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Kathy Marshack News

Tips on Finding the Right Support Group For You

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Finding the Best Support Group for YouWe all need someone to talk with that understands our unique situation and non-judgmentally supports us as we travel through our journey of life. A good Support Group will provide you with needed emotional support and often give you information on the latest treatment or research on your particular concern. In today’s technological world, you can either attend a local Support Group in person or you can join an online Support Group.

But you may have some questions before joining … How can you be sure the group you’re joining is going to be a healthy environment for you? What are some ways of identifying a good Support Group? I found an informative article written by John Grohol Psy.D, founder of PsychCentral.com that can help you identify characteristics of a good Support Group. Some of these are listed below:

A good Support Group has a community that is stable. You can determine this by how well it’s moderated and how long it’s been functioning. A group that has a moderator AND an administrative team will be able to continually bring new resources to you without the group leader burning out and shutting the group down.

Find a Support Group with members who are welcoming, non-judgmental and open to sharing. You want to be encouraged, not discouraged, in your chosen group.

The best Support Group has a non-techy, user-friendly site. If you’re stressing out over the tech stuff, you won’t be reaping any benefits from the group.

A reasonable Support Group clearly posts its guidelines and rules of conduct so everyone knows the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not.

A secure Support Group guards your privacy so nothing you say is splashed across the worldwide web inadvertently.

Look for a Support Group that offers you the features that are important to you. Are you interested in just reading what people have posted or do you desire more, such as mood tracking tools, treatment or product reviews, or a live chat room?

I facilitate two very supportive and secure Meetups. One is for Entrepreneurial Couples and Families. The other is for Partners & Family of Adults with Asperger Syndrome. Both of these Groups have local Meetups and International Teleconferences that are uniting members around the world.

I’m very excited about my newest Support Group – a Meetup for ENTREPRENEURS-Making It Work for Couples and Families. We focus on learning to balance Work and Love, the two things entrepreneurial families cherish most. The local Meetup is held once a month in Vancouver, Washington.

The Meetup for Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with AS has been supporting Neuro-Typicals who care for adult Aspie family since 2009. At our last call our international AS Group included people from around the globe. The local Meetup is held once a month in Portland, Oregon.

I am passionate about providing ongoing education for these two diverse topics. My team and I are working hard to provide you with a secure environment the gives the support you crave and deserve. If you have any questions about either one of these Meetup Support Groups, please feel free to contact us.

NEW MEETUP: ENTREPRENEURS – Making It Work for Couples and Families!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at HomeHave you ever felt alone? Like you’re the only one going through a unique situation? Of course, you know there are support groups for people with addiction problems, family crises, and so forth, but it’s hard for entrepreneurial couples to find people who understand the unique challenges you face. Many of your peers may be going through the same things, and they may complain about it, but few are talking about how to solve the problems.

I’m happy to announce that there is now a place for you to gather with fellow entrepreneurial couples who are struggling with the same issues you are such as...

  • No boundaries between home and work. 
  • A lack of intimacy because all you talk about is work.
  • No time to focus on personal rejuvenation.
  • Avoidance techniques instead of meaningful communication on problems.
  • Parenting conflicts, especially when kids begin working for the family business.

I’ve organized a monthly, local Meetup in Vancouver, Washington. If you become part of our group, you’ll be sent an email with the date, time and location.

What is a local Meetup?

Meetup is the world's largest online networking service that helps anyone organize a local group so people with similar interests can meet face-to-face. This is a great resource for entrepreneurial couples and families in business together.

You know that hard work and discipline are needed to launch a business. No less is needed to keep it going. The same is true for our loving relationships. But the pressures of work can get in the way of love. Our new Meetup group is designed to help entrepreneurs get the tools to make it work at work and at home. Learn how to meet the challenges and stresses of working with your spouse and family so you can have the best of both worlds - a successful business and a strong relationship with your family.

If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington you can join us in person for our first Meetup ENTREPRENEURS – Making it Work for Couples and Families in May. We’ll have a chance to share a meal together and discuss our experiences and ways to look at your situation from a new perspective.

And I have more great news! I know many of you would love to be there in person but can’t because the distance is just too far to travel. I’m arranging to provide the same opportunity for meeting fellow entrepreneurial couples via a free conference call. True, we won’t be sharing a meal, but on the plus side you get to stay at home and get practical advice on how to cope with your unique entrepreneurial challenges. I know you’re going to want to take advantage of this opportunity.

The doors are open and you can sign up today to be part of this special community of people who truly know what you’re going through. And I’ll use my 30 plus years of experience as a psychologist and family business coach to guide you toward healthier thoughts and actions. Plus you’ll have access to a safe, members-only online community. See you soon.

In preparation for our Meetup and to lay the groundwork, I encourage you to grab a copy of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home.

Entrepreneurial Couples – It’s Your Choice – Keep Managing Crises or Start Living Purposefully

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


happy entrepreneurial couples living purposefullyMost of the time, people are so busy with work and life they tend to make adjustments in life only when there is a major crisis. They quit smoking and lose weight when they’ve had a heart attack. They curtail spending habits, when the house goes to foreclosure. They consider their marriage, when a spouse leaves.

Yet, change is inevitably happening every day, and when entrepreneurial couples harness the energy in change, you can create meaning or purpose out of it. It puts you in charge rather than in a reactive position of always fixing problems. In simple terms, you don’t have to be sick to get better.

Change leads to either growth or deterioration. It seems wise, then, to accept that you’re a changing individual in a changing world, and it’s important to make time to work as a couple toward meaningful and purposeful growth. Of course, crises will continue to happen, since we can’t accurately predict everything. Yet crises do not have to be the norm, if you learn to pay attention to the signals that a change is coming. (Actually, these are really signs that reorganization has already started to take place.)

Some of those signals are subtle, such as feeling bored or confused. Another subtle signal is sticking with a habit that doesn’t now produce the desired results, although at one time it may have been useful. Turning points in life signal change. You can learn to use these developmental milestones to reset your course.

Your goal should be to access purposeful growth instead of just changing for the sake of change. Changing jobs or starting a new business because you’re bored will not guarantee success. When the newness wears off, you may find yourself once again in the same predicament, unsatisfied with your life. Being alert to these subtle warning signs of change helps you proactively recognize opportunities that will benefit you, your spouse, and the business.

Often we miss the wide scope of possibilities. Therefore seeking advice helps you discover a wider range of opportunities. By focusing on changing yourself first, you expand your consciousness through life-enhancing activities and continual education, which leads to self-awareness. You can then take positive steps toward your commitment to getting and staying physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. You become more skilled at resolving immediate problems, correcting past mistakes, and moving ahead with the new opportunities. This approach also enables you to encourage the development of your spouse, partner, employees, and children, which benefits you, too.

Changing from a problem-solving mode into self-awareness and growth may be difficult, especially for busy entrepreneurial couples. I’m here to help. Please feel free to contact my Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington office to schedule a consultation. If you live elsewhere, take a look at remote education for entrepreneurial couples that allows us to connect via video or telephone conference. The possibilities for your life, your partner's life, and your business are unlimited.

Learn more in my book: Entrepreneurial Couples – Making it Work at Work and Home. Grab your Kindle edition here.

Do You Need Creativity to Survive?

Friday, February 28, 2014


creativity means thinking outside the boxCreativity has long been associated with the arts. The general population may feel that they aren’t creative. While some do have a greater aptitude for creativity than others, it is not a rare gift reserved for only a few. Creativity comes when you learn to look at the world in a different way. You see relationships between things that others can’t see.

Interestingly, a recent article in The New York Times by Laura Pappano reports that more institutes of higher learning are teaching creativity as a marketable skill for industries such as business, education, digital media, humanities, engineering, science, nursing, justice and safety.

She quotes Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, “The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative.” He heads the nation’s oldest creative studies program that has been offered since 1967.

Dr. Puccio developed a four-step system that he and partners market as FourSight and sell to schools, businesses and individuals. His steps are clarifying (ask the right question), ideating (brainstorming without listening to the inner naysayer), developing (trying out your solution until you find one that works) and implementing (convincing others your idea has value).

She also talks about Dr. Burnett’s Introduction to Creative Studies survey course, where students can enhance their own creativity by rephrasing problems as questions, learning not to instinctively shoot down a new idea but look for three positives first, and categorizing whether a problem needs action, planning or invention.

No doubt you can see commonalities between these approaches. Creativity requires open, positively thinking outside the box. Being willing to accept change. Feeling safe and confident in the way you perceive yourself. Having a willingness to fail and try again. Sounds like a recipe for success if you’re in therapy!

In fact, I tell my clients – especially entrepreneurs – that if you have a good idea, sometimes you just need to run with it. It may or may not work, but allowing your creative juices to flow will only enhance your entrepreneurial abilities. With practice and time you can improve your creativity skills and, who knows, a failed creative thought or idea may not work for a particular situation at present, but it may for another one down the line.

What do you think? How important is creativity in your career? Join me on Facebook – I’d like to hear your thoughts on this and other subjects.

What Are You Really Teaching Your Children About Money?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


When children are young, they don’t understand the concept of what money is and how it works. Offer a little one the choice between a dull dime and a bright shiny nickel, and they’ll pick the nickel because it’s pretty and bigger.

When a child doesn’t learn the real value of money, as an adult they will struggle with money problems, which may escalate into relationship problems. Either they’ll undervalue it and squander it, thinking they can just ask for more. Or they’ll go to the other extreme of attaching too much importance to it sacrificing their own health or relationships for it.

A healthy view of money sees money as a means of exchanging what you have for what you want or need. To get money, you expend resources, such as time, accumulated knowledge and energy, to earn it. How can you instill good financial habits in children? What money values do you want your children to live by? An article written by a financial advisor, Wayne Von Borstel, made me think about this topic today. He had some very good advice.

First and foremost parents teach by example. Your children will copy your attitude toward money and the way you handle it. This is especially true if you run a family-owned business

You can discuss with your partner these questions to determine what model you’re giving to your children:

Do I argue over money with my spouse? Do we have a budget? Do we spend beyond our means, wracking up huge credit card debt? Do we make monthly deposits to a savings account? Do we make charitable donations? Do we keep funds especially earmarked for emergencies that can’t be dipped into for any reason? Do we save money for a vacation as a family? Have we set up a college fund for our children? Do we require our children to contribute toward any of these?

Helping your children see the real value of money also involves actively participating in making and spending money. When they earn the money they spend, they’ll make the connection that the amount available is limited by the time and effort put into earning it. This contributes toward creating a good work ethic. And as you guide them in how to spend money wisely, perhaps entrusting them with a specific amount for buying school clothes, or saving a portion in a savings account or college fund, they learn good financial habits.

What do you do when you want to train your children in money management, but your spouse has different ideas? Are you searching for conflict resolution techniques that really solve the issues over money in your family? If so, then contact my Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA office and set up an appointment.

If you’re an entrepreneuerial couple I address parenting and financial disagreements in my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home. You can also read Wayne Von Borstel’s entire article, 8 Ways to Maximize a Child’s Financial Potential, here.

Entrepreneurial Couples - Do You and Your Spouse Think About Money in the Same Way?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


entrepreneurial couples view of money mattersThe following phrases and bits of wisdom are based on beliefs that are deeply rooted in our cultural history. As you read through these phrases and statements, check out your feelings, your gut reactions to each. Do some seem truer than others? Do some make you feel uneasy? Which phrase or aphorism rings the truest for you? Which one delights you? And what other bits of wisdom about money can you think of?

  • Money can't buy love.
  • You can't take it with you.
  • Dirty money.
  • Filthy rich.
  • Cold, hard cash.
  • As phony as a three-dollar bill.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned.
  • Buy low, sell high.
  • Two for the price of one.
  • A fool and his money are soon parted.
  • It's as easy to marry a rich man as a poor one.
  • It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
  • Penny wise and pound foolish.
  • Money talks.
  • Love of money is the root of all evil.

Would your marriage mate agree with your answers? Since many marital fights are over money, it’s good for everyone, especially entrepreneurial couples, to reexamine what money means to you and what you want it to mean. Only by uncovering your beliefs about money and how they are affecting your most intimate relationships will you be able to challenge the beliefs that are not healthy or productive.

Has money become an overwhelming issue in your marriage? If so, please consult a trained therapist to help you resolve this situation now. Financial problems are really just the tip of the iceberg for couples, concealing deeper, hidden issues between family members. Contact my Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA office to set up an appointment.

Also, check out my book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. It’s an invaluable resource for reeducating yourself about money, redefining your attitudes about wealth, and planning for the healthy management of your wealth. I suggest reading and discussing it together as a couple so you can openly discuss this touchy topic.

What 40 Years of Science Reveals About Happiness

Thursday, January 09, 2014


the three main factors that result in happinessAfter over thirty five years counseling clients and helping them discover what happiness means to them personally, I was interested to read a recent article in the New York Times on this subject. The president of the American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., reported on what scientists have discovered about happiness after studying it for 40 years.

Scientists have determined that three major things impact happiness – our genes, events, and our values. Here's what the research shows:

Genetics: Researchers at the University of Minnesota have studied identical twins separated at birth and found that genetics is responsible for about 48.5% percent of our happiness.

Events: Measured to account for 40 percent of our happiness, the effect of events on our happiness is usually short-lived. Today we may be ecstatic about landing our dream job, but within a month or so that euphoria wears off.

Values: While the smallest percentage of our happiness is attributed to our values, this is something totally within our control. We get to choose what value we place on the basics – faith, family, community and meaningful work.

The article also went on to reveal that meaningful life and work isn’t successfully measured by the amount of money you have or what you buy. Mr. Brooks explains more, “Rewarding work is unbelievably important, and this is emphatically not about money. That’s what research suggests as well. Economists find that money makes truly poor people happier insofar as it relieves pressure from everyday life — getting enough to eat, having a place to live, taking your kid to the doctor. But scholars have found that once people reach a little beyond the average middle-class income level, even big financial gains don’t yield much, if any, increases in happiness.”

In order to be happy, you must know yourself first. This means becoming knowledgeable about the connections between your personal life, your family life and your work life. Understanding your personal family dynamics and how they interact with your career or business creates a more successful life balance.

This is especially true for family business owners, your personal life influences your business decisions, and vice versa. Therefore, it is well worth your while to become more knowledgeable about your personality style, your family values, your blind spots and how they shape your daily actions. Self-Assessment is a good place to start in reevaluating your attitude toward work and money. If you’re an entrepreneur you will find many self-assessment exercises, including Your Financial Plan in my book - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home.

If you need help discovering a more meaningful, and happy, work-life balance please contact my Portland Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington office and set up an appointment.

Latest Interview on “Entrepreneurial Couples” in The New York Times

Monday, December 02, 2013


Couples fall in love and many times find that they work well together in their marriage. So for them the next logical step is to begin working together in a business endeavor. You would think that couples working toward a common goal together would draw them closer. Yet many couples have found this creates more challenges than they expected.

This was illustrated in a recent article in The New York Times, Together, at Home and at Work. The author, Bruce Feiler, spent an intensive six months working closely with his wife and many of his friends reacted by asking when they would divorce. No doubt it was asked jokingly, however it underlines the commonly held misconception that couples can’t work together for any length of time without breaking up.

After giving example of famous couples who have successfully worked together and others who have failed, he quoted a number of experts on couple working together. I was happy to talk to him about my research that appears in my book, Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home. I shared my insight that couples who work together should never compromise unless there really is no other option. When you’re working with your spouse, you’re going to be tempted to compromise, because that’s what you do at home. But that’s not good for business. Too much sensitivity to others is the primary reason family companies grow slower than non-family firms.

He also discussed the need to set boundaries – what happens at work stays at work, what happens at home stays at home, not to be afraid of conflict, and know when it’s time to quit if it’s not working.

Successful couples combine the wife's and the husband's strengths. Take what you know about each other and use it to the fullest to take your business and your life to a new height. If you could use some personal guidance on how to resolve a conflict in your family business, please contact my Portland Oregon/ Vancouver, Washington office and set up an appointment.

You can learn more about my book, Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home, and purchase a Kindle edition by clicking here.

Emotional Intelligence Plays a Part in Our Decisions

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Many don't realize that making good decisions is not based on high IQ. Rather it’s based on how perceptive you are with your emotions. Those of us who feel our feelings, interpret them correctly, and then act upon that information, have an advantage over those of us who rely solely on intellect to make decisions.

A recent article in the New York Times by Noreena Hertz, a professor of economics at University College London, caught my attention, Why We Make Bad Decisions. When she was confronted with a debilitating health problem, she became interested in researching through the academic literature in the fields of economic, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, information science, political science and history to discover the various factors that cause us to incorrectly process challenging news.

Research show that there are a number of the factors that influence our decisions such as:

  • Our perception of “expert advice.” A 2009 Emory University experiment showed that when a group of adults was confronted by an expert’s claims, they simply gave in to the advice without any further thought of their own.
  • Anxiety, stress and fear. These negative emotions can make us see only a narrow view of the situation so we become more conservative and less likely to take risks.
  • Natural born optimism. Neuroscientist Tali Sharot conducted a study that showed that people tend to ignore new information if it reveals that events will turn out worse than expected. If people think “it can’t happen to me” even unconsciously, they’ll grasp at information that agrees with the outcome they want. When information supports our hopes apparently we get a dopamine rush similar to when we eat chocolate or fall in love.

This information is empowering. It can help you to avoid mind games or self-told stories to rationalize your decisions. Instead, you can take control of your decision making process by acknowledging your feelings and then ask probing questions as you evaluate the pros and cons involved.

Often it helps to talk things through with another individual. If you’re faced with a life-changing or business decision that has you perplexed, seeking the counsel from a professional will help. A psychologist is skilled at helping you sort out your choices and get clear on your objectives when making big decisions in life. If you’re ready to gain that kind of clarity in your own life, make an appointment with my Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA office.

Learn more on my website: Entrepreneurial Life.

What’s Wrong with Using Alcohol to Unwind After a Hard Day at the Office?

Thursday, September 26, 2013


empty beer bottlesEvery night at about 10:30 the fighting begins until the couple gets so tired they just fall asleep. This married couple works side-by-side running their successful business, but by the end of the workday, Joan frequently wants to stop off at a bar for a drink to "unwind". Jack, in a separate car goes home, relieves the babysitter, and starts dinner. When his wife gets home, she’s relaxed and cheerful, the alcohol having taken the edge off of the day's stress. She has two more glasses of wine at dinner. As the evening progresses, Jack busies himself with settling the children down for the evening. He doesn't mind doing most of the domestic chores because he understands that Joan doesn't have as much physical stamina as he.

When it’s time to give the children a goodnight kiss, he usually finds his wife napping on the couch. A couple more drinks later, Joan is no longer cheerful, but is very irritable. Dumbfounded, Jack can’t figure out why she’s mad at him. The accusations start flying, defensive walls shoot up and the arguing escalates to unreasonable and irrational proportions.

When does relaxing with a drink turn into a problem such as this?

A recent article on CNN’s website, Does Drinking Reduce My Stess?, quotes psychology professor Kenneth Sher, head of the University of Missouri’s Alcohol, Behavior and Health laboratory, "If you're looking forward to a drink to relieve your stress, on a regular basis, that is a warning sign. There's a very strong relationship between having thoughts like, 'Alcohol helps me relax' and 'Having a few drinks makes my trouble go away' and alcohol dependency problems."

If you are using alcohol to handle your stress, you're actually adding more stress to your system. As professor Sher stated, "When you're alcohol-dependent, you're chronically stressed at a baseline level." The higher your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, the more you need to drink to feel normal.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 18 million Americans abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. There are also several million more adults who engage in risky drinking that could lead to alcohol problems such as binge drinking and heavy drinking on a regular basis. How do you know if you have a problem with alcohol? Start by seeing how you answer the questions on my website – Alcohol Recovery.

If you experience drinking-related problems that impact your job, relationships, health, or the law, you should seek professional help. You may want to start by speaking to your doctor but there are a variety of resources available to you. Don’t delay. The effects of alcohol abuse can be extremely serious both to you and to others. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment please contact my Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA office.



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