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Kathy Marshack News

How Can You Tell if It’s Abuse or Asperger's?

Monday, November 27, 2017


As tough as it is to look at the issue of abuse, it’s important. We aren't helping our Aspies when we allow them to be abusive. Yes, they have sensory sensitivities. Yes, they lack empathy and miss important cues. Yes, they easily get confused and shut down or rage. But to allow the verbal abuse, or their self-abuse, is not OK.

The answer to the question, "Is it abuse or is it Asperger's?" is that it doesn't matter. Regardless of the source of the abuse, it has to cease immediately. That's always the first step.

The second, third and fourth steps require taking into consideration the source of the abuse and developing a treatment plan specific for the person. With Aspies it's a blend of anger management (or domestic violence treatment), and the kind of coaching that teaches them the Rules of Engagement.

For the NT, as you can imagine, the treatment involves a protection plan, plus psychotherapy to restore your confidence and teach you skills to cope with life better.

Like I said this is a tough subject but it's time to bring it up, isn't it? That’s why we’re talking about this at our next videoconference.

If you’re a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join our videoconference on Thursday, December 7th at 9:00 A.M. The topic: Is it abuse or is it Asperger’s? We’ll discuss how to assess the situation when the diagnosis alone doesn't help. In other words, let's find practical ways to communicate and problem solve with your Aspie, even if you have to make it up!
(If this time slot if full, I’m holding another one of December 20th.)

If you’re not a member and want to join here are the qualifications: you are a NT trying to deal with life with someone on the Autism Spectrum. That’s it. If that’s you, request an invite. It’s free to join the group and it has a lot of perks, like this low-cost video conference or free international teleconferences.

If you’d like to learn more of the science behind Asperger’s Syndrome, download a free chapter from my book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight. Or click the image below.

The #MeToo Movement and Why I Decided Never to Be Silenced

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Victims of sexually assault and harassment often suffer in silence, and since it’s the silence that kills one’s spirit, it’s time to speak up and fight backFor too long, women and men have suffered in silence as victims of sexual assault and harassment. As the recent stories about celebrities, such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Louis C.K. unfold, women and men are finally admitting “Me Too”.

Many people feel it began on October 15, 2017, when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted:

Me too.
Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

But the #MeToo movement didn't start this year. It started more than 10 years ago with activist Tarana Burke. However, the celebrity connection has caused a flood of women pouring out their stories of hurt, fear, and isolation on Twitter and Facebook.

We are victims no longer! We are telling our stories and enacting change.

For example, on November 15th, a bipartisan group of Senators and Congressional members introduce the 'METOO Congress Act' aimed at reforming how Congress handles sexual harassment.

I’m ready to tell my story now too.

Amid the flurry of these news stories, I was listening to an OPB newscast and heard a familiar name, Jim Jacks. He’d been forced to resign in 2011 for “inappropriate behavior” toward a young female staffer (verified this week by the Washington State Democratic House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan). Hearing his name made my stomach lurch.

No, I wasn’t sexually assaulted by him, but his unfounded actions forever changed my life.

In 2004, Jacks was part of a ring of three Vancouver government employees, who set out to destroy me with a defaming memo. His single untruthful memo set off a decade-plus witch hunt that cost me half a million dollars in legal fees; many emotionally frightening nights; and the loss of my children. Jim Jacks stole from me just as he stole peace of mind from his more recent victim. Not only is he guilty of defamation, he’s guilty of never giving me a chance to defend myself (just as many women suffer in silence about their sexual assaults).

It’s the silence that kills one’s spirit. As for me, I won’t be silenced anymore about Jacks or the rest of the scoundrels in Vancouver, Washington. Victims shouldn’t have to stand by watching their abusers and others cover up these injustices.

Throughout my lifetime, I’ve also encountered many males who have crossed the line into sexual harassment and they’ve left me speechless and afraid. I detail these experiences in my recent exposé in the US Observer.

My newest book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you,” is about people like Jim Jacks. If you’ve felt powerless in the face of abuse by someone with severe Empathy Dysfunction and are ready to take back your power, please grab a copy as soon as it’s available. To stay up-to-date on it’s release, please sign-up for my newsletter.)

If you need to talk with someone about how to standup for yourself, please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Entrepreneurship - Often the Perfect Solution for Gifted Adults

Monday, November 20, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivate Entrepreneurship in Your Gifted Child

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Do you have a gifted child? How can you tell if your child is gifted? Observe their behavior and consider these questions:

Is your child intense?

Is he/she a perfectionist?

Have teachers or school administrators identified your child as “gifted”?

Is your child an “underachiever”?

Is he/she rebellious?

Does your child show strong leadership skills?

 
Does your child tend to prefer adults or older children over same-age playmates?

Does your child “dumb-down” in order to fit in?

If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, you child would probably benefit from an individual intellectual and achievement evaluation by a qualified psychologist. Why is this important? Gifted children are fundamentally different and need help to learn social, interpersonal, and self-development skills. They need specific guidance and training.

It is interesting to note, however, that some of the very traits that make it more difficult for gifted children to relate to others can actually propel them to success as entrepreneurs. For example, we praise entrepreneurs for experimenting, doing things differently, and putting ideas together in ways that are unusual. Gifted children often possess these traits. While other children their age may not appreciate their out-of-the-box thinking, it will serve them well as they venture out on their own.

Consider, too, the focus of the gifted child. While they tend to have a wide range of interests, they are also able to zero in on the things that really pique their curiosity. They ask endless questions as they seek to understand everything they can on a particular topic. When a subject has captured their imagination, they have a long attention span and can concentrate intensely. Successful entrepreneurs similarly focus on, research, and develop a particular product or service. It is this focus that gives them an edge in the business world.

So how can you help utilize their gifts and cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit in your child? Consider these four ways:

1. Give your child the freedom to explore their passions and dreams.
Many entrepreneurs started their business with a dream and little else. So let your child dream. Let them set lofty goals for themselves. As they show a passion for something, try to show them how them how it could develop into a business. Internal motivation is an absolute necessity for an entrepreneur to achieve success, so encourage your children to find out what motivates them.

2. Help your child develop their unique gifts, talents, and abilities. Observe your child in different settings and take note of the activities in which they excel. Then try to link those activities to business ideas and topics. For example, if your child is really good at Monopoly, you could relate their love of the game to real-world job possibilities in finance or real estate. These conversations present ideas and open up dialogue. It also gives you a chance to gauge your child’s reactions to the idea of entrepreneurship.

3. Help your children start a business. This could be as simple as a lemonade stand, or any small venture your child is interested in. Explain the basics of what it takes to purchase supplies, how to set things up to sell, and how to price your product. Your child will not come away from it knowing all the ins and outs of running a business, but they will likely have a new understanding and enthusiasm for seeing how they can create something and make a profit.

4. Let them fail. The path to successful entrepreneurship is not a straight one. There are highs and lows, successes and failures. So let your gifted child learn what it feels like to fail. They may take failure harder than other children, as perfectionism is a strong trait in gifted children, but it is something they need to learn as early as possible. Model for them how they can stand back up, dust themselves off, and move forward. This resilience will serve them well in the future.

Parenting is hard, no matter what kind of child you are blessed with. If you could use some support and want to learn some new techniques you can use with your own, unique children, please contact my Jantzen Beach office. I also offer online therapy if that would better fit your busy schedule.

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

Monday, November 13, 2017


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Find a Good Online Therapist

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


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

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

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

Discover Timeless Advice for Couples with the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Monday, November 06, 2017


Book cover - Entrepreneurial Couples Making It Work at Work and at HomeWhen I was growing up, entrepreneurship was out of the ordinary. The norm was that you’d get a job with a company and stay there until you retired.

Later when companies downsized and people lost their secure positions, many had to get creative and make jobs. The entrepreneurial lifestyle took off like a rocket. Men and women individually became entrepreneurs. But what really interested me was that men and women in romantic relationships ventured into the entrepreneurial arena together.

Over the years, these entrepreneurial couples have stumbled through the challenges without much of a roadmap. So they didn’t have a lot of wisdom to pass onto the next generation. They were still trying to figure it out by trial and error. Helping these couples that kept appearing in my office for marriage counseling is what motivated me to write my book in 1998, Entrepreneurial Couples Making It Work at Work and at Home.

What about the state of entrepreneurship today, almost 20 years later?

According to the Kaufmann Foundation, in their 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Study, baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are twice as likely to launch a new business compared to millennials.

Baby boomers who worked for corporate America are turning to entrepreneurship rather than retiring. Many of them want to make a difference and do something meaningful with their lives. While others just need the income and they don’t want to work at Walmart or McDonalds. And now that the kids are gone and they’re empty nesters, many baby boomer couples want to spend time working together.

Statistics show that a smaller percentage of millennials (born between 1982 - 2004) and Gen X (born 1965-1984) are pursuing entrepreneurship. It’s not that Millennials don’t want to start their own businesses. A 2016 report from EY and the Economic Innovation Group found that 62 percent of millennials have considered starting their own business, but they can’t afford it (paying off student debts most likely).

What’s the trend for entrepreneurial couples?

According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 90 percent of American businesses are family-owned or controlled and Harvard Business School estimates that at least half of all companies in the US are family businesses. A study by National Federation of Independent Businesses reported that there are just over 1.2 million husband/wife business teams.

According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute:

 Percent of family owned businesses that remain in the family into the second generation 30%
Percent of family owned businesses that remain in the family into the third generation
 12%
Percent of family owned businesses that remain in the family into the fourth generation
 3%
Number of husband and wife teams running companies
 1,200,000
Percent of family owned businesses led by a female CEO or President
 24%
Percent of family owned businesses that indicated the next successor is a female
 31.3%
 Percent of family owned businesses that have women in top management positions  60%
 Percent of Fortune 500 businesses that are family-controlled  35%
 Average amount donated annually by a family run business  $50,000
Percent of family business owners that expect to retire by 2017
 40.3%
 Percent of those retiring who have not selected a successor  47%
 Percent of family business owners who have no estate plan beyond a will  31.4%

Why do family businesses and entrepreneurial couples fail?

Statistic Brain shows that 60% of failures are because of problems with communication and trust. 25% because of lack of preparation from the next generation. 15% because of all other issues like poor financial planning, legal advice and so forth.

The interest in family businesses and couples who run the business together has not diminished. That’s why I’m happy to release the second edition of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. You can get the paperback or kindle edition on Amazon.

Its timeless and proven wisdom is based on my years of working with entrepreneurial couples from many walks of life and business styles. I’ve seen their struggles and I’ve documented what does and doesn’t work. This book will help you get to know yourself and your partner on the deepest level possible, ensuring you can communicate what matters most to you.




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