dysfunction early and correct the problems. Use books, tapes, and psychotherapy. You can also use a support group to replenish your energy because this is a difficult task – if you live in Portland/Vancouver check out the group Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD.


To learn more about AS and codependency in relationships visit my Asperger & Marriage page or take a look at my book - Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? Practical Steps to Saving You and Your Relationship.





Why Women in Business Are Frequently Misunderstood

Saturday, September 19, 2009

With the changes in the economy, more and more women are going back to work and many of them are starting their own businesses. At times women are not always taken seriously when it comes to running a business. I don't think that people are discriminating because of gender necessarily. It's probably more because they don't know how to relate to women business owners. Women have different values and these values are showing up in how women design their businesses. Women business owners are more likely to be in tune with the challenge of juggling work and family. A lot of women business owners work from home, which allows them to be available for work and family. While this sounds ideal for a woman, it can sometimes cause a problem. The problem is invisibility. For example, I lost a contract to provide certain psychological services because my office is at home. I was told that home offices are not professional enough. However, I always thought I was clever to find a way to be with my family and still develop my career interests. Obviously this is not a value shared by the contractor. So, how can a woman overcome the challenge of invisibility? Simply put, they need to be bold and speak up. They need to educate lenders and others about the values of blending family and work life. Learn to be clear, assertive, and decisive. Just think of the example that these working mothers are teaching their daughters. They are teaching them how to be true to their feminine spirit and yet develop their creative side through career, professional and business. This is extremely valuable since it is most likely that these young women will grow up and be in the working world. If you are a working woman or are married to one, I recommend reading my article Balancing Life as a Dual-Career Couple. Understanding one another better in your different roles will lead to harmony within the family arrangement.

Asperger Syndrome and Famous Figures from the Past

Friday, September 11, 2009

Just in recent years Asperger Syndrome (AS) has become a more common diagnosis, however many adults still go undiagnosed. Studies suggest that AS is considerably more common than "classic" Autism. Now with a surge of new information on Asperger Syndrome, researchers are seeing symptoms of AS in famous historical figures from the past. BBC News wrote an fascinating article containing Asperger research by Cambridge and Oxford Universities. These researchers strongly believe that Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton had Asperger Syndrome. The article focuses more on Albert Einstein and how he exhibited textbook AS symptoms. Simon Baron-Cohen, professor at Cambridge and renowned author about all things autism, commented in the article about Einstein's passion and social challenges. This type of research gives so much insight on the kind of success that’s possible with AS. To read more about symptoms of Asperger Syndrome, visit my AS Frequently Asked Questions.

Adults and ADD

Friday, September 04, 2009

You don't outgrow ADD. With that being said, many adults are being diagnosed with this disorder. Many ADD adults say that they weren’t aware of the disorder until they had a child who was diagnosed. After seeing ADD in their children, these adults gradually realized that they had the same signs and symptoms. Imagine the shock of learning as an adult you have ADD. This has been the case for many. Interestingly, the reactions of learning about the diagnosis have been completely varied. ADDitude, an online magazine, wrote a great article on adults with ADD and commented about the different reactions. ADD made some adults feel like outsiders, frustrated and disorganized. For these, learning of their disorder and getting proper care was complete relief! Others felt angry that they didn't know sooner and blamed their parents for not recognizing the signs. Then there are the type that love having ADD because of their high intellect, creative energy and abilities so they decide to refuse treatment. Even though ADD does not affect everyone the same, I do recommend seeking treatment. Many have learned counterproductive survival skills that could have damaging effects on their job, marriage, and parenting style. To learn more about ADD and the type of treatment that I recommend visit my website or contact me personally for more information.

Thrilling Possibilities for My New Book

Friday, August 28, 2009

In honor of my daughter's graduation from high school and my birthday, I have planned a holiday to Greece in September. It is somewhere I have always wanted to visit and the time has finally arrived for it to become reality. While there, I have decided to visit the Greek Society for the Protection of Autistic People. While communicating with them to plan a visit, an interesting development arose. Prof. Sophia Bonanou of the Greek Society told me that they are working on acquiring books on autism in English and then translating them into Greek. I was then asked to send them a copy of my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? Practical Steps for Saving You and Your Marriage, to be considered for translation. I'm still awaiting for their response on the book, but to know that there is a possibility for this information to reach more people is such an exciting thought. I'll continue to update you on new developments.

Foreclosures Linked to Depression

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A startling new study links depression to the housing foreclosure situation. Apparently large numbers of people whose homes are being foreclosed are diagnosed with depression, some with major depression symptoms. Adding to the stress is the fact that these same people also may be struggling to afford medication and food, causing meals to be skipped. While it may seem obvious that a foreclosure will lead to depression, clinical depression is not the same thing as being upset about losing your house. Clinical depression is serious and can be deadly. This is a major health concern for our community.

The Portland Business Journal recently commented on the growth of foreclosures in the Portland area. They quoted "11,647 foreclosure actions affecting one in every 65 homes in the area." What a staggering statistic! As a psychologist, I have seen many times that social and economic changes are factors that can affect depression. If you are dealing with a economic difficulties like losing your home, please review a list of symptoms to see if you may be struggling with depression.

While some people sail through these difficult times, others are not as resilient. It is important to keep evaluating your mental health every so often especially as times grow increasingly challenging. When depression that is untreated, it can impair your daily life and make more difficult for you to confront and cope with your difficult economic situation.

Remember that you are not alone and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is treatable. I highly recommend setting up an appointment with a mental health care professional. They will be able to give you the guidance and direction needed during these difficult times. If you live in the Portland/Vancouver area, feel free to contact me personally for more information.

Back-to-School Transitions: Tips for Parents

Friday, August 21, 2009

With school beginning soon, parents can assist their children to get off to a good start.  This can help the child build confidence and performance academically, as well as socially. To assist parents with back-to-school children, check out the following tips from the National Association of School Psychologists:
  • Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health.
  • Review all of the school information.
  • Make a note of important school dates.
  • Make copies of all your child's health and emergency information.
  • Buy school supplies early using the school's checklist, if possible.
  • Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines.
  • Turn off the TV.
  • Visit school with your child.
  • Minimize clothes shopping problems by checking out the school's dress code guidelines.
  • Designate a location to keep backpacks, lunch boxes, as well as important papers.
  • Prepare a simple menu for the first week to eliminate additional tension.
These tips should not only make for a smooth transition from a summer schedule to the classroom, but may also make a difference in stress levels at home. For more information, go to

Interview About Asperger’s Relationships on Portland's KXL News Radio

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I was recently interviewed about my new book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, on Portland's KXL 750 News Radio Weekend Morning News. I enjoyed the interview and the opportunity to share what life is like for those who love someone with Asperger Syndrome. If you would like to hear my interview, visit and click on the first audio clip. Enjoy! Don’t forget if you would like a sample chapter of my new book, a FREE download of Chapter One is available. Thank you for your continued support.

New Study Shows Huge Increase in Antidepressants

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A new study published in the August edition of General Archives of General Psychiatry highlighted a startling fact. Apparently the use of antidepressants have increased by 75% when looking at the years 1996 to 2005 in the US. That is a considerable increase! Another worrisome statistic is that less 32% of those taking an antidepressant have visited a mental health care professional for treatment. Most received their medication from a general practitioner. With increasing difficult times, it is realistic to expect an increase in depression. What concerns me is the how people are going about treating their depression. If you are dealing with depression or know someone who is, I strongly encourage treatment from a mental health care professional. Therapy is a highly effective way to treat depression and can be used in combination with antidepressants. I also recommend lifestyle changes when coping with depression. A healthy diet and regular exercise promotes mental and emotional health. A strong network of positive and healthy support from family and friends is important for prevention and recovery from depression. For more tips and important information, visit Overcoming Depression on my website. If you would like to set up an appointment with me, please contact my office for more information.

Recent Posts RSS