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Kathy Marshack News

How to Make Your Office Space Work When You and Your Partner Work from Home

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Find out how to meet the especially difficult challenge of setting up a functional shared work space that will allow you and your partner to succeed.Setting up a home office can be a time-consuming process. Of course, some people who work from home are content to set up their laptop at the kitchen table and call it good. But many of us who work from home want to make our workspace more professional and inspiring.

Do you work from home? Then you already know that setting up a great home office is hard enough to do when you are doing it for yourself alone. You spend time mapping out the space, purchasing the perfect office furniture, filling the walls with inspiring art, adding air-purifying plants, and finalizing the space with personal touches.

But what if you have to set up a home office for two?

This is a situation that many couples find themselves in. Whether you both start out working from home, or your situation evolves to where you both end up conducting your business at the house, it can be very difficult to set up a functional home office that will fit both parties.

What can you do to make the process easier? Here are a few ideas:

  • Define your workspace. Do you have two spare rooms that can be used as office space? Then separate your workspaces by room. If you don’t have the extra space, divide the one office into distinct areas. You many want to face your desks away from each other to minimize distractions and maintain privacy when making phone calls.

  • Evaluate your needs and preferences. Workspace needs and preferences can vary. One person may need more desk space either due to their type of work, or because they simply like to spread out. One of you may prefer to sit in a big cozy chair to work, while the other prefers a standard desk and office chair. Make your side of the room look and feel the way you want and need, and let your spouse do the same.

  • Create office hours. Sometimes it’s best for a couple to use the office alone. So set up office hours to share the space. One person gets to use it in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Perhaps the person not using the office can set up at the kitchen counter for a few hours, or whatever works for them.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. The best thing you can do for your relationship in general, but especially when you are both sharing a workspace, is communicate openly and honestly. Discuss what you need, when you need it, and what ground rules should be followed. This also applies if you want to be able to spend time with your spouse during the day. You are, after all, working under the same roof. So why not take advantage of that? If you want to chat or go to lunch, and your spouse doesn’t have time, don’t be offended. Instead, make an appointment. Schedule time together.

  • Respect each other’s space. Treat your spouse’s workspace the way you want yours to be treated. Give them privacy while they work. Don’t try to talk to them while they’re on the phone, or write them notes while they’re working. Create boundaries and respect them.

  • Give each other the benefit of the doubt. There are going to be times when your spouse intrudes on your space, and vice versa. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, and try to not take it too seriously, unless it becomes a habit. Just as co-workers in a traditional office can get on each other’s nerves, you will likely have moments where you rub each other the wrong way. Have a sense of humor, see the best in your spouse, and move past small annoyances.

There are many other challenges that dual-career and dual-entrepreneur couples face. It can help to work with a therapist with years of experience helping couples succeed as they build their business and their lives together. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to set up an appointment. If your busy schedules don’t allow for in-person therapy, please consider online therapy. Or for more advice on this lifestyle pick up a copy of my book: Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. I recently released the second edition and you can get the paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon.

Dr Kathy Is a Panelist for the First Fielding Alumni Focus Webinar!

Monday, August 31, 2015


Banner for Fielding University Alumni Focus Webinar Book Publishing How hard can it be?Many of you may know that I earned my Ph.D. at Fielding Graduate University. I’m pleased and honored to be invited to be one of four panelists to speak at the first ever Fielding Alumni Focus Webinar. It feels good to be doing something for my Alma Mater again. I spent happy years learning at Fielding and now I have the privilege to share my expertise as a published author with the alumni and student community.
The topic of this Webinar is: Book Publishing, How Hard Can It Be? to be moderated by Dr. Carol-Anne Minski. Three other panelists – Elena Gillespie, Carol Minski, Jesse Sostrin – and I will discuss the ins and outs of getting your book published. It will be held on Tuesday, September 15th at 3:00 pm (PT).

My specific assignment is to talk about what it’s like to work with publishers – how I approached them and what the process consists of. I’ll also share how I work with retailers and collaborate with others to get my books published.
If you haven’t read my work, the following is a synopsis of books I've written:

Do You Have What It Takes To Work With Your Spouse Workbook
Based on my and experience coaching entrepreneurial couples, I’ve come up with a "Checklist for Success." Learn if you and your spouse have what it takes by working through this interactive workbook. Click here to learn more.

Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home
Learn the traps entrepreneurial couples can fall into and find practical advice for dealing with them as you discover how a couple balances intimacy with family life and meaningful work. Click here to learn more.

Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?
You may have heard about Asperger’s Syndrome in children, but what happens when autistics grow up and marry? Unlike Rain Man, who had a more severe form of autism, a smart, financially successful AS husband or wife can pass for normal, except at home. Click here to learn more.

Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)
Take an honest look at the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Asperger partner. So many of the interactions within the family circle require empathy, which are literally out of mind – out of sight for the Aspie (ASD) parent. This is essential reading for the Neuro-Typical (NT) parent to learn more about Asperger Syndrome and find a way to co-parent, co-exist and even thrive within the Asperger/NT family unit. Click here to learn more.

Does What You Read Affect Your Social Skills?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


reading literary fiction is good for your social skillsDo you enjoy reading? Many families like to read together as a way of connecting and spending time with each other. That helps the social skills within the family. Did you know that reading can improve how you interact with others in general? According to a recent study, the benefits depend on what kind of literature you chose to read. It found that social skills are improved by reading literary fiction.

Why does literary fiction work this way? Unlike popular fiction that focuses on the plot, literary fiction explores complex personalities and relationships that cause the reader to put him or herself into that person’s shoes and to think, “What would I do in this situation?”

The New York Times recently spoke about this study in their article, For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov. They reported, “Reading literary fiction enables people to do better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.” One of the tests asked the participants to see if they could accurately “read” the expression in the eyes of the people in the photographs. Those who read literary fiction first scored better than the groups who didn’t read anything or who read popular fiction.

The researchers say, “The reason is that literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity.” This promotes more empathy. When we are better able to read body language, then our social skills improve.

Could this help someone on the spectrum? Perhaps. Those with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome don’t always respond appropriately in social situations. However, it has been proven that parents can train their children on the spectrum to recognize emotions in pictures and then in people’s faces so they learn how to respond to someone when they see that same expression in real life situations.

There are inseparable connections and complicated interactions that take place between the mind, body and our environment that impact the kind of people we are. If you would like to improve your social skills, therapy can help. Make an appointment in either my Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington office.

Read more about the connection between your mind and body on my website – Mind and Body Health.

What People Are Already Saying About My New Book “Out of Mind – Out of Sight"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Out of Mind Out of Sight Since I first published on the subject of Asperger Syndrome in 2009, there have been many exciting discoveries. This is especially true in the areas of genetics and neuroscience and how they interact with psychology and social learning. I use these discoveries to help make sense of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of the parents and children described in my new book, Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD): Out of Mind – Out of Sight. Knowledge is power. The more you know about Asperger Syndrome, the better able you are to parent, coparent, co-exist and even thrive within your AS/NT family.

I’ve received numerous comments from people anticipating this book. I ’d like to share a few of them with you. Out of respect, I’ve withheld their names to maintain their privacy.

“I was wondering when the book Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind –Out of Sight was going to become available to purchase? I have read the sample chapter, and I need more. It is brilliant, just like the other book Going Over the Edge? - A sanity saver. I am desperate to get my hands on it as soon as it is available.”

“Thank you so much for your books. I ordered Going Over the Edge? today and am eager to get the book on parenting with an AS spouse, Out of Mind – Out of Sight. My husband is a wonderful man, but after we had children his mood deteriorated rapidly. It has been hard on all of us. Since I realized that the reason is AS, my reality has been altered in a way I have had trouble articulating. Your book did it immediately. It gave words to my life, and I am profoundly grateful to feel understood. I have a relief valve, at least for now.”

“What is your update on release timing for the book Out of Mind – Out of Sight about AS parents? I’m looking forward to reading more. It helps me think through and prioritize my issues as I go through custody battle issues – what will be a big deal, and what won’t be.”

“I just learned of your new book about parenting when your partner is on the autism spectrum. Thank you for writing on this subject. My wife and I are on the spectrum as are our children, and we are rare in our ability to work collaboratively. I train parents in how to more effectively collaborate and raise their children on the spectrum. I’m repeatedly asked if there is any books on the very subject you’ve written on, and yours is the first I’ve heard about. I’ll gladly let my clients know about it. Thanks for writing this book, Out of Mind – Out of Sight.”

Out of Mind – Out of Sight is now available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition.


You can download your free chapter of Out of Mind – Out of Sight here to get started reading it today.


Asperger Relationships: Coping with Unremitting Grief

Monday, June 10, 2013


When you love someone with Asperger Syndrome, you may hit a point where you grieve. You may be grieving over the relationship or for the loss of a dream. The problem with this grief is it may not be going away. When you continue to live with your Asperger partner, your keep triggering the loss. You feel it over and over again.

But what is going on when years later you are still so depressed, forlorn, and fatigued over the loss of your dream? I have heard some define this as "Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Disorder". I believe the symptoms are very similar to depression, but of a grief that never goes away or unremitting grief.

On June 15, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Families of Adults with ASD will be meeting in Portland, Oregon to discuss the topic, "Unremitting Grief." Sharing stories and giving input from only those who have walked in these shoes can help to bind up the broken hearts of others. Come and join us and share what you know about "unremitting grief." This will be the last Meetup until September and it will not be one to miss. Click on the link for membership details.

Download a free sample chapter of Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge.

Lack of Empathy - How To Love Your Asperger Partner

Thursday, May 09, 2013


When you love and care for an adult with Asperger Syndrome, you need a safe place to share your story about the frustrating and isolating life that you experience. Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD has proved to be a valuable resource and a safe environment to share intimate and delicate scenarios that only those who live that life can understand.


On May 18, 2013, we will be meeting to discuss the topic, "How to love an abusive person." There is a reason why Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen published a book entitled, "The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty." While he believes that Aspies have good intentions, he attributes their socially clueless behavior to lack of empathy. When on the receiving end of this lack of empathy, many neuro-typicals (non Asperger's) view these behaviors as unloving and even abusive. The question becomes, if the intention is not to cause harm, is it still abuse? Furthermore, how do you hold love in your heart for a person who consistently breaks your heart?


Please join us for an in depth look at this subject. If you will not be able to attend in person, please become a member of our online community. I look forward to hearing your stories.


My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge is available for purchase. Click here to download a free sample chapter. 

 


Kindle Edition of “Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home”

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


Great news! My book - Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home is now available on as a Kindle edition on Amazon.com.

Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home examines the traps entrepreneurial couples can fall into and offers practical advice for dealing with them. For example, entrepreneurial couples with a full family life have greater potential for breakdown in communication than do other couples. They often fail to confront issues head-on, instead relying on compromise and other avoidance techniques to ward off conflict.

How does a couple balance intimacy with family life and meaningful work? You'll read how to assess strengths and weaknesses in each area of your life, improve communication with your partner, develop flexibility, and reexamine priorities, offering a new way to design and live a more balanced, integrated, and meaningful entrepreneurial life.

"This book is a must read for any couples who are in business together." W. Gibb Dyer Jr., Ph.D. Marriot School of Management, Brigham Young University

"We wish we had this information thirty years ago when we started our business." Tom and Linda Denchel, Co-Owners, Tom Denchel Ford Country

Download your Kindle edition today!

Asperger Love - Is It Really Love?

Thursday, March 14, 2013


If you are in a relationship with someone with Asperger Syndrome, I have no doubt that at some point you asked yourself, "Is this really love?" The reason why you may ask yourself this is because how do you know if you are loved if you partner never communicates that with you, or shows your, or has empathy? This leads to other perplexing questions like: How do you know if your love is received or understood by them? Can you be sure that your AS partner feels love the same way you do? Does it even matter? 


How can a relationship survive when the issue of love is questioned? This is such a delicate and sensitive subject that many will think about it, but will never discuss it. On March 16, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group will meet to discuss this issue. There is no easy answer or quick fix, but hopefully by having open and honest discussion can lead to a level of understanding that only those in this situation can understand. The meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon. If you do not live in the Portland area, please visit our webpage and become a member. The message boards are already discussing this topic online. We would love to hear your thoughts. 


For more on navigating through an Asperger relationship, pick up your own personal copy of my book - Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge

Autism and Context Blindness

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Have you heard the term "context blindness?" Context blindness is something that happens with Asperger Syndrome. For most people, context is a part of life. Everything is relative and depends on the context. For someone with Asperger's, life is absolute – especially in regard to social interaction. Context blindness hinders an individual from being sensitive and aware of the feelings of others.


Dr. Peter Vermeulen discusses context blindness is his new book, Autism as Context Blindness. He brilliantly describes how the autistic brain works and includes practical exercises to help improve in the area of context blindness. I highly recommend picking up your own personal copy. Click here to learn more aboutAutism as Context Blindness.


Context blindness will also be discussed at the AAPC Spring 2013 Autism Conference. There are three locations: Chicago, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix. Click here to learn more about how to attend. 

Entrepreneurial Couples - Navigate Successfully Through Difficult Conversations

Thursday, February 14, 2013


“I'd like to talk with you about something," she says.

"What now?" he asks with a sigh.

"Well I'd like to know what we are going to do about this problem," she says, starting to get frustrated.

"I'll take care of it. Stop pressuring me!" he shouts.

"I'm not pressuring you. I just want to help and I think we should talk about it," she says imploringly.

"I said I'd take care of it. I'm working on it. Why won't you get off my back?" he says emphatically.
  


Does this conversation sound familiar? If it does, then you are most likely married or in a long-term relationship. These types of conversations are even more typical when a married couple also works together. Even though they may be common in relationships, it doesn't mean they are healthy. In fact they are frustrating and can cause long-term damage.   


In order to change the course of these conversations, there are three things to keep in mindFirst, when couples live and work together there is an increased potential for misunderstanding. The more you are around anyone and the more you talk with that person, the more opportunity there is for miscommunication, misunderstanding and arguments. Second, when you work with the one you love, misunderstandings carry more weight than they might with someone you are not as emotionally connected with. You care more what they think of you and if they believe you care about them. Third, men and women problem solve differently. While men are competitive and want to prove themselves by solving the problem on their own, women strive to include others in the process of problem solving to come up with a group decision.


So if we take another look at the dialog above with these three considerations in mind, the miscommunication is much easier to unravel. First, the wife is trying to have a conversation with her husband about a subject that they have probably beaten to death, and with no resolution. She means well, but he feels like she is just shoving his face into the problem once again. Secondly, the husband also believes that she is accusing him of failing to solve the problem or to solve it quickly enough. In reality, she is offering to help him solve it. Third, the wife assumes that her husband understands that she is trying to help when she asks questions, but he can only hear that she is asking questions he cannot answer. (Click here read the reverse dialog when the couple understands these communication differences.)   


It may not always been this simple. It takes a lot of hard work to try to navigate communication pitfalls, but it can be done. The better you are at reading those subtle differences in style that can lead to tragedy or success, the more likely you are to be successful in all your communications in business. Set up an appointment with a marriage therapist/family business coach who can help guide you through this process.


For more information, take a look at my book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home.



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