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Kathy Marshack News

Discover Secrets to Positivity and Happiness That Many Elderly Already Know

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Have you ever looked at an elderly person confined to a wheelchair and think, “How does she do it? She seems so happy. I would go mad in her place!” What is their secret to remaining positive despite the hardships and challenges that life brings? There’s a beautiful article in the NYTimes that might give you some answers and a new perspective on your own life.

The author, John Leland, has been following six elderly people since 2015 and now shares some of the insights he’s gleaned…

  • You can have it all if what you want is within your reach.

  • Focus on things you can still do and find rewarding.

  • Set realistic goals.

  • Try not to think about bad things.

  • Don’t complain.

  • Be lively. You can’t be an old stick in the mud.

  • Form close friendships with the people who surround you, even if it’s in a nursing home.

  • Work hard at keeping up your mood.

  • Strive to live a peaceful and contented life.

  • Talk problems out, don’t argue.

  • See yourself as a fighter.

  • Don’t give in to fear, because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  • Be resilient.

He adds, “Gerontologists call this the paradox of old age: that as people’s minds and bodies decline, instead of feeling worse about their lives, they feel better.” It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

Why can elderly people be happy despite their circumstances? Further research sheds light on this question.

One such research project was conducted by Stanford psychologist, Laura Carstensen, who studied brain behavior relative to positive and negative imagery. She found that “older people place high value on goals related to well-being and, all things being equal, cognitive processing operates under the influence of such goals.” She discovered that the amygdala of young people fire at seeing both types of imagery. While the amygdala of the elderly fired only for the positive images. She hypothesizes that the elderly train their prefrontal cortex to inhibit the amygdala in the presence of negative stimuli. In essence, they’ve rewired their brains to ignore the negative and delight in the positive.

If you’re struggling with negativity and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. If you're young you don't have to wait until you're older. I can help you discover practical ways to switch your brain on to positivity. I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Is This Normal Anxiety... or an Anxiety Disorder?

Monday, February 19, 2018


Find out how you can tell if your anxiety has gone beyond the normal range and your feelings of nervousness, fearfulness, and apprehension could be classified as an anxiety disorder.As unwelcome as anxiety is, it is a very normal reaction to stress. There are times when we all feel nervous, fearful, or apprehensive. New experiences where you can’t anticipate the outcome, high-pressure situations and stressful events will often cause a measure of anxiety.

Anxiety is often felt physically as much as it is emotionally. It results in physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, trembling, breathlessness, and nausea. Anxiety can also affect your mood, making you irritable or unable to relax.

The good news is that for many people, anxiety goes as quickly as it comes. Once the stressful event that induced the anxiety in the first place is over, their feelings normalize. They are able to handle the discomfort and uncertainty of anxiety without outside intervention.

But what if your feelings don’t normalize after some time passes? What if feelings of anxiety nag at you on a daily basis? You may suffer from an anxiety disorder. How can you tell?

Anxiety disorders disrupt your day-to-day life. Persons who deal with an anxiety disorder struggle with concentration, focus, and sleep. Their feelings are so severe that they begin to affect their work, relationships, and health. Anxiety becomes controlling, debilitating, and inescapable.

Anxiety disorders are persistent. Like I mentioned, normal feelings of anxiety pass relatively quickly. Persons suffering from an anxiety disorder experience severe anxiety for months. The general standard is that if you have more anxious days than not in a six-month period, you may be dealing with an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders defy reason. You’ve thoroughly examined the situation causing you stress and anxiety. You’ve determined that your anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. You know you have good reason to move on and let go of these feelings. But you still can’t seem to shake your concerns and anxiety? Something more than “normal” anxiety may be going on.

It must be noted that anxiety disorders are not “personality flaws.” They are actually physical brain disorders. People with an anxiety disorder associate a new experience with an old emotional response that lingers in their brain. The previous anxious feelings are now attached to the new, and often unrelated, experience. So even though there’s no true reason for anxiety, their brain tells you that there is.

Functional magnetic resonance images (fMRIs) of an anxious brain vs. a healthy brain shows a fundamental brain difference. They show response differences in the amygdale and in the primary sensory regions of the brain, thus supporting the theory that emotional experiences cause changes in sensory representations in anxious brains. This reaction is not something that an anxious person can control. Their brain is literally wired differently.

Do you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder? Contact a qualified therapist. They can perform a careful diagnostic evaluation and recommend a course of treatment. Together, you and your therapist can find the treatment and approach that is best for you.

There are measures you can take to relieve some of your anxiety outside of the treatment you are receiving from your doctor. Here are some things that have worked for my clients in the past:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Practice deep breathing techniques.

  • Exercise regularly.


  • Find time to relax and spend time with the people you love.

Remember that you can treat your anxiety disorder. Research is yielding new, improved therapies to help those with anxiety disorders to lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, please call for an appointment. My office is located in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer convenient online therapy.

Work with Toxic People? Here's How to Cope

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


If you work with a toxic person, someone who is abusive, controlling, or try to cause you harm, find out how to cope with their behavior and what steps you can take to minimize their bullying.Do you have any toxic people in your life? People who are abusive, controlling, or try to cause you harm? Generally, you can get rid of this negativity by cutting toxic friends, family members, and acquaintances out of your life or at least drastically reducing contact with them.

But when you work with toxic people, the solution to your problem isn’t that easy. You have to work with them whether you want to or not. So how can you cope?

Here are some ways to protect yourself from a toxic workmate:

  • Assess if the person truly is toxic. Are they abusive or just difficult? Are they absorbed in themselves to the detriment of others, or are they just overcompensating? It’s worth considering because sometimes people who are not truly toxic can be won over by kindness and compassion and become less difficult. Behind their annoying behaviors, there may be feelings of inadequacy, vulnerability, or a longing for attention and personal connections.

  • Don’t take to heart what toxic people say to you or about you. Words can hurt, especially when we’re barraged with subtle digs all day long. It's easy to withdraw into yourself, feeling hurt and rejected. Then you replay, rehash, and relive the experience over and over again. Don’t do that. Don’t absorb what toxic people say and let it reach you emotionally. Stay calm and rational. Doing so will help you diffuse the situation, rather than providing the bully with the reaction they hoped for.

  • Improve your emotional intelligence (EQ). This may sound counterintuitive because the toxic person should be the one working on their EQ! But really, people with a high EQ can neutralize the effect of toxic people. They stay aware of their emotions and remain calm and objective. They establish clear boundaries and decide when they have to put up with a toxic person and when they don’t. They can keep an emotional distance from the person without becoming cold and uncaring. People with a high EQ also understand that holding a grudge doesn’t do them any good, so they have an easier time letting things go that bring them stress.

  • Continue to do your best work. Rudeness in the workplace is known to stifle creativity, problem-solving, and efficiency. Counteract the inclination to lay low at work by continuing to put your best foot forward. In addition to helping you be your best self, this also casts doubt on any negative things your toxic workmate says about you.

  • Keep your interactions with the toxic person to a minimum. Engage with them as little as possible, and they may move on to someone or something else. Speak in a neutral voice. Keep your responses short and unemotional. Stay on topics that are boring or inconsequential. Don’t engage when they taunt you or make eye contact. Avoid sharing personal information with them and don’t ask them anything personal. Make yourself seem as uninterested in them and as uninteresting to them as possible.

  • Document everything.
    Make sure to keep a record of toxic behavior. Write down what happened, when it happened, who witnessed it, etc. Keep emails, notes, and even voicemails. If things reach a point a point where you need to bring the problem to the attention of your employer, Human Resources, or beyond, this ensures you have the necessary information to make your case.

  • Focus on yourself. You can be happy if you keep your focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. You can’t control your workmate or make them change their personality. But you can continue to work becoming the best possible version of yourself. And remember, sometimes they healthiest choice is to walk away. You can work elsewhere!

Toxic people in the workplace often have severe Empathy Dysfunction (EmD). This is characterized by an “all-about-me” attitude and is manifested in thoughtless, self-absorbed behavior. The result is contemptible harm to those around them. My upcoming book, “When Empathy Fails – How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you,” delves into Empathy Disorders and offers advice on how you can protect yourself from people who can’t or won’t demonstrate empathy. You can read the first chapter here.

Are you in a position of leadership and see signs of toxic behavior in your business? Or are you on the receiving end of this type of demoralizing behavior and want it to stop? Many have found that consulting with a trained therapist and business coach has helped them find positive solutions. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment or take advantage of online therapy.

Entrepreneurs – How Mindfulness Is Good for Business

Monday, January 22, 2018


Practice mindfulness, a simple form of meditation that helps you stay focused, less stressed, and more positive, as part of your self-care regimen, to benefit yourself and your business.As an entrepreneur, you probably work long hours. Between building your business and caring for your family, self-care can quickly take a backseat.

But with what result? A lot of built up stress with no relief in sight. This is bad for you, and for your business. To combat the personal and professional consequences of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, I encourage many of clients to employ the practice of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness? Simply put, mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you get control of your thoughts and behaviors. It is the act of focusing all of your attention on the present. You focus on what you are doing or feeling without thinking about why you’re doing it or feeling that way, what you should do next, or what you think you should be doing. Mindfulness requires that you objectively consider your thoughts and feelings, thus helping you be truly present, living in the moment.

Before you dismiss mindfulness as some sort of hippie nonsense, there is solid, scientific evidence supporting the benefits of meditation. The latest research in neuroscience suggests that mindfulness causes real, observable changes in the brain. There is decreased activity areas of the brain associated with mind-wandering combined with increased activity in the areas associated with focus and cognitive control. There is also decreased activity in the amygdala, the area of the brain associated with stress and anxiety. Finally, they have noticed an increase in activity in the left frontal cortex which is associated with positivity.

So mindfulness changes your brain to be more focused and controlled, less stressed, and more positive. How do these changes then benefit your business? Mindfulness helps you to:

  • Discover your true motivation and drive. Entrepreneurs burn out when they do things for the wrong reasons, such as fame, fortune, or notoriety. Of course everyone needs to make money, and it’s not wrong to want recognition, but if these are your only motives behind your business, you will get pulled off track quickly. Mindfulness guides you back to the greater reasons you started your business. It helps you gain satisfaction from doing things for yourself and for the right reasons. Because of this, you and your business can continue on and grow.

  • Develop resilience. You will see how every failure, every bump in the road, is a chance to learn. Instead of becoming frustrated and giving up, you will develop the resilience needed to keep going in spite of problems. You will have an easier time standing back up and dusting yourself off. It helps you continue to get things done, even under very challenging circumstances.

  • Make needed changes. Mindfulness helps you challenge your approach to life and business when you reach a roadblock or experience failure. It helps you analyze your problem and determine objectively why you are not obtaining the results you want. The process of mindfulness helps you try different things, even when you are naturally opposed to change.

  • Trust your instincts. Entrepreneurs often use their instincts and intuition to make some of the best decisions for their life and business. You need to train yourself to trust your gut. So often entrepreneurs are stressed, pulled at from all directions, get advice and input from numerous sources, to the point that they lose confidence in their own instincts. Practices like mindfulness help you tune into your inner voice and reconnect with your intuition.

  • Enjoy the success you have right now. Entrepreneurs set goals and work toward them like no one else, and that’s part of why you are successful! But many entrepreneurs fail to slow down and rejoice in their present successes. Mindfulness helps you to focus on the things that make you feel successful now. This, in turn, will help you create more success.

Entrepreneurs face many challenges. What challenges are you dealing with? Could you use help achieving a more balanced and satisfying lifestyle? If so, contact my office and schedule an appointment. My office is located in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that is a better fit for your busy schedule.

8 Easy Ways to Take Care of Your Brain

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Your brain is the center and leader of your body, so take time to improve the health of your brain which will, in turn, help your whole body function at an optimal level.What are your resolutions for 2018? Popular New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on improving physical health by living a more active lifestyle. While this is important, there is a part of a person’s overall health that is often overlooked – brain health.

Why is it important to maintain a healthy brain? The brain is the center and leader of the body. When it’s not functioning at an optimal level, the whole body experiences stress. Of concern, too, is that without proper care your brain loses an average of 85,000 cells a day. This loss of brain cells contributes to the aging process.

The good news is that you can slow your brain’s aging process and increase your mental agility by thinking ahead and making brain health a priority.

How can you make brain a health a priority this year? Try some of these simple suggestions:

  • Exercise regularly. Exercise is known to literally change the size of your brain. Regular exercise has been found to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that plays an important role in memory and learning. Exercise can double or triple the number of new cells in the hippocampus. These new cells translate to a significantly better ability to learn new things and remember experiences.

  • Eat a variety of healthful foods. What you put in your body has a direct effect on its ability to perform, starting with how your brain functions. Lean protein, whole grains, green leafy veggies, and healthy fats that contain Omega 3 fatty acids are great for your brain.

  • Stay hydrated. Your brain is 85% water, so don’t let yourself get dehydrated. Drink plenty of water. Add a little lemon or some cucumber slices if that will help motivate you to drink more water. Also steer clear of anything that dehydrates you. Alcohol, caffeine, and salt should be consumed in moderation.

  • Get more sleep. Depression, memory issues and poor decision-making skills are directly linked to lack of sleep. While you are sleeping, your brain is working hard to consolidate your memories, link them up with old memories, create new neural pathways that help you retrieve memories, and form connections between thoughts and ideas. It also uses that time to flush toxins out of your brain. So make sure you are getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, even if you think you are functioning just fine on less.

  • Reduce stress. Easier said than done, I know. But regardless of how difficult it may be to cut stressors out of your life, it is necessary for the health of your brain. Chronic stress kills cells in the memory centers of your brain. Exercise, healthy eating, and sleep all help reduce stress levels. The practice of mindfulness can also help you refocus and recharge. Even just a few minutes of meditation can quiet your mind and reduce stress.

  • Exercise your brain. Learn a new language, learn how to dance, or just try brushing your teeth with your less dominant hand. Learning new things helps develop new neural pathways in your brain. 

  • Consider brain-training activities. The idea is that by performing certain tasks like crossword puzzles and memory games, you can improve your cognitive abilities such as memory and attention. While researchers in the field have mixed feelings about the benefits of brain-training, studies indicate that learning and thinking of any type can improve the survival and function of young brain cells.

  • Be positive. Studies have found that focusing on negative thoughts changes the brain – when thinking negatively, creativity, learning and imagination all go down. Focusing on positive, hopeful thoughts, on the other hand, changes the brain in a good way. If you struggle with positive thinking, try this: keep a gratitude journal. Write down the good things you have in your life, from big to small.

Every brain is different, though, and needs different things to stay healthy. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a leading psychiatrist, there are 16 different brain types. Take the Aman Assessment quiz to find out what type of brain you have. Knowing your brain type can help you make decisions and lifestyle changes that will optimize your brain function, sharpen your focus, raise your energy levels, and get the right tools to conquer your day.

Still need helping achieving balance and staying healthy in all areas of your life? I can help you identify the areas that are out of balance so you can make the needed changes. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for you.

Holiday Survival Guide for Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Along with joy and festivities, the holiday season can bring extra stress and work, especially when you run your own business. How can you not only survive the holiday season but truly enjoy itThe holidays are supposed to be a time to reconnect with family and friends, relax, and refocus on the important things. Ideally it should include looking for ways to give back and showing our gratitude for the life we enjoy. Unfortunately, busy entrepreneurs sometimes view the holidays as something they need to get through or survive.

What is it about the holiday season that creates so much stress and anxiety?

Since it’s such a significant time of year, it becomes very busy, very quickly. Think about all the things you try to pack in to the last few weeks of the year: vacations, holiday parties, hosting out of town guests, school events, community functions, shopping for gifts…the list goes on and on. That doesn’t even count the things you have to do for your business. You have to think about employee bonuses, client gifts, end of the year tax and accounting details, and last-minute rush orders.

With all the things you have to do, it would easy to become overwhelmed or just lock yourself in your office until the New Year. But that won’t help the situation. Working non-stop without taking time to de-stress and care for yourself is not good for you, and will not help your business in the long run.

So how can you survive this holiday season with enough energy to start the New Year with a bang? Here are some holiday survival suggestions for even the busiest entrepreneur:

  • Acknowledge the stress. Once you are mindful of the realities of this time of year, you are in a better position to handle them. Identify which things create the most stress for you, and create a plan for how to deal with them.

  • Prioritize your time. Make a to-do list and start prioritizing. There are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, and so many weeks before the New Year. So decide what needs to be done, and what can wait. Be realistic about what can and cannot get done. Delegate some responsibilities to others if possible.

  • Be positive. An optimistic outlook is linked to a myriad of mental and physical health benefits. It is also contagious. Your positive attitude can bring up the attitude of those around you. Having a positive attitude will help you navigate the highs and lows of running a business over the holidays.

  • Take care of yourself physically. Exercise regularly, eat right, and get enough sleep. When your schedule gets too packed, the first thing that tends to go is self-care. Don’t let that happen. To be at your best, you need to take care of your physical needs.

  • Look at the big picture. There are a lot of things that “need” your time and attention. But look at the big picture. Your friends and family are the most important things in your life. Use this time to make memories with them. When it comes to your business, instead of getting caught up in the little details, focus on the core business ideas that will ultimately help your business grow next year.

If you follow these suggestions, you are well on your way to enjoying a less stressful holiday season and being prepared to hit the ground running. As you set personal and business goals for the New Year, it can be helpful to consult a trained therapist who can help you reach them. Please call my office to set up an appointment. I have an office in Jantzen Beach, and I also offer online therapy if that’s a better option for you. I can help you prepare yourself from the inside out to succeed in life and business in the coming year!

Entrepreneurship - Often the Perfect Solution for Gifted Adults

Monday, November 20, 2017


Gifted adults tend to struggle with a traditional career, but the qualities that make it hard are the same qualities that can make them great entrepreneurs.Are you a gifted adult? If so, you probably already know that finding the right career path can be more difficult for you than for others. Why do gifted adults tend to have a hard time finding the right fit for their career?

One reason is that gifted adults often struggle to stick with one thing. Many times they are interested in, and good at, so many different things. This broad range of talents and interests can make choosing and sticking with a just one career tricky.

On the other hand, because they do excel at an early age, gifted persons can become over-focused on one particular area of expertise. Family, friends, and teachers notice their abilities and encourage them to pursue that field. Before they know it, they end up on a career track at an early age. This can cut off creative thinking about other opportunities that might better suit their values and personality.

So whether you’ve jumped from one career to another and can’t find the right fit, or you’ve been stuck in the same old job for years, you might be ready for something new. Life is too short to have a career that leads to dissatisfaction, discontentment and boredom.

Over the years I’ve seen that many gifted adults find entrepreneurship to be the perfect solution. You may have heard that entrepreneurship is an incredibly challenging way of life. And that is true! It requires a drive, focus, and commitment that many people either don’t have, or aren’t willing to dedicate to a business. An entrepreneur needs to think outside the box and take risks.

It takes a special kind of person to make a success of entrepreneurship.

But the good news is that the special qualities needed to create a thriving business are exactly what make gifted adults great candidates for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs have to adapt to new markets, products, and trends quickly. Entrepreneurs are doing a million things all at the same time, trying to juggle all the parts of their business. They are master problem-solvers and love finding solutions for their business challenges.

So if you are a gifted adult ask yourself: Are you a quick learner? Can you spot trends and movements? Can you complete assignments quickly and efficiently? Do you thrive on solving problems and overcoming challenges? Are new skills usually easy  for you to learn?

Does entrepreneurship sound like it might be the challenge you’re looking for? Take these steps to start your course toward entrepreneurship:
  1. Look at your circumstances objectively. Don’t blame anyone else for pushing you into a career, not pushing you hard enough, or for doubting you. Don’t blame your “giftedness” either. You have the power to change yourself and your circumstances when you make a conscious decision to do so.
  2. Identify the right business for you. Maybe you’ve had business ideas in your head since you were a child. Great! Revisit and explore those childhood dreams. But also give yourself permission to explore. Look at the many different facets of yourself and listen to your intuition. Ask yourself: “What gives me energy?” “What brings me joy?” 
  3. Make a plan. A business plan will help you gain clarity, focus, and confidence. Write down your goals, strategies, and actions. 
  4. Work out the details. Consider your target audience. Secure funding. Build a support network. Get the word out about your product or service.

After years of rejection and misunderstanding, a gifted adult has much misinformation about his or herself that may even be described as a “false self.” Through psychotherapy and education about giftedness you can reclaim your true self, find meaning in life and quite possibly create a whole new business enterprise for yourself. If this is something you’d like to explore, I can help you. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to set up an appointment. If it is better for you, I also offer online therapy.

Stay Positive - Limit Your Exposure to the 24-Hour News Cycle

Monday, November 13, 2017


Counteract the effect of constant, negative news on your mood and outlook by limiting your exposure.There’s no question that there is a lot of a bad stuff happening in the world today. While it isn’t often pleasant to think about, it is good to be aware of what's going on at local, national, and international levels. To get this information, we turn to the news. We listen to reports about crime, famine, war, political unrest, injustice, and terrorism. Simply hearing reports of people suffering is often enough to move us and touch our hearts.
 
But it is possible to watch too much news. Watching perpetually negative news can affect your mood, and your mood can go on to negatively affect your thinking and behavior. It can affect how you perceive events in your own life, how your brain remembers and processes memories, and how much you worry about your own specific problems. Have you noticed an increase in stress when you watch too much news?
 
Why does modern news reporting make us feel this way? Today, reporters don’t stop at simply reporting the news. They tend to sensationalize news stories. This happens when they emphasize any potential negative outcomes of a story, no matter how low the risk of those negative outcomes might be. In fact, I’ve been on the receiving end of sensationalized reporting and it can be incredibly harmful. (I’m putting the final touch on my new book where I reveal the whole story behind my negative PR experience. If you want to stay up-to-date with the release sign-up for my newsletter or follow me on Facebook.)
 
This emotional, sensational way of presenting the news is a direct result of the 24-hour news coverage cycle that exists today. Journalists and reporters no longer have a few moments or one column in a newspaper to impartially report what is happening. The advent of the television and, especially the internet has created an environment where news is reported almost immediately. Everyone has access to the same story, the same visuals. So how does a journalist stand out? They begin to evaluate the story, in an effort to make it have a personal impact on each individual viewer.
 
Unfortunately, “evaluating” the story quickly turns into “sensationalizing” the story. And that is where the problem lies. When the news runs 24 hours a day, journalists quickly fill that time with emotional reports that no longer have a direct bearing on the original, informative story.

So if you have noticed that you are having trouble staying positive, try putting a limit on your news consumption. Don’t just leave the news on all night or check it every five minutes on your smartphone. Watch enough news to know what’s going on and stay informed, but once it moves past the main story and becomes more negative, turn it off.
 
What can you do instead? Here are some ideas:

  • Get out and exercise. I’ve shared the link between exercise and mental health many times. If you want to stay positive and push out negativity, moderate exercise is a great way to do it.

  • Educate yourself. Watch an educational program, download a language-learning app, or practice a new skill.

  • Spend time with family and friends. How long has it been since you had a really in-depth conversation with a loved one? When we make these connections and have real conversations, they refresh us and help us stay positive.

  • Read a book. Reading is a great stress-reliever, helping your efforts to stay positive. Just make sure to choose reading material that is uplifting, rather than depressing.

No matter how you choose to fill your time, the important thing is to not allow negative news broadcasts exacerbate your own stress and anxiety. If you have taken the above steps, and you still struggle with negative thoughts, there could be a deeper problem. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. I can help you pinpoint where your negativity is coming from, and guide you to enjoying a more optimistic outlook. If you live out of the area, I also offer online therapy.

How to Find a Good Online Therapist

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


If you choose to pursue online therapy, there are specific steps you must take to ensure you work with a licensed therapist who can truly help you reach your goals.So you want to begin therapy. This is a worthwhile investment in yourself. As you examine different therapy options, you may conclude that online therapy is best for you. Maybe it is challenging to find someone in your area who can effectively help you, or perhaps your busy schedule makes it difficult to make it to a therapist’s office on a regular basis.
 
The wonders of technology have made it possible to find and get anything with the click of a button. Finding a therapist online has never been easier. Unfortunately, it has also never been easier for people to disguise who they really are and make claims that are unfounded or outright false. There are many so-called “therapists” online who lack the education, experience, and certifications to genuinely help you.
 
So what can you do? Make sure to follow these steps as you research online therapists:

  1. Verify their license. Did you know that the terms “therapist” and “psychotherapist” are not legally protected words in most states? This means anyone can claim to be a therapist and offer therapy services. A licensed therapist is trained and qualified to practice, and they are held to high standards of conduct. This is also gives you recourse if there are problems with your treatment. So make sure to check their license. A quick phone call or email to obtain the license number will do the trick. In most states you can verify the information online. And if they get defensive, that’s a big red flag!
  2. Ensure the site or app is HIPAA-compliant and secure. The beauty of therapy is that clients have a safe, private space to share their most personal stories, thoughts, and emotions. Privacy is an absolute necessity. So when looking at an online therapist, check that their website or app platform is completely secure. At minimum it should comply with HIPAA standards for patient privacy and confidentiality.
  3. Interview the therapist. Make sure you are comfortable with them and that their therapy style and personality work for you. Chat with them for a while to ensure they have the qualities you particularly need or value in a therapist. Also, take a look at what you see on your screen. Are they in a professional, private location or are they in a coffee shop? Are they dressed professionally? Is the camera adjusted where you can see them clearly or does it look like they are doing this for the first time?
  4. Ask questions. You are a paying customer. You have the right to understand the therapy offered and to clarify information that will influence your experience. Ask any and all questions you need to make an informed and comfortable decision.
  5. Trust your instincts. If, after following the above steps, you still don’t feel comfortable with them, trust your gut and move on! To get the most out of your therapy you have to feel completely comfortable and safe. Do what it takes to find that safe space with an online therapist.

I offer online therapy and have found many clients love the convenience of meeting with me from the comfort of their own home. In order to protect your confidentiality, I utilize HIPAA-compliant software. I also always conduct sessions in the privacy of my office. Note that online therapy is only available if you live in Oregon, Washington, or abroad. For patients in any other state, I offer remote education services. And please feel free to ask any questions!

How to Foster Stewardship in Your Family Business

Monday, October 16, 2017


Family businesses, like the families who run them, go through various stages of development, ultimately reaching the “stewardship” stage.Why did you start your family business? Or why did you choose to carry on the legacy of generations before you? Have your goals and motivations changed and developed over the years?

Your business, like the family that runs it, also goes through different stages of development. There are three stages of growth for a family business:

  1. Entrepreneurship. This is the stage of early innovations, niche formation, and creativity. Long hours, endless enthusiasm, and determination make for a dynamic environment.
  2. Ownership. There is a need for stability and security to nurture the family. During this stage, the family business structure becomes more formalized and institutionalized.
  3. Stewardship. This offers the family business the opportunity to give something back to the community. At this point, employees and family members, especially those in line to take over the business, feel an intrinsic commitment to the success and reputation of the firm. Stewards of the family business nurture it so it endures and grows, and know enough about the company and its strategies to make good decisions.

Entrepreneurs who start a family business want and expect their business to reach the ownership stage. It’s a sign of success and accomplishment. But as the business grows, it’s beneficial to look forward and reach for the stewardship stage as well. Why?

Family-owned firms are influential in the community. How the family manages its wealth and influence can have a major impact on society. You must go beyond simple economic theory to understand this influence. The values of the family and the culture of the family business can have a tremendous social impact, not only on the quality of commerce but on the community as a whole.

Also, when family members and employees are motivated from the inside out to see the business succeed, they are happier workers. Happier workers are more productive workers. It benefits the business to employ persons who are invested in the company personally.

A sense of stewardship is also necessary when planning for succession in the family business. Succession planning typically focusing on selecting good management, but the development of strong owners is critical. Without a culture of stewardship, good management can be sabotaged by entitled owners. Entitlement leads to passiveness about how the company is run and managed and an unwillingness to reinvest in new initiatives.

Through successful stewardship, your family business can build a strong legacy. So how can you foster stewardship in your family business? Here are some ideas:

  • Set the course. Make sure everyone involved knows their purpose and their part in the business achieving success.

  • Create a collectivist culture. Ideas are welcome. Teamwork is a must. No one is in this alone. Encourage constructive criticism.

  • Insist on clarity, transparency, and consistency. Model these qualities for your family and employees.

  • Focus on both short-term and long-term success. Show the need for consistency between short-term actions and long-term goals.

  • Build infrastructure for the future. This can include employee retirement plans or bonuses.

  • Give back to the community. Some family businesses start a charitable foundation. Others donate time or resources to help. Look for ways to give back.

Just as with legal and financial decisions, the emotional or psychological aspects of planning for the future of your business often requires the assistance of a professional. I have worked with many families in business as they grow and move into the stewardship stage. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach or take advantage of online therapy.


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