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Kathy Marshack News

Use Music to Ease Anxiety

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Anxiety disorders are often accompanied with physical symptoms like headaches, muscle pain, tension, and fatigue. The pain that experienced is very real and can feel overwhelming. A study performed at the University of Utah Pain Research Center noticed that listening to music can have a positive effect on the pain associated with anxiety.

About 143 participants were evaluated and told to listen to the music and look for deviant tones and melodies. While listening, participants received safe, fingertip electrode shocks. The researchers found that while listening, pain stimuli decreased. The focus shifted from feeling the pain to listening and being stimulated by the music. What a simple yet effective way to help the pain! For more information on this study, I recommend reading - Music Soothes Anxiety, Reduces Pain.

While music can play a powerful role in aiding someone with anxiety disorders, psychotherapy is still vital. Speaking to your doctor about the benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or if you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, WA contact my office for more information.

For more information, read Coping with Anxiety Disorders.

Feeling Blue During the Holiday Season? Don't Give Up When Fighting Depression

Friday, December 23, 2011


This time of year can be a happy time for most, but for those with depression, it can be difficult. Loss of a loved one, financial struggles, divorce, or a job loss are all possible situations that could cause someone to feel down while the rest are joyful. If you feel this way, you are not alone in this battle. Many are fighting the same fight to overcome depression and sorrow.

If you are feeling depressed, take time to rest. That could include sleeping, deep breathing, or other relaxation methodology. Dealing with depression is exhausting, so you need time to recharge your mind and your body. This will help to give you strength to keep fighting.

It is easy to isolate yourself when you are depressed, but being around those who you love will remind you that there is more to life. Their support is what you need to not feel alone in your struggle. It can also distract you from only thinking about yourself. Sometimes what happens is that you didn't realize that the people around you are also going through difficulties. Recognizing that can give some necessary perspective.

Self-worth is usually lost when depression strikes. It is important to believe in yourself. You are only human. When you are feeling quite down, find something that will make you feel good about yourself and do it. You will find that your self-worth will rise. I recently wrote about cultivating a grateful attitude. What are you grateful about you? Think about that. Loving yourself is an important step to overcoming depression.

If your depression does not improve, speak to your doctor or a therapist. They will be able to provide you with the right tools to get you back on your feet. For more information, visit Overcoming Depression.

How To Combat Depression and Anxiety with Adult ADHD

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Adults with ADHD are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. It is hard enough dealing with one disorder, so when a person is suffering from two disorders, it is frustrating to say the least. The medical field refers to this as comorbidity or two disorders occurring at the same time. Therapy and medication are the most effective ways to treat ADHD and depression. In addition, lifestyle changes are highly recommended.

Here are some practical suggestions to help lesson symptoms of ADHD and depression in an adult:

Get a good night’s rest. Sleep is vital. Without adequate sleep, you mind and body suffer and whatever you may be dealing with will only be aggravated. A few tips to help you get a good rest: Go to bed at the same time every night. Do something truly relaxing before bed like take a bath or practice breathing techniques. Avoid eating right before bed.

Daily exercise. Exercise has long been known to help improve moods due to the release of endorphins. Exercise is also a productive way to release stress and frustration. Find time daily to exercise even if it is just for a few minutes. Since we are in the winter season, click here for some tips on how to exercise during this time of year. Getting outside as much as possible is good for everyone!

Eat a healthy diet. A diet low in sugar and fat and high in protein, fruit, and vegetables is recommended. Balance is necessary. It is better to have a healthy diet that can be maintained than a crash diet with highs and lows.

If you recognize that you are in need of making some lifestyle changes to help improve your ADHD and depression, start by setting small reasonable goals. Also, be patient as you implement them. If you need further assistance, speak to your doctor or therapist.

Reasons Why You Should Cultivate a Grateful Attitude

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Many people only think about being thankful around Thanksgiving but once a year isn’t enough. Gratitude may have a greater affect on your emotions than you realize. Having a grateful attitude is now linked to less stress and anxiety, sleeping more soundly, better physical health, greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Those are some pretty powerful reasons. You may be thinking that this type of attitude just does not come naturally for you. Do not despair. You can learn to cultivate it.

A few tips to help cultivate a grateful attitude:

Write down what you are grateful for everyday. Years ago, Oprah encouraged her viewers to start a "gratitude journal." Everyday write down a few things that you are grateful for. This simple, daily task really works. Over the course of a few months, you will be surprised how you will be more inclined to take note of the little things that are positive versus getting sucked into the negative. You will be focused on looking for the good. By noticing what others are doing for you, you will be drawn to do more for others because you recognize how it feels to be the recipient.

Express it. Once you are noticing the good things that others are doing in your behalf, thank them. If it came from a random person, stop and sincerely thank them. People do not get thanked enough in this world. If it is someone you know well, consider writing them a letter or an email expressing how much you appreciate them. Try this especially if you are having a bad day. I guarantee that it will lift your spirits.

Put a positive spin on a negative situation. When a frustrating scenario arises, instead of focusing on your frustration, realize that it could be worse. If you think of how the situation could be worse, the situation you are in will naturally look more appealing. This may seem silly, but it's really all about perspective.

If you just seem to not be able to get out of your negative funk, then you might need to seek some professional guidance. Click on the links for information on Managing Stress and Overcoming Depression.

What’s the Harm in Being a Perfectionist?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Are you a perfectionist? A perfectionist is a person obsessed with being perfect and anything less is a failure. They expect perfection from themselves and of others. This type of behavior is not only harmful for yourself, but it also harms those around you. Perfectionists usually suffer from depression, guilt, low self-esteem, and a lack of motivation to try new things.

Here are a few tips to help overcoming perfectionism:

Redefine real success. Real success comes not from doing it perfectly the first time, but trying, falling, and picking yourself up again. Doing something perfectly the first time is impossible. So, if you feel like you have failed, try again. That's true success.


Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Honestly evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are and trust me . . . everyone has both! By realizing who you really are will help you to see what you would like to work on. When you can recognize an unhealthy pattern developing, you will be more equipped to stop and change your "perfectionist thinking."

Look for the positive. Human tendency is to look at the negative rather than the positive. Make a conscious effort to look for the good in others and yourself. Over time, you will be more inclined to think positively instead of negatively.

Being a perfectionist doesn't necessarily always have to be negative. If you learn to harness your tendencies in the proper way, you can be very successful because the core of perfectionist is the desire to succeed. If you need assistance in this regard, consider psychotherapy. A therapist can assist you to emphasize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. For more information, visit Psychotherapy Options.

Depression in Fathers Impacts the Whole Family

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Millions of men are affected every year by depression. Many men like to keep their emotions tucked away which can make it difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms. Unlike the "typical" sadness, depression in men comes across aggressive and irritable. It may be hard for a man to admit to being depressed, but pushing aside the stereotypes and seeking help is necessary – especially if there are children involved.

A study performed at the New York University School of Medicine noted a serious issue for children with depressed fathers. After analyzing 22,000 children in two-parent homes, noted that children with depressed dads are more likely to have behavioral and emotional problems. Researcher Michael Weitzman, M.D. stated the seriousness of depression in the family by stating, "There is a doubling of the risk if the father alone is depressed, a tripling of the risk if the mother alone is depressed, and the risk increases fourfold if kids have a depressed mom and dad." For more information on this study, read Dad's Depression May Raise Kids' Risk of Emotional Problems.

Many times depression is something that can’t be avoided, but it can be treated. If a mother or a father is depressed, then seek help immediately. You will feel better and your children will benefit in a big way. For more information, read - How to Help Children with Depressed Parents and Overcoming Depression.

Family of People with Asperger Syndrome: How to Combat Chronic Stress

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Chronic stress is a serious health concern. Many do not realize that if stress is not managed, the side effects can be severe. Chronic stress increases the risk of heart problems, strokes, susceptibility to infections and gastrointestinal problems. Stress can also affect weight. Some people suffer a loss of appetite and lose weight while others develop cravings for salt, fat, and sugar to counteract tension and end up gaining weight. Tension-type headache episodes are highly associated with stress. The tensions of unresolved stress can also frequently cause insomnia, generally keeping the stressed person awake or causing awakening in the middle of the night or early morning. Stress also has significant effects on the brain, particularly on memory. The typical victim of severe stress suffers loss of concentration at work and at home and may become inefficient and accident-prone.

If you have a loved one with Asperger Syndrome, you may be suffering from chronic stress. My advice to you is to take some time for "self-care." It's difficult to sometimes take time for ourselves, but it is necessary. Think about it this way, if you do not take care of yourself, it will be impossible to take care of others especially for your Aspie loved one. Self-care is different for every individual. For some it may be a trip to a massage therapist or a chiropractor. For others it may be reading a good book, taking a hot bath, or going for a run. Whatever it is, do it! Do not delay.

If taking a little "me" time is not lowering your stress level, you may need a more aggressive approach. I highly recommend therapy which will help you to learn valuable coping mechanisms. For more information, visit Managing Stress and Asperger Syndrome Support.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, I invite you to join the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD. On November 19, 2011 at 1:00 PM, we will be discussing "Adrenal Failure." Come prepared with your self-care tips.


Click here to learn more about my book Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?

Stressed about Job Security? How to Still Make Time for the More Important Things

Monday, October 10, 2011


Finding balance between work-life and home-life is an ongoing battle. What can cause a lack of balance? It may be different depending on the person, but it seems that with the economic downturn, many are concerned about job security. This added pressure causes many to work overtime to prove to their employer that they are worth keeping on. Long work hours means added stress, lack of balance, and no time for the things in life that can bring true joy and happiness.

You may be thinking that there is really nothing you can do about your work situation and that may be true, but what do you have control over? Are there things that can be adjusted? Chances are there are – take a look at the following recommendations:

Cut out non-essentials. While electronics has their place in the world, they can also be a big time waster. Evaluate how much time you are using social media sites, surfing the Internet, or using other electronic devices. They could be depriving you of much valuable time on things that are more important such as your family or your health.

Stick to a schedule. You schedule in your work, so why not schedule in family time or recreation. Putting it down in writing will ensure a greater chance that it will happen. If you choose not to schedule it in, then those opportunities may disappear.

Multi-task. Maybe you only have an hour and you want to squeeze in some exercise, but your 5 year old wants to play with you? They are both important to you. Instead of choosing one over the other, could you merge the two together? Perhaps go on a walk together or a bike ride. You get your exercise in and get to spend quality time with those that you love.

If you feel like you are unable to get a grasp on your responsibilities and your stress is becoming unmanageable, you may need to speak to a professional. Often times short-term therapy can resolve stress-related problems. If you are entrepreneur, you may experience the work-life balance to an even greater degree. Speaking to a therapist who is also versed in business counseling can be highly beneficial.

For more information visit, Managing Stress and/or Entrepreneurial Life.

How to Cope with Grieving

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


Losing a loved one in death is the most painful experience we face as humans. It doesn't matter if it is expected or happens unexpectedly, the experience is painful. The process of grieving is different for everyone.

It has been stated that there are five stages to grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Experiencing these emotions are normal, but as I mentioned earlier, it is different depending on the individual. Do not be discouraged if you have not experienced all of these emotions or if you experience them out of order. Whatever you experience is unique to you.

You may feel that you will never move past the grief that you are experiencing. It's true that grieving is a wild ride and you will experience many highs and lows through the course of your life. Instead of staying in neutral during the grieving process, take steps to help you move forward with your own life. You are alive and your loved one would want you to live your life to the fullest.

Here are some tips to help move you through the grieving:

Lean on your family and friends. Your family and close friends love you. They want to be there for you. They may not always say or do the right thing, but having good support is crucial in this time. (A note to family and friends: Be a good listener. Many times we just want to jump in and fix the problem, but this is a problem that can't be undone. Just being there is all they may need.)

Self-care. Try your best to get proper rest. Eat well and exercise. Physical health will ultimately assist your mental health. In addition, find things that make you happy. Going for a walk, get a pet, or find a hobby.

Find a support group. Being part of a support group will help you to see you are not alone. It is a safe place to share your feelings, free from judgment. Click here for tips on how to find the right support group.

Psychotherapy. Do not get down on yourself if you just cannot move past your grief. Psychotherapy will help. A therapist will be able to help you identify your grief roadblocks and give you practical solutions. Click here for information about therapy options.

Grieving takes time. Be patient with yourself and those around you. Visit When to Seek Help for more information.

New Research on How to Treat Autistic Children with ADHD

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Children with autism have many challenges to overcome in the course of their life. But what if autism is compounded with ADHD? It would make life even more challenging – especially if it goes undiagnosed. That’s why it’s important for doctors, educators and parents of autistic children to be aware that someone with autism may also have symptoms of ADHD.

Researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and Oregon Health Sciences University collected data from Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network's Registry and found that out of 2,000 autistic children and adolescents over 50% exhibited symptoms of ADD or ADHD. They also concluded that over a third exhibited severe symptoms. However, only 10% were taking medication that could be used to treat ADHD.

Children with autism and ADHD may benefit by taking medication for their ADHD symptoms. With their ADHD under control, they can then focus on tackling the affects of autism. It is important to note that medication is not a cure for ADHD. It can help to control the symptoms, but more is needed. Emotional therapy, behavioral counseling, and practical support should be combined with medication if the doctor deems it appropriate.

For more information on ADHD and recommended therapy, visit Parenting a Child with ADD.


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