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Kathy Marshack News

What Do You Need to Leave Behind in Order to Pursue Your Passion?

Thursday, December 31, 2015


pursue your passionAre you passionate about the life you live? When you think of people who follow their passion who comes to your mind? Perhaps a great humanitarian like Mother Theresa, Jimmy Carter or Mahatma Ghandi? Or maybe you think of those who sacrifice for their art?

A recent Op-Ed article in The New York Times discusses Lady Gaga and how, when she remembered her childhood dreams said, “I suppose that I didn’t know what I would become, but I always wanted to be extremely brave and I wanted to be a constant reminder to the universe of what passion looks like. What it sounds like. What it feels like.”

Passion causes you to search out that which makes you feel complete. In the process, people may leave their former lives, homes, jobs, spouses, and families behind in their search for their true self. But is that necessary or even advantageous in order to lead a passionate life?

The article mentions a few underlying feelings that cause people to begin a search for their passion:

Trying to heal emotional and mental wounds
Needing to create something unique
Wanting to make a mark on the world
Fantasizing about the “perfect” life
Having an unquenchable thirst for new and novel experiences
Focusing on their inner nature and not feeling fulfilled
Feeling extreme loneliness

So when it comes to pursuing your passion your motives matter. When the focus is solely on self it doesn’t lead a person to feeling fulfilled and satisfied. To be happy, in addition to being passionate, you need to learn how to communicate your needs and wants while helping and giving to others. Achieving that balance is what makes our lives complete. “No man is an island” – we need to give love and be loved to feel whole.

You may love to sing but will never be a professional singer. You may love to help people but you’ll never be recognized as a humanitarian. You can still pursue your passion. Whatever your profession or role in life – you can become passionate about your life if you focus on learning how to do it to the very best of your ability, in your unique style. This will bring you the validation, praise, respect, honor and love you desire.

So instead of changing your external circumstances you may need to leave behind beliefs, feeling and thoughts that no long serve you. If you want to add more passion to your life or career and need help examining your motives and your options please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

5 Ways to Recharge Even If You Can’t Take a Long Vacation

Monday, October 12, 2015


5 ways to refresh yourself without taking a long vacationHasn’t summer flown by? Have you been able to make some down time to enjoy it? I was able to get out of the office for a couple of weeks and it made me feel recharged and invigorated to get going again.

Even if you can’t take weeks off or get out of town, what are some simple ways to reinvigorate yourself?

Disconnect from technology.
Even if you have to check in now and then, don’t start your morning by checking emails. That can ruin your day. And rather than spending time surfing the net, watching TV, or texting, it’s so much healthier for us physically and mentally to get outside into the fresh air and sunshine and enjoy the company of friends and family in person.

Disconnect from work.
You may not be going to the office today, but is your mind worrying about a business matter? We all need to take a complete break from our work routine so we can refresh ourselves.

Connect with what makes you feel good.
Have you fallen into a rut of routines and habits? Are they making you feel good about yourself and your life? Maybe you work at home and it’s tempting to spend all day in your PJ’s and just grab whatever food is handy. I guarantee you’ll feel and act more confidently if you honor yourself by eating a nourishing meal and wearing your best clothes.

Connect with people you admire and love.
How long has it been since you’ve had a really in depth conversation with a loved one? When we have these real conversations they refresh us and help us to grow.

Connect with what makes you joyful.
When was the last time you gave yourself the gift of doing what bring you joy, like singing, dancing, hiking, or a hobby? We all need to pay attention to what makes us feel vibrantly alive.

If you’re not living the life that you want, and you don’t know how to break out of whatever is holding you back, talking with a mental health professional may be exactly what you need. Just as we need yearly physicals to remaining optimally healthy, regular mental checkups are helpful too. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Mind and Body Health.

Happify – An App to Retrain Your Brain to be Happy

Thursday, August 20, 2015


phone app happify retrains your brain to be happyDo you wish there was a way to uplift your mood at the touch of a button? Well, there’s an App called Happify that is designed to do just that. Have you heard about it? It's designed by neuroscientists and psychologists like John Gottman. They claim it retrains the brain to shut off negative thoughts and reduce stress.

According to their website, “Happify has turned a decade’s worth of research into a series of activities and games that train your brain and build skills for lasting happiness. The program is designed to train people to disrupt patterns of negative thinking, manage stress and build skills to overcome life challenges.” Co-Founder & President of Happify, Ofer Leidner, got his idea from the book “Flourish” by Martin Seligman.

Once you start, you’ll answer a few thought-provoking questions about things such as your gender, age, work and relationship status, children, creativity, boredom, resiliency, and how comfortable you are with sharing your feelings. Then you sign up through your Facebook account or you can create an account with your email address. Then it reveals the recommended tracks you can follow based on the answers you provided. Leading experts in the science of happiness helped them create these specialized tracks.

If you try it, come over to my Facebook page and let me know what you think of it. I'd really like to know if it works for you.


Read more on my website: Article on Happiness.

10 Surprising Signs You May Need To See a Therapist

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


signs you may need therapy“I don’t need a therapist. I’m not crazy!” Have you ever hear someone say that? I’ve heard it many times. Often from people who are, for the most part, mentally sound and on the surface appear happy. But after conversing with them, I find that many of them want their lives to be better in one area or another. That’s a natural desire.

Did you realize that we turn to our friends and loved ones for therapy daily? Think about the last time you were really worried…didn’t you feel so much better after talking with a trusted friend? Or when you suffered a severe loss, like the death of a loved one. Didn’t their loving embraces, shared tears, and gentle words soothe you?

The difference between that kind of care and professional therapy is that psychologists and mental health professionals:

  • Can be more objective, since they see all sides of the story.
  • Have the freedom to tell you the truth, since they’re not worried about hurting your feelings.
  • Have greater experience, since they deal with issues like yours every day.
  • Have more insight, since they’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work.
  • Have professional training to help you make permanent change.

If there is a difference between what you would like your life to be and how your life actually is, then why not fix it so you can enjoy happiness and contentment right now?

But, you might say, “I’m not that bad off.” On the contrary, your body may be telling you that’s not strictly true. Whenever we sense a lack in our lives, we’re likely to react with the following responses:

  • Dramatic mood shifts
  • Constant fatigue
  • A drastic change in eating habits
  • Persistent guilt feelings
  • Insomnia
  • Recurring, irrational sense of panic
  • Persistent, overwhelming feeling of doom
  • Constant headaches, rashes, or backaches
  • Relationship problems
  • Excessive drinking or drug abuse

Do they sound familiar? Would your close family members or friends recognize any of these symptoms in you? Why not ask them? You might be surprised at their observations. Life is too precious to waste time on feeling less than your best.

When your emotional problems occupy your thoughts several hours a day, you should consider seeking professional help. A mental health professional will help you explore and assess your options. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. Is it time to make some changes?

Learn more on my website: When to Seek Help and Therapy FAQs.

Should You Feel Guilty When You Get Angry at Someone You Love?

Friday, May 22, 2015


feeling guilty for being mad at each other“Urgggh! I can’t stand it when he does that…But he’s such a good guy…now I feel guilty for even thinking that way.” Love+Hate=Guilt. Doesn’t this describe the complex emotional problem that comes with some close relationships, whether it’s a parent-child relationship, marriage, or even best friends?

This kind of guilt, not being able to reconcile love and displeasure, is the natural byproducts of normal human development that hasn’t been allowed to progress to completion. Anger and love are healthy human emotions that emerge often in our daily lives. Learning methods to process these feelings constructively so that we can mature is the work of childhood. Guilt, on the other hand, is not a normal, nor healthy, human emotion (unless of course you have legitimately committed a serious offense).

To feel guilty for being angry at someone is a misunderstanding of the relationship. Nobody is perfect and so it’s likely that someone you love will do something that makes you mad, even if they don't mean to. You are under no obligation to stifle your anger or to feel guilty just because it’s a parent, husband, or life-long friend who has misbehaved.

Many people balk at the idea of blaming the other party. They feel guilty for being angry at the person they love and admire. They haven't learned how to reconcile those feelings of love and hate. They either feel guilty about their anger or more often they deny it altogether. Blame isn't really necessary, but holding others (even your parents) accountable for their mistakes is important. Just as you give others credit for their successes, it’s important to note the failures, the misunderstandings, and the faulty choices.

By holding others accountable you accomplish two important goals.

1. You’re actually treating the other person with respect. You are offering them the opportunity to correct their error. In other words, you are treating them as if they are capable. By stuffing your anger, you feel helpless and like a victim with nowhere to go with these feelings except to build up resentment (i.e. Love/Hate).

2. By holding others accountable, you’re able to view your own flaws more objectively. Not only can you learn from your mistakes but from theirs as well.

Many have found that talking with an objective professional helps to sort out feelings such as these. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Two Keys to Unlocking More Romance in Your NT-AS Marriage

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


helping your asperger husband be more romanticLove and romance are basic human needs yet they are so very complex. Movies, TV and books raise our expectations to “happy ever after”. But no relationship thrives without both parties working at it. Especially is this so when one partner has Asperger Syndrome.

Recently, I wrote an article for PsychCentral that discussed the challenges that NT-AS partners face and what can be done to create a greater sense of connection. (NT refers to the partner without Asperger’s Syndrome. It stands for neurotypical.) Let me share some highlights…

Firstly, it’s important to remember that Aspies do love. They just love in a different way. What are some things you can do to increase romance in your AS-NT marriage?

1. Non-Aspie partners – don’t take your Aspie partner’s actions (or lack of actions) as a slight or personal affront. See it as an area for further communication. Not being romantic isn’t a hurtful decision they make. When the neurotypical more accurately understands the actions, or inactions, of their Aspie loved one, feelings get hurt less often.

2. Help your Aspie create his/her own rules of engagement in order to act in ways that really matter to you. This personalized list tells the Aspie what to do and when – without them needing to understand the incomprehensible “why.”

Does this really work? One Aspie husband explained it to me like this, “I just can’t say or do the first thing that pops into my mind. It might be all wrong. It’s like I need a ‘politeness checker’ running in the back of my mind to remind me to be a gentleman.” This marriage was strengthened when he and his wife wrote down rules about appropriate engagement in a notebook. He keeps it with him and refers to it frequently for guidance. Without that tool, he says he’d be lost.

Aspies may not understand why something is important to their loved one, but learning to make the effort, the gesture, represents good intention and love, just a different kind.

If you want to make sure your ASP/NT marriage fills the needs of each spouse, you have to frankly talk about what those needs are. Many have found that consulting with a mental health care professional can facilitate this conversation. Are you ready to take that step? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. Even if your Aspie mate doesn’t want to come with you, we can still find ways to improve your situation.

Does Your Gut Health Really Affect Your Mental Health?

Thursday, April 23, 2015


good gut health promotes good mental healthYou’ve heard the expression “it’s a gut-feeling.” Is it merely a coincidence that the gut has been associated with our feelings and our mental health?? Science is revealing some fascinating insights into this question.

Scientific American reports that when a person’s digestion is impaired or leaky gut is present, the symptoms of depression worsen. This may be due to increased autoimmune responses and inflammation. A more recent article explores the connections between gut health and autism.

A NPR story about Dr Emeran Mayer, a profession of medicine and psychiatry at U.C.L.A. reports that gut bacteria influences our minds. He’s researching MRI scans to see how the brain structure compares to the type of bacteria found in the gut. He’s already found some interesting connections. This same story talks about a study on mice and how their brain chemistry and behavior changed when gut microbes were introduced.

Nature reported on a study that found that feeding mice the bacterium Bacteroides fragilis can reverse autism-like symptoms. They found that mice born by caesarean section had significantly more symptoms of depression since they didn’t pick up their mother’s microbes, which they would have done during a vaginal birth.

A recent Huffington Post article reports that treating participants with probiotics lessens negative thinking and depression.

Will all of these findings translate into real treatments for humans? Time will tell. I find these studies fascinating because of their impact on the world of Autistics. They often suffer from gut problems and learning new treatments for them is always exciting.

Improving a person’s physical health will improve their mental health. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and would like assistance in reaching your optimal physical and mental health through holistic methods, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

The Search for Happiness Begins with You

Friday, March 20, 2015


happiness begins with youAre you a happy person by nature? The real answer may surprise you. Your general disposition may tend toward happiness, yet science is discovering that people aren’t hardwired to be happy or not.

This is just one fascination fact you’ll learn from WebMD’s Happiness Quiz. Here are some other things you’ll learn:

  • What’s the happiest country in the world based on life satisfaction and work-life balance? (Hint: It’s not the U.S.)
  • Which has more power – negative or positive emotions?
  • What personality traits contribute toward more happiness?
  • What age group is the happiest?
  • What brain chemicals affect your happiness level and how do you activate them?
  • Should you always keep a stiff upper lip in order to become a happy person?
  • Which creates longer lasting happiness – pleasure or gratitude?
  • Is your health and happiness affected by the movies you watch?

I encourage you to have some fun today and take this quiz. If you want more information on happiness, I’ve compiled a list of some of my past articles for your convenience.

Happiness Is Up To YOU!
The Two Types of Happiness and How They Affect You
What 40 Years of Science Reveals About Happiness
In a Bad Mood? It Could Be Coming from Reading Social Media
If You Want to Be Happy Take a Risk
Are You Happy with the Money You Earn?
How to Be a Happier Person - Watch Less Television
How to Create an Inner Joy that Lasts Despite Upsetting Circumstances
Tips to Experiencing Happiness on a Daily Basis
Three Ways to Avoid Toxic Life Choices

Everyone wants happiness, yet it’s so elusive for many in the U.S. Here in Oregon and Washington, we have dreary, rainy days that contribute towards depression. Economic struggles, family strife, and other external factors add to unhappiness. Yet you can learn techniques to successfully deal with all of these challenges as you remain hopeful and positive. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. It’s time to feel happy again.

Take the WebMD Happiness Quiz. It will stretch your understanding of happiness. I didn’t even get 100%. When you’re done, come over to my Facebook page and tell us how you did.

How to Create an Inner Joy that Lasts Despite Upsetting Circumstances

Thursday, March 05, 2015


how to create an inner joy that lasts despite upsetting circumstances“He makes me so happy!” Or “She makes me soooo mad!”

Have you ever heard someone say something like that? Have you said it yourself? Of course, our emotions are affected by those around us. However, when you really think about this…can someone make you feel a certain way? If that’s the case, wouldn’t we in reality be saying we have little control over our emotions?

Wouldn’t it be better to create an inner joy, that no matter what’s happening around you, you could draw from this resource to maintain happiness and peace? Yet, many ask, “How can an inner joy like that be developed?

Let’s first answer the question: Is there any truth in the statement, “Fake it till you make it?” According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Simulation studies on emotion have shown that facial actions can initiate and modulate particular emotions.” What does that mean? Even if you don’t feel like smiling, when you paste a smile on your face and hold it, this will change the way that you’re feeling emotionally.

Their study also showed that specific areas of the brain were activated by facial manipulation – “the inferior parietal lobule, left supplementary motor area, superior parietal lobule, precuneus, and bilateral middle cingulum – which influenced the recognition of emotional facial expressions”. So yes, it’s true. Smile and you will become happier.

The same institution found that we are hardwired to respond to emotional cues from others. When we become aware of this, we can consciously choose how we’ll react to situations that we’re confronted with daily. At the same time, we become more aware of how our emotions affect others. In this way, we can intentionally create a positive shift in all of our relationships.

Are you ready to reclaim the power that inner joy can give you? A NET Practitioner can help you learn to control your responses to the emotional triggers in your life. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment today.

Read more on my website: What Is a NET Practitioner? and How Does Neuro Emotional Technique Work?

Unhappy Marriage? Research Shows It Can Literally Damage Your Heart

Friday, November 28, 2014


unhappy marriage can literally damage your heartLove and marriage makes for very complex relationships. They are not static, but are ever changing as each person matures and grows. Many marriages unhappily end in divorce. According to Oregon.Gov, there have already been 9,693 divorces in Oregon from January to September 2014. There were 25,395 recorded divorces in Washington for 2013.

A recent CNN article, written by Lisa Respers France, reports on an eye-opening study led by a Michigan State University sociologist. This study examined how the quality of a marriage relates to heart disease specifically. They focused on people with ages ranging from 57 to 85. They found that bad marriages causes stress that harms cardiovascular health and since the immune system declines with age, this becomes more critical, especially for women since they tend to internalize their feelings more than men.

A strong marriage requires constant and loving attention, which can be fun but is also hard work. This is because marriage changes as each partner grows and changes. For most people to be happy in their marriage they need to feel respected and cherished. For many, passion, trust, friendship and safety are other essential aspects of the relationship with their spouse.

Here are seven psychological tasks that must be cared for to maintain a happy and healthy relationship:

  • Build togetherness by creating the intimacy that supports it, while maintaining each partner’s autonomy.
  • Master the inevitable crises of life together.
  • Create a safe haven for the expression of differences.
  • Establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship.
  • Use laughter and humor to keep things in perspective, and to avoid boredom by sharing fun, interests and friends.
  • Provide nurturance and comfort for each other, satisfying each partner’s needs for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support.
  • Keep the romance alive while facing the sober realities of life.

There may be one or more of these tasks that you’re struggling with. A marriage counselor can help you develop the tools you need to cope and succeed. And don’t make the mistake of thinking marriage counseling is just for those starting out. As people get older, there are unique challenges you face. You may have grown apart and are not able to communicate as you once did. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment to create a happy and healthy life. You deserve it after all these years.

Learn more on my website: Marriage Counseling.




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