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Kathy Marshack News

Alternative Therapies for PTSD – Which Are Effective?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Alternative Therapies for PTSD – Which Are Effective?Do you remember when you first heard about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? It wasn’t formally recognized until 1980. That really wasn’t long ago, so therapies for treating PTSD are still in their infancy.

One traditional medical approach involves using medication and controlled re-experiencing of trauma, called exposure therapy. However, veterans aren’t finding this as helpful as hoped. Rehashing the event, without giving them coping skills, leaves them feeling helpless, which compounds the problem.

As a result, many alternative therapies are springing up. According to a recent New York Times article, some of them are: “therapeutic fishing, rafting and backpacking trips, horse riding, combat yoga, dogs, art collectives, dolphin swims, sweat lodge vision quests and parrot husbandry centers, among many, many others.”

Are these viable options or are they just ways to avoid the issue?

Some of these therapies challenge veterans to overcome fears and build new experiences that put traumatic memories into perspective, which can be helpful.

However, the overall effectiveness of alternative therapies is hard to assess, beyond anecdotal evidence. Yet I believe that a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Neuro-Emotional Technique, Yoga, meditation or pet therapy can help PTSD sufferers maintain lasting gains. I’ve seen it reduce PTSD symptoms of depression and anxiety without any side effects, plus there’s no stigma attached to it.

I’m by no means alone in believing this. For example, in 2006, Dr. van der Kolk published one of the first studies about the effects of yoga on PTSD. He said that even “after six months the positive effects of yoga are still there.”

If you are a veteran or are experiencing PTSD for another reason, you deserve these life-empowering skills. You don’t have to settle for feeling broken, helpless and hopeless for the rest of your life. With patience and the help of a professional, you can get your life back. Please contact a qualified health care specialist in your area as soon as possible to discuss your options. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can determine and get started on the best therapy for you.

Read more on my website: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Neuro-Emotional Technique Helps Our Aspies Connect the Dots

Monday, May 16, 2016


Since those with Aspergers struggle to explain what’s going on in their hearts and minds, use Neuro-Emotional Technique to remove the emotional road blocks.Sometimes talk therapy isn’t enough to help people remove emotional blocks. This is especially true for those challenged with Asperger’s Syndrome. But there are ways to help. Like hypnosis and other more holistic therapeutic approaches, NET allows people to bypass talk analysis and get to the heart of their problems without having to come up with a good explanation for the change. I’ve found this to be a less stressful treatment for people with Asperger’s Syndrome, since they struggle to explain what’s going on in their hearts and minds.

Recently I wrote an article for PsychCentral discussing this topic and shared an example of how NET helped one teenager, Austen, find the missing element he needed in order to do what his mother wanted him to do.

To summarize the story: His mother thought that withholding his precious laptop would force him to clean his bathroom. Austen admitted that the bathroom needed to be cleaned, but he could see no connection between getting his laptop back and cleaning his room. This confusion caused them to be at a stalemate. I encourage you to click here to read the entire PsychCentral article. (And while you’re there, will you share this information from your favorite social media platform, too?)


As a NET Practitioner, I was able to help Austen with Neuro-Emotional Technique. NET incorporates the concept of Applied Kinesiology, and the meridian system of Chinese medicine. Using acupressure points on the wrist and testing for congruence between mind and body, he was able to release his emotional blocks. It allows Austen to communicate with his unconscious through NET. Without empathy, Austen was stymied about how to accomplish something he was powerfully motivated to do. Once Austen and I had identified the missing piece, we could use the NET approach to integrate the elements he needed to clean the bathroom. I’m happy to report that Austen got his laptop back the next day.

Not only does NET help those with Asperger’s, it’s also a fabulous tool for helping people release unresolved emotional stress. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and want to discuss how NET may be able to help you, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Discover Neuro Emotional Technique to Make Emotional and Even Physical Healing Possible

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


Discover Neuro Emotional Technique to Make Emotional and Even Physical Healing PossibleIt’s said that we all carry scars – scars from past emotional and physical wounds that shape who we are today. How you remember a past, painful occurrence will determine your present ability to experience emotional health.

If you’ve properly processed the negative past and extinguished it, it won’t present itself as a problem for you now. Oftentimes, however, if the original conditioning event is not processed correctly, you’ll experience a physiological response each time you experience that event.

For example, physiologist Pavlov conditioned dogs to associate the sound of a bell with the sight and smell of meat. So each time the dogs heard the bell, they would salivate. They were conditioned to respond in that specific way because of their memory of what the bell represented.

When clients are asked to re-experience a past emotion, such as anger or fear, they’re being asked to go back and relive a memory. By reliving that memory, they produce a feeling. And that feeling can be used by a NET Practioner to help a client overcome a phobia, resolve life-altering stresses, and heal mental disorders.

Scientific research is connecting the dots between painful events, stress, and the physiological changes to the brain. As the Dec 2015 study “Could Stress Contribute to Pain-Related Fear in Chronic Pain” stated:

“A difference between acute and chronic stress is supported by data outside of the pain field: Early adversity as well as chronic stress has been linked to structural alterations in the brain causing a hyperactive amygdala and impaired prefrontal inhibition. These alterations could underlie the extinction impairments observed in several mental disorders, which is interesting in the context of chronic pain given the high comorbidity between chronic pain and affective disorders. Finally, effects of acute stress on pain-related memory retrieval may be fundamentally different in normals and patients with chronic pain. While stress-induced effects in normals are adaptive, they may be altered and in fact maladaptive and in patients with chronic pain. For example in patients with PTSD, cortisol enhanced rather than impaired memory retrieval.”

Paradoxically, we can use the power of past, negative events to help us heal our present. The job of a NET practitioner is to gently help a client go to that place of unresolved negativity so he or she can complete a process that allows them to move forward from that painful place.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. As a NET practitioner, I will help you remove the block, so your body can repair itself naturally.

Read more on my website: Releasing Unresolved Stress.

Feeling like a Hypochondriac? Don't Give Up Until You Get an Accurate Diagnosis

Monday, December 07, 2015


Feeling like a hypochondriac - don't give up until you get an accurate diagnosisDo you or a loved one feel like something isn't quite right with your health, but doctors haven't been able to diagnose anything wrong with you? Perhaps you feel like a hypochondriac for persisting in your search for answers. It's important that you don't quit searching, even if no one believes you yet. And when you get a diagnosis, it's good to ask for a second or third opinion. Why?

A recent NYTimes article highlights the need to have a complete health screen when seeking help for psychological problems. The wife of Actor Robin Williams reveals that unbeknownst to them, Mr. Williams didn’t just suffer from depression. He had a relatively unknown disease called Lewy body dementia where abnormal protein deposits are spread throughout the brain disrupt its normal functioning.

This disease is frequently confused with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, with its long list of symptoms like depression, anxiety, chronic sleep problems, stiffness, movement problems, fluctuations in thinking ability and persistent hallucinations that mimic schizophrenia. It estimated that about 1.4 million in the U.S., especially men, suffer from Lewy body dementia. And it often takes multiple visits and more than a year to diagnose it accurately. It progresses much more rapidly than Alzheimer's does. So it needs an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.

You are a whole person, not a head separated from your body. Diet, stress, environmental toxins, head injuries, and so much more, contribute to mental health issues. It's important that all of these factors be considered in your diagnosis and treatment. I’ve discovered that Neuro Emotional Technique is very successful at getting to the root of stress related illnesses. If you haven’t found a medical explanation yet for the way you feel, and would like to schedule an appointment with me, please contact my Portland OR/Vancouver, WA office.

Read more on my website: Mind and Body Health.

Could You Use Help Pinpointing the Source of Your Stress? Find Out How a NET Practitioner Can Help

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


NET practitioner can pinpoint the source of your stressNET stands for Neuro Emotional Technique. It involves treating behavioral and physical conditions through removing the neurological imbalances related to the physiology of unresolved stress. It treats the total mind/body connection.

We all experience unpleasant events, but most of the time we can resolve them and move on unaffected. However, when we experience stress that isn’t resolved, it creates a mind/body pattern that emerges again at a memory or a similar experience. This collective unresolved mind/body pattern is called NEC (the Neuro Emotional Complex). NEC is defined as “a subjective mal-adaptation syndrome adopted by the human organism in response to a real or perceived threat.”

Whether you remember the event accurately or not, your response is your emotional reality. Even if you only dream an unreal nightmare, you’re physiological response – racing heart and profuse sweating – are very real. Or say you were attacked by a dog in the past, every time you see a dog you relive the same response, such as rapid heartbeat, fear and loss of speech. NET helps you re-engage the physiological response and complete the unresolved mind/body pattern of stress and extinguish it.

A NET Practitioner also uses Manual Muscle Testing to pinpoint the physiological response to a stimulus. The NET Practitioner can then treat the disruption with a homeopathic remedy that uses the verified law of pharmacology –Law of Similars - or like cures like. For example, a large dose of ipecac will induce vomiting. However, minute particles in a homeopathic remedy will stop vomiting.

Here are two videos that explain in detail how NET works:

Background Concepts and Dynamics of NET

Two Minute Stress Relief Procedure Demo

Being a Level 2 Certified NET Practitioner allows me to pinpoint quickly and accurately the sources of emotional stress and the best way to resolve them. Are you suffering the effects of unresolved stress? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so you can enjoy life once again.

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?

Snoring, Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease – How Are They Connected?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


snoring sleep apnea heart disease insomniaDo you associate snoring with heart disease? Should you? A recent CNN article 

shows us why there is a very real link between snoring and serious health concerns such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Here are some highlights from the article…

What causes snoring? It occurs when something is obstructing the airway. Often it’s because the muscles in the roof of the mouth or the back of the throat relax and partially block the airflow. Some of the common factors are:

  • Sleeping on your back
  • Drinking alcohol before bedtime
  • Suffering from allergies or a cold
  • Being overweight
  • Having an enlarged uvula – the tissue hanging at the back of your mouth

Sleep apnea becomes a problem because you’re brain and heart aren’t getting enough oxygen to function properly. According to the article, between 5% and 15% of middle-aged adults probably suffer from sleep apnea. Apnea refers to episode where the signal is sent to the brain to force a gasp because the breathing has stopped. These on-off oxygen levels are causing stress and damage to your body cells. Your brain should be resting and restoring itself, instead it’s forced into high-alert because of the sleep apnea. This disrupts your deep sleep, causing exhaustion and a host of other health issues.

The good news is that sleep apnea is very treatable. Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or sleeping on your side, may be helpful. Another possibility is using a CPAP machine. You should discuss with your own doctor the best solution for you.

Sleep therapy can effectively help treat mood disorders, anxiety and depression. Do you want to explore positive and lasting ways to optimize your health? Have you been struggling with weight loss? Poor sleep patterns? Perhaps it’s time to get help from a NET practitioner who focuses on holistic health solutions. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

How Much Do You Know About Memory?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


how much do you know about memoryMemory is such an important part of our lives. It helps define who we are. It assists us in our relationships with others. And it definitely affects the decisions we make. So much of this is done without our even thinking about it. That is…until we start to lose our ability to remember. Then we wish we could do something to decrease memory loss. The good news is that there are things you can do to support your brain’s memory functions.

First, though, WebMD has a fun and interesting memory quiz to test how much you already know about how memory works and what affect our choices have on the quality of memory. You’ll learn the answers to the following questions:

Can sex trigger amnesia?
Does pregnancy cause “baby brain”?
How long do memory problems due to smoking marijuana last?
How does déjà vu work?
At what age do we start losing brain cells?
Why can you remember a song from your youth, but can’t remember someone’s name?
Why and how does – skipping breakfast, poor eyesight, working crosswords, drinking alcohol, taking statin drugs, antihistamines and sleeping pills – affect your memory?
Why does a sudden, high-stress event boost your memory?
Is the memory loss from perimenopause permanent?
Why does rest or sleep enhance memory?
What foods can boost memory?
Why do some diseases cause “brain fog”?

The function of the brain can be improved by holistic health choices that help you control memory-damaging stress, getting enough exercise, keeping your mind active and improving your concentration. A NET practitioner can help you not only protect your brain but even retrain your brain to cope with the brain fog caused by painful illnesses such as fibromyalgia. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more about memory on Psychology Today and PsychCentral.

Does Stress Make Your Allergies Worse?

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Allergy symptoms worsen with stressWhy is it that, while your allergies don’t normally hit you so hard, today of all days it’s much worse? Why does this have to happen right before your big presentation at work? Or the week of your wedding? Your eyes water uncontrollably, you sneeze and wheeze, and your skin rash itches like crazy. Are you just imagining it? Or could there be a correlation between stressful situations and increased allergies reactions? According to a recent study by Ohio State University researchers, stress can indeed be a factor in allergy flare-ups.

The author of the study, allergist Amber Patterson makes this interesting comment, “We know there's a connection between our neurology and our immunology. What we ultimately found is that some people with allergies have a more sensitive neuro-immunologic trigger.”

Knowing this connection, allergy sufferers can alleviate stress by:


A free resource you might want to try is WildDivine’s Schedule of Recent Experience. It’s a tool to help you understand how recent events in your life can be contributing toward your stress levels. Once you gain this awareness, you can take appropriate actions to solve the underlining stressors.

If you can’t get your allergies under control by yourself, consult a certified allergist and ask if stress is a contributing factor. He or she can recommend a trained psychologist who can help you manage that stress. Or you can contact my Portland, OR/Vancouver,WA office and schedule an appointment As a NET practitioner, my clients have found Neuro Emotional Technique and hypnosis to be very effective in treating allergic reactions due to stress.


Please join me on my Facebook page, (https://www.facebook.com/Kathy.Marshack.Ph.D) and share how stress has affected your allergies.

Learn more on my website – Managing Stress.

Sleep Therapy Can Help Treat Depression

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


sleep therapy can help treat depression“Get a good night’s sleep. Things will look better in the morning.” It’s cliché advice, however according to recent studies, sleep therapy can help treat depression. The New York Times article, Sleep Therapy Seen as an Aid for Depression, reports on studies that are utilizing a type of talk therapy for insomnia.

The research team at Ryerson University in Toronto found, “87 percent of patients who resolved their insomnia in four biweekly talk therapy sessions also saw their depression symptoms dissolve after eight weeks of treatment, either with an antidepressant drug or a placebo pill — almost twice the rate of those who could not shake their insomnia”. This agrees with a pilot sleep study conducted at Sanford.

Does it matter which comes first – depression or insomnia? Not really. The important point is that they both be addressed and treated at the same time. In this recent study this duo-treatment routine produced a full recovery for about 40 percent of patients.

Sleep therapy or cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) teaches people to establish and stick to a regular wake-up time, avoid daytime napping, and reserve bedtime only for sleeping, not watching TV snacking, reading and so on. Dr. Carney, lead author of the Ryerson report, said, “Curb this idea that sleeping requires effort, that it’s something you have to fix. That’s when people get in trouble, when they begin to think they have to do something to get to sleep.”

I’m thrilled that doctors are beginning to investigate the effects of treating sleep problems and mood disorders together. While this still isn’t a part of standard treatment, NET practitioners like myself have known for some time that the mind/body must be treated in a holistic manner. If you think insomnia is playing a role in your depression and you want to get to the root of your health problems, perhaps it’s time to look into cognitive behavior therapy. If you are looking for a holistic approach to your mental health issues and would like to see a NET Practitioner in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington, contact my office and set up an appointment.

Do you have questions about how therapy works? See my FAQ page for the answers.



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