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Kathy Marshack News

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

Monday, October 10, 2011


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Cope with Grieving

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Research on How to Treat Autistic Children with ADHD

Thursday, September 29, 2011


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

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

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

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

Signs and Symptoms of Hoarding

Monday, September 26, 2011


Have you heard of hoarding? There has been a lot of attention surrounding hoarding recently with even television shows revolving around this disorder. What exactly is hoarding? Hoarding is when a person excessively collects items and is then unable to give these items up. This is not your average collector. A hoarder will put their home and even their own safety at risk for the sake of their possessions. Their home becomes cramped, unsanitary, and seemingly uninhabitable.


According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the signs and symptoms of hoarding:

  • Unable to discard items
  • Keeping stacks of newspapers, magazines or junk mail
  • Cluttered living space
  • Moving items from one pile to another, without throwing anything away
  • Acquiring unneeded or seemingly useless items like trash or napkins 
  • Difficulty organizing items
  • Procrastination and trouble making decisions
  • Strong attachment to possessions, including discomfort letting others touch or borrow possessions
  • Limited or no social interactions
  • Shame or embarrassment


A hoarder feels a sense of comfort and safety by hoarding. What is the reason for hoarding? There isn’t one specific reason. For some, hoarding is a side effect of OCD. For others, it can be an emotional response to a tragic event or upbringing, loss of a loved one, or genetics. Regardless of the reason, hoarding is dangerous. It can destroy relationships and cause serious health complications. If you or someone you love is a hoarder, seeking professional help is a necessary step in overcoming the disorder. Therapy is very beneficial because it can help to uncover the real reason why someone is hoarding. With intense treatment and a lot of hard work, a hoarder can learn to keep their hoarding tendencies in check. If you would like to set up an appointment to discuss these issues, contact my office in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, WA to setup an appointment.

Helping the Neuro-Typical Children of Aspie Parents

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Over the past few years, there has been increasing interest in learning more about adults with Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism. Asperger Syndrome has gone from being unknown to a term you can hear regularly on television. It has been exciting to see that awareness of this disorder is growing. However, there is still an area in the Asperger world that is a vast territory and largely uncharted. I am speaking of parenting and Asperger Syndrome.

I am starting to find more and more adult Neuro-Typicals who grew up with Asperger (Aspie) parents. This type of situation is unique to say the least. Feelings of neglect, depression, perfectionism, and low self-esteem are common for a child of an Asperger parent. Largely to blame for this is due to the lack of empathy and nurturing from the Asperger parent. NTs report that their Asperger Parents are difficult to connect with and hardly reciprocate love and emotion. Usually, the child ends up with severe resentment toward their Aspie parent.

Asperger parents do love their children. They just don't know how to parent effectively in many areas. If you are an NT who is parenting alongside an Aspie, then you have an uphill battle ahead you. The good news is that you can do it with the right tools. Finding a mental health care professional who specializes in Asperger Syndrome is key. You as well as your partner will need therapy. A specialist can help you see what you can do to help train your child to survive and grow in this unique home environment. Your child may also need therapy to help understand their parent and to build self-esteem and value in themselves.

I am in the process of writing a book entitled, "Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight." I hope to shed light on this lifestyle and give practical support to NT parents. Click here to download a free sample chapter. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA area and would like to set up an appointment to discuss your life with an Asperger family member, contact my office for an appointment.

Protect Your Health – Don't Be Afraid to Say "No"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Life is filled with stress. While a measure of stress can be healthy, uncontrolled stress can be dangerous. Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like your life is too hectic with no breathing room? If that is the major source of your stress, then you may be doing too much. When you find yourself in this situation, it is likely you have a hard time saying no. There is a preconceived idea that saying no is a bad thing. In reality, it is actually a good thing.


People tend to be afraid to say no because they think that they will appear to be selfish. They want to do everything and be all to everyone. By doing everything and running yourself ragged, you aren't really doing yourself or anyone else a favor. By spreading yourself too thin, you won't enjoy yourself or give anyone the quality time that is deserved. If you focus on spending quality time versus quantity, you will be much happier and your friends and family will appreciate that.

Being overwhelmed is also bad for your health. Stress can weaken your immune system which leaves you more susceptible to sickness. This is an important one to remember when it comes to saying yes to extra work projects. You may be concerned about job safety or pleasing your boss, but if you overwork yourself, you may likely find yourself sick and unable to accomplish anything. Look at saying no as an opportunity for someone to step up to say yes. It may be the opportunity that they need.


There is a fine line between saying no just because you don't want to or saying no because you need to. Ask yourself these questions when you are contemplating whether to say yes or no:

· What are my priorities in life?

· Will this invitation or opportunity further my priorities or take away from what is truly important?

· What would I say if guilt didn't exist?

· Can I still participate, but maybe in a simpler way?



You can also ask for advice from a trusted companion. Sometimes they can see things that you don't. It's also best to not make a decision when you are feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. Rest and then decide when you have a clear head.

Saying no is not always easy, but you will be happier and healthier in the long term in you say no every now and then. If you struggle with managing your stress, saying no, feeling guilt, or being perfectionist, you may want to seek help from a mental health care professional. For more information, visit Managing Stress or if you’re looking for a psychologist in Vancouver, Washington or Portland, Oregon contact my office to set up an appointment.

Are You a Neuro-Typical in an Asperger Relationship? You Are Not Alone!

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Loneliness is common for those who have an Asperger partner or family member. I am constantly reminding my clients who are in this position that they are not alone. Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD now has 298 members. Our members are from all over the world. I wanted to share a few thoughts from our overseas members to remind all of you that you are in fact NOT ALONE.

"Thank you for welcoming me in your group. My husband and I met met over 25 years ago and his defense all those years was blaming me for everything that went wrong in his or our life. It was an eye opener that he was diagnosed with Asperger's and now it is time to become ME again. The ME I was when I was just a teenager. I can't battle autism (and I am not in war with autism) but I refuse to let me be overruled by it."

"Hi Kathy, thanks for your welcome. Its a great relief finding this group. My husband is an aspie - nobody understood me. Being isolated and unbelieved made me feel crazy. Then one day I found your book and I realized "this is my story - this is my life."

I appreciate the personal thoughts and comments from our members. The topic for the next Meetup is "You are not alone. Let's play!" It will be held on September 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM in Portland, Oregon. It's time to reaffirm your friendships and reaffirm your right to be alive. We all deserve some time to have some fun! Are you a Neuro-Typical in an Asperger relationship? You are not alone – join us!

Click here for more information about the book, "Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?"

What Your Smile Says About You

Thursday, August 25, 2011


The smile has been studied and researched for years. It is one of the first things we notice about a person. A smile has the power to change how other people feel and has the power to change how we feel.

An interesting tidbit that I recently stumbled upon was a study performed last year by Wayne State University. By analyzing the span of baseball players smiles, they determined that those with a larger smile span actually lived longer. Hmmm...Good reason to smile! Of course, this isn't true in every instance, but it should make us think about what message we are sending out into the world.

When someone smiles, they are exhibiting positive emotions. Those positive emotions can affect the way a person acts and feels. Since the body and mind work so closely together, it is only natural that those positive feelings will affect the body in a positive way.

You can't fake a smile though. Well, you can, but it won't have the same affect. For a smile to have good results, it must be sincere. To tell if someone has a sincere smile, look for a wrinkling around the eye area. A genuine smile contracts a muscle called orbicularis oculi. Smiles are also contagious. If you take note to be happy, positive and smile, it is most likely that those around you will too.

Feelings of happiness and well-being are a choice. If you have not been smiling much lately, have you figured out why? By working with a qualified therapist, you will be able to identify what’s bothering you and take positive steps to ensure that you start smiling again.

The Negative Side Effect of Bitterness on Your Health

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The mind and body connection is very real and very powerful. Our emotions affect our bodies and can cause many physical health problems. Perhaps it’s not surprising that new research from Concordia University suggests that feelings of bitterness can have a negative impact on a person's physical health.

Researchers took note of the connection between failure and bitterness. According to psychologist Dr. Carsten Wrosch, "Persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person’s physical health. When harbored for a long time bitterness may forecast patterns of biological dysregulation (a physiological impairment that can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function) and physical disease." For more information on this research, read the article - Bitterness Can Make You Sick.

Bitterness can stem from a wide range of events in one's life. It could come from a failed marriage, being a victim of abuse, being laid off or fired, or parenting a disabled child. Whatever the reason may be, you could be left with feelings of bitterness. If that bitterness is left unresolved, you will begin to see the negative affects not only on your physical health, but your entire life. Therapy is a wonderful tool to help someone overcome feelings of failure and bitterness. It will require hard work and an honest assessment of one's self, but you can conquer those emotions. Beat it before it beats you!

For information about therapy, visit Therapy FAQ.

How to Pick a Therapist for Your Child

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Most parents would love to create an ideal world for their child to live in. But the reality is that more and more children are in need of mental health care. There are many reasons why a child might need therapy – divorce, abuse, loss of a loved one, learning disabilities, bullying just to name a few.

When a parent recognizes that their child needs help, the parent has two options. Sweep it under the rug like it doesn't exist or take action. The correct choice is option two. Many parents choose option one and live in denial which will only lead to more problems in the future. Because these issues will reappear – often later in life when it’s not only more difficult to address but more damage has been done. If your child needs help you may need to relinquish control and accept some professional help!

If you do decide to seek professional help for your child, then the next step is to find the right therapist for your child. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making that choice:

- Gather information. Take note of why you feel like your child needs help. What are his/her symptoms? How long have these symptoms been in existence? When gathering this information, talk to your child's teachers, school counselor, pediatrician, and any other caregiver who can give you insight into what is going on in your child's life. The more you know, the more you will be able to communicate to the professional you choose.

- Ask for referrals. The pediatrician, school counselor, or any other close friend/confidant might be able to point you in a good direction.

- Research licenses and credentials. Once you have list of therapists, research them. Make sure they are licensed to practice! I cannot stress that enough. There are people who call themselves child therapists without the proper credentials. So, do your homework before making an appointment.

- Approach and experience. Before sending your child off to therapy, find out the style and approach of the therapist. How long have they been working with children? What type of methodology do they use? What type of treatments do they offer? What do they specialize in? What is their availability? What can be expected relationship between parent and therapist?

- Insurance, price, & fees. Check with your insurance to see what options they provide for child therapy. When making an appointment with the therapist ask about prices, fees, payments plans, and cancellation policy.

- Communicate. It is very important for the parent to be involved with the therapist and the treatments. So work to build a good rapport and be available to assist them in any way necessary. Also, communicate with your child. Do they feel comfortable with the therapist? If you sense that the relationship is not working, then don't be afraid to make a change.

Taking care of your child's emotional needs are just as important as taking care of their physical needs. You are not a failure of parent if you enlist the help of a mental health care professional. It is actually a sign of true love and concern for the welfare of your child.

If you live in Vancouver, Washington or Portland, Oregon and are looking for a therapist to work with your child visit Therapy FAQ.


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