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Kathy Marshack News

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!

Expats – Be Prepared for Mental Health Challenges Abroad

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Along with joy relocating to a new country can bring frustration, anxiety, and depression, so prepare for these mental health challenges before you go.Have you decided to make a move abroad? Maybe you have accepted a job in another country or are moving to participate in volunteer work. An adventure like this is full of excitement and opportunity. But to be successful, you have to prepare yourself for the challenges that can come along with it.
 
Some of the challenges you may face as an expat include:

  • Living in a place where few people speak your language. To be constrained by language barriers is isolating. Even when you have some grasp of your new language, fluency takes time and the process can be frustrating.

  • Adjusting to a new environment. Your new area may not be as safe as your previous neighborhood, limiting mobility and walks alone. Or maybe your spouse is working, leaving you to fend for yourself during the day. Unfamiliar foods and lack of access to the comforts of home can cause stress.

  • Understanding and adapting to new cultures and customs. Learning what is proper and acceptable in another country can be a long process. When you aren’t familiar with local customs it can lead to frustration and embarrassment. 

  • Being separated from family and friends. If you want to grab lunch with your mom or a friend they are all back in your native country, and phone calls can be expensive! It can also be upsetting if you have to miss important life events, milestones or beloved holidays.

This combination can lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. In fact, expats experience a significantly higher risk for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse problems than their domestic counterparts. This was highlighted in a recent study that showed that expats are at a higher risk for mental health problems.
 
These feelings can quickly derail what should be an exciting, engaging, and interesting chapter of your life. They can lead to poor job performance, marital problems, and physical health issues.
 
What can you do before embarking on your journey to prepare yourself for these challenges? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Identify both the strengths and weakness that change brings out in you. This awareness will help you maximize your strengths and not be blindsided by your weaknesses.

  • Let go of the idea that life has to be a certain way. View change, big and small, as an opportunity to grow. 

  • Do research. Find out as much as you can about the country, city, and neighborhood as you can before you move. If possible, visit before your move so you have some idea of what to expect. Talk to people who have made the same move or a similar one.

  • Learn some basic phrases in the new language. Having a greeting and some basic sentences you’ll need on a regular basis memorized before you go will help you feel more comfortable in your new environment. It will also make it easier to pick up the language.

  • Plan ahead to see family and friends. Plan a definite time to come back to your home country for a visit or have loved ones come visit you. Schedule phone calls and video chat sessions. 

  • Find a therapist. You may come to realize that you could really use the help of a therapist to navigate your transition to a new life in a new country. 

On the point of finding a therapist, how you do you find one in a new country? It can definitely be a challenge. Depending on where you are going, there may not be that many qualified therapists in your area. The local therapists may not speak your language. And in a small community, the local therapist could be someone you interact with in other circles. It can be uncomfortable to open up to someone who has connections to your outside life.
 
What if you could have a qualified therapist who speaks your language, and who is available at the touch of a button? I offer a service that provides exactly that! My Remote Counselling Services for Expats utilizes a HIPPA compliant, online video program to connect us, no matter where you are in the world via video conferences, I can help you navigate the unique situations that you face and find a healthy way to cope with your new challenges. Please take advantage of this unique service so you can get the most of your international experience and your life!

Struggling as an Entrepreneurial Couple? The Key to Lasting Change May Surprise You

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Woman holding signRunning a business with your spouse can be very rewarding. However, entrepreneurs deal with a unique set of challenges, and entrepreneurial couples experience these same challenges two-fold! Add to this the complications that come with marriage, owning a home, and raising a family and it’s no wonder entrepreneurial couples can feel at times that the arrangement isn’t working.
 
When something in your business and/or marital life isn’t working, what is your first inclination?

 
The most common response to life’s struggles involves a mental process where we solely consider external or technical reasons for the problem. When you encounter an obstacle in your business or your marriage is your first reaction to find an outside source for the problem?
 
Rather than being quick to look to external forces that are holding you back, could you look internally?
 
When working through obstacles in life, I encourage you to question every aspect of your approach to your business and relationship, including your methods, biases, and assumptions. This kind of rigorous self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and goals, and work up the courage to act and make a change.
 
I’ve noticed that when people face a crisis or even just an ordinary problem, they are tempted to try a somewhat simplistic change. They change spouses, buy a new house, and so on. These simple changes are supposed to make them feel better. And sometimes they do for a little while. But in the long run, the new spouse presents problems remarkably similar to those of the previous spouse and the new house is still not big enough.
 
Rather than waste your time with pointless changes, put in the time and hard work to change yourself from the inside out.
 
Look deep and determine your personal definition of real success. What exactly are you looking for in life, business, and your marriage? Do your goals for your business truly align with your personal definition of success? Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has both! Realizing who you really are will help you determine the best path to take and changes to make.
 
But what if you are dealing with a spouse who is dealing with a problem like addiction? Aren’t they the ones that need to change?
 
The love you have for them may move you try to fix them, change their attitude and behavior. Understand that their life is not for you to manage. You can’t change them. For real change to come, they have to decide for themselves to get help and move forward.
 
I worked with a woman who was married to and ran a business with an addict. She spent years trying to change him, to no avail. Eventually she realized that the only person she could change was herself. She courageously tackled the task of working on herself and cleaning up her own bad habits, misunderstandings and superstitions. She began to recognize many dormant strengths that had been overshadowed by her need to protect and control her husband. This led her to explore new directions in life and business that better fit her personality.
 
When you look inside yourself, you take back your power.
 
You restore your independence as a person and as a successful entrepreneur. By focusing on changing yourself first, you expand your consciousness and gain self-awareness. You become more skilled at resolving immediate problems, correcting past mistakes, and moving ahead with the new opportunities. This approach also enables you to encourage the development of your spouse, partner, employees, and children, which benefits you, too.
 
Changing from a problem-solving mode into self-awareness mode may be difficult, especially for busy entrepreneurial couples. I’m here to help. Please feel free to contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere, consider remote education for entrepreneurial couples.

Why Expatriates Can Benefit from Remote Counseling

Monday, April 17, 2017


Woman smiling and looking at computer screenAre you an expat? Are you living and/or working in a country other than your native one? Your reasons for moving abroad may have included secular work, volunteer work, retirement, or a quest to immerse yourself in a new culture for an extended period of time. It is an amazing privilege and experience to live in a new place and learn new things.

To be a successful expat, you know that you cannot simply recreate your old home and environment. So you’re probably working hard to learn the language. Maybe you’re experimenting with new ingredients and cooking techniques. You’re finding your new favorite market, coffee shop, breakfast nook, and bookstore. And you’re getting to know your new community and seek to become a contributing part of it.

These exciting changes and adjustments, though, are part of why some expats struggle emotionally. Take, for instance, suddenly living in an environment where few people speak your language. The people at work may speak it, but those in the community, on public transportation, at the market, and behind the counter at a restaurant may not. To be constrained by language barriers is isolating. Even when you have some grasp of your new language, fluency takes time and the process can be frustrating.

As an expat, you also have to adjust to your new environment. Your new area may not be as safe as your previous neighborhood, limiting mobility and walks alone. Or maybe your spouse is working, leaving you to fend for yourself during the day. And if you do want to grab lunch with a friend while your spouse is at work? They are all back in your native country, and phone calls can be expensive!

This can all lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, or depression. You realize that you could really use the help of a therapist to navigate your transition to a new life in a new country. But how do you find a therapist when you live abroad?

It can be a challenge. There may not be that many qualified therapists in your area. And finding them isn’t always easy. When you do find a good therapist, they may not speak your language. If you are living in a small community, there is also a chance you know the therapist. It can be uncomfortable to open up to someone who has connections to your outside life.

What is an expat to do? To fill this void in mental health care, I am starting a new service designed specifically for expatriates. Remote Counselling Services for Expats utilizes a HIPPA compliant, online video program to connect us, no matter where you are in the world. Via video conferences, I can help you navigate the unique situations that you face.

I have over thirty years of counseling experience, and I am so excited to offer my services to those living abroad! If you are an expatriate and are experiencing trouble adjusting to your new life, please take advantage of this unique, new service so you can get the most of your international experience and your life!

Psychotherapists and Professionals – A New Meetup that Helps You Serve Families with ASD

Monday, January 09, 2017


Asperger Syndrome: Continuing Education for Psychotherapists is a new Meetup for professionals who serve NT’s in families with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Have you ever Googled, “How to help families with Autism”? If you do, you’ll find that much of the information is about helping the autistic individual NOT the family members who are not on the spectrum. It’s wonderful that we help the ones with ASD. However the caregivers and other family members shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s taking a huge toll on them, too.

Dealing with a child or adult who has Autism Spectrum Disorder is exhausting work. The caregiver’s emotional, mental, and physical health suffers.


When it’s a child who has autism, every aspect of family life is affected - sleep, meals, toileting, play, travel, education, and work. This creates a multitude of interrelated problems, such as overwhelming schedules and parental conflict because of grief and confusion.

When it’s a spouse who has Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism, it’s devastating in so many other ways. Not only is the NT parenting the children, he or she is also “parenting” the Asperger spouse. Without the emotional connection and support of the spouse, this NT marriage mate feels so terribly alone.

Let’s give NT’s the support they need. It’s so important for psychotherapists and other professionals to hone their skills, so they can truly understand and support NT (neuro-typical) family members. Therefore, I’m eager to announce my new Meetup for professionals who want to do greater work in this field.

Please help me get the word out! The new Meetup is called Asperger Syndrome: Continuing Education for Psychotherapists. It’s for professionals who serve NT’s in families with Adults with ASD. Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, MFTs, psychiatric nurses and other professionals who are consulting to caregivers, family and friends of those on the Autism Spectrum will get the guidance needed to reach this important part of the Autism System. Also if you’re coaching autistics, this group will provide a much better understanding of the thinking of those with ASD.

Please click here to join this worldwide group. To find out more, your first meeting is free. If you decide to take advantage of monthly consultation, there is a fee. This is your chance to work directly with me no matter where you live and gather continuing education credits from an internationally well-known expert in the field. I’ll be offering video and teleconferences that discuss timely topics. I’ll alert you when we schedule our first meeting. I’ll be looking for you on the inside!

Online Education is Ideal for Helping Your Family Business Thrive

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


online education is ideal for helping your family business thrive"How can I help my Dad? Dad and his brother run the family business that they inherited from their father, except my Dad does all of the work. Dad is stressed all of the time but doesn't want to disrupt the family. I'd like to come to work for my Dad but I don't want to be part of carrying my lazy uncle. What should I do?"

This was the first problem ever presented to me when I hosted a private Internet Chat for members of a family firm years ago. We "chatted" for about an hour, via our computers and covered a lot of territory. Even though the young man on the East Coast, he was able to get expert advice on the precise subject he needed help with because he was comfortable searching the Internet. And by the tone of his messages, he was pleased by the end of our hour to have a plan of action to present to his father.

This son didn’t feel comfortable calling his father's accountant or attorney to talk over the problem. Nor did he feel brave enough to confront his uncle or even his father on such a touchy subject. He could have hired his own local consultant or psychologist, but it might have been difficult finding an expert on families in business. But from the comfort and privacy of his home, he surfed the web until he found just what he needed. In this case it was a psychologist whose specialty is helping families in business solve those sticky problems that cross over from loving relationships into the business marketplace.

Technological advances continue to make online education advantageous for all business owners, but especially family business members. Online education is tailor made for travelers and those who work odd hours. You can get on line anywhere, anytime. The convenience means that you’ll probably take advantage of the service more often and get to the bottom of the problem faster. Online education is attractive to those who are too embarrassed to bring a problem up fact-to-face.

Over the years, I’ve encouraged my clients to educate themselves about life's problems by reading books and articles. Now in addition to some excellent books, I recommend highly regarded websites. Ignorance about life slows you down. Educating yourself helps reduce your fears and defensiveness. With knowledge comes confidence and with confidence comes creativity and with creativity, options and solutions start to materialize. And the convenience of online education shortens your problem solving time tremendously.

Of course there are downsides to this form of consultation too.
How do you know who you can trust? Is your e-mail or chat confidential? In addition to a wealth of helpful advice, there is a wealth of garbage and damaging material on the Internet. The surfer does have to beware. You can't assume because someone has a website that they are honorable, legal, credentialed, caring or experienced. However, if you use the same common sense you use in business to size up any person or situation, I think you can sort the wheat from the chaff.

If you have a family business and you’re wondering how to address a situation that’s impacting your business and your family please take a look at my Family Business column for some answers. If you could use some advice simply sign-up for a Remote Education session with me and get your work/home life questions answered.


Learn Six Valuable Lessons from Successful Family Businesses

Monday, September 28, 2015


learn six lessons from successful family businessesOne of the best ways to learn is by watching what other people do to succeed. While your individual situation may differ, you can watch other family businesses and glean valuable insights into how they make a success of it.

I found a nice resource in the six videos in a recent New York Times article that highlight the ups and downs of family businesses. I enjoyed the videos stories that small business writer, Stacy Cowley, collected. Through these real life stories she gleaned six important lessons that every entrepreneurial family can learn from...

A great support team is vital to the leader’s success. Watch a story about a bow tie business started by a nine-year-old boy, and how his mom and extended family members support him.

Don’t wait to the last minute to train the next generation, rather integrate a succession plan gradually so everyone feels comfortable in their new role. Watch a story about how a fifth-generation brewery owner helped his four daughters fit into the business.

You don’t need to know everything before you start your business. Watch the story of an immigrant who saw an opportunity, seized it, and has grown it into a family business.

Because of the family connection, family members often work harder to make your business succeed. Watch two brothers who fought as children grow into a close-knit business venture.

Families should consider what’s in the long-term best interest for the business. Watch the story of how loyal customers and employees brought a man back to his CEO position even when it was a cousin who ousted him.

Entrepreneurial families should enjoy the business and have fun. Watch the story of a woodworking craftsman as he shares his passion and business philosophy with his son.

Click here to access the videos.

Are you thinking of starting a family business and want to get it off on the right foot? Or do you see areas that could use improvement before real problems break out? Consulting a business coach has helped many to open up a dialog among the family members that creates a better work environment. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. If you live elsewhere, please take advantage of my Remote Education for Entrepreneurial Couples and Families. Learn more by clicking here.
 

Big Announcement! Video Conferences for Partners & Family of Adults with ASD

Monday, June 01, 2015


Dr Kathy MarshackYou may have noticed that there isn’t a Portland Asperger Meetup scheduled for June (There is going to be a teleconference.) and you may be wondering why.


 Well, I’ve got great news! Our international teleconferences have gone so well, I’ve decided to provide monthly video calls too.

We’ll cover similar topics, but you’ll have the chance to interact more with each other, "face to face," because I’m limiting the participants to 10. Only our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD members may attend these video calls so you’ll be able to speak freely, knowing you’ll receive understanding and support. These video conferences are totally confidential too, as I use a HIPAA compliant software (not Skype).

Instructions on how to sign up and attend will be posted at our Meetup site. However, it's pretty simple. If you have a computer and Internet access, you can participate. Plus my assistant is available to answer technical questions.

The fee for the video conferences is very affordable, since I’m giving a special discount for our members only. It’s a small fraction of my usual fee of $75 per 20-minute video call. This fee is collected to help partially defray the costs. Because I’m busy developing this new service over the summer I won't host any Portland, face-to-face Meetups. However, we’ll continue the international conference calls during the summer. Just check the schedule for date, time and topic.

I hope you’re as excited as I am about the new program. Come over to my Facebook page and let me know if you’re interested. I’m anxious to hear what you think.

Not a member of our Meetup yet? If you’re a Neuro-typical person who has a family member with ASD and you’d like support in coping and improving your situation, then you qualify to join our meetup. Click here to learn how to join for free.

Do you have something you need to talk with me about personally? If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can find a solution to your problem. If you live out of the area you can take advantage of remote education – learn more here.

Do You Feel Oppressed in Your Asperger Relationship?

Monday, May 11, 2015


"de Oppresso Liber." This motto comes from the elite US Army special forces unit, the Green Beret. It means Free the Oppressed or Freedom from Oppression. I think it could also be the motto for our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group.

Meetup after Meetup I hear our members comment how relieved they are to find us and to know they are not alone. I’ve also received dozens of grateful emails from people who have read my two books, stating that they had no idea anyone understood the oppression they live with.

This group is not about complaining, but about setting ourselves free. It's about acknowledging that we have become tangled in the web of Aspie reasoning. . .so tangled that we have become sick, drained, confused, depressed, lost, enraged, you name it. After acknowledging the truth about what we have become and why, the next step is to free ourselves.

In addition to the Portland location, members are setting up local groups around the country. If you’re a Meetup member and want to start a group in your own location, let me know and I can post it to the Meetup calendar. As of now, there are Meetups in the SF Bay Area and Virginia. The best thing to do is to join the Meetup group so you can find out if there’s one near you plus, it gives you access to the teleconference. You can enjoy that from anywhere on the globe.

A number of the members have spoken about not having a safe, undisturbed place to listen at the time of the live call. Did you realize that there are recorded episodes that you can listen and learn from too?

The next local Meetup in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group is on Saturday, May 16th at 1:00pm. Or you can catch the same topic on the international teleconference on Friday, May 22nd at 2:30pm. Let's meet to discuss the steps you’re taking to win back your life.
De Oppresso Liber!

Can Spiritual Support Help You Cope with Asperger Relationships?

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


spiritual support is essential to maintain hope in your asperger relationshipsWhen caring for someone with Asperger’s, do you put self-care at the top of your list? People who travel by air are instructed, “In case of an emergency, put the air mask on yourself first and then your children or others.” Only in caring for yourself first can you truly care for others. Otherwise you have nothing left to give. Families with member who have Asperger’s Syndrome especially need to attend to and take care of their whole person. That means caring for your whole being - your mind, body and spirit.

Does this mean you need to be religious?

Spirit or spirituality is not synonymous with religion or religious. Church has nothing to do with spirituality directly. Rather the spirit is that part of each human that makes us a distinctive personality. It is the part of us that defines us and yet connects us to others. It has long been known that a strong healthy spirit will guide us successfully through adversity, whereas a conquered spirit will succumb to illness and death. It was Mother Theresa's strong spirit that transcended her small stature and seemingly insignificant role as a nun to profoundly affect thousands of people for the better. In other words, spirit is that singular life force that directs and shapes our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. Therefore, keeping spirit or life force healthy is essential to the process of achieving healthy balance in any life.

Does spiritual practice and spiritual guidance help in your life with Asperger’s Syndrome?

Many of our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD members post that their church and/or spiritual discipline helps them stay strong and loving. But not all are finding comfort from their religious organizations. In fact, some report the opposite. . .that they feel even more alone. We don't need platitudes. We need unconditional love and support for this life.

Join our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD local Meetup on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 1:00pm PST or our international teleconference Meetup on Friday, February 27, 2015 at 2:30pm PST. We’ll discuss this topic: SPIRITUAL SUPPORT: Does It Help? Let's meet to discuss what works for you whether it is a formal religion, another form of spiritual discipline, or even atheism. What really matters is that we connect and know that we are not alone. . . In the material world or beyond.

Read more on my website: Asperger Syndrome Support and Asperger Relationships Remote Education.



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