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Kathy Marshack News

A Bodybuilder Makes a Difference in the Lives of Senior Citizens

Monday, July 28, 2014

senior getting physically fitDo you sometimes wonder if you matter or can make a difference and a real contribution? Recently I read a heart-warming story about a champion body builder, Mr. Addo, who uses his physical fitness skills and the values from his youth to make a real difference in the lives of others.

You’d expect someone who has won Mr. Ghana bodybuilding championship twice to open up a gym for the elite. Instead, Mr. Addo has found his niche helping senior citizens regain their balance, mobility and strength. As the story explains, “He was raised with the values that improving the lives of one’s elders is of the highest virtue. He brings that to life among this group of retired adults. In his own words he says, ‘They remind me of my grandmothers and aunties back home.’”

This unlikely combination of bodybuilder and the frail elderly has changed many lives for the better. Together they have created a community of people who care about each other, and they work to make each other stronger physically and emotionally.

We can all make a difference in the world when we use our talents to improve the lives of those around us. This giving spirit nurtures both the giver and the receiver. What values and talents do you hold dear, and who can benefit from them? Even our weaknesses can be used to strengthen others. When you find the answer to those questions, you’ll find happiness and purpose. Join us on my Facebook page, ( and let’s continue the discussion about people who inspire you to achieve your greatest potential.

What Are You Really Teaching Your Children About Money?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

When children are young, they don’t understand the concept of what money is and how it works. Offer a little one the choice between a dull dime and a bright shiny nickel, and they’ll pick the nickel because it’s pretty and bigger.

When a child doesn’t learn the real value of money, as an adult they will struggle with money problems, which may escalate into relationship problems. Either they’ll undervalue it and squander it, thinking they can just ask for more. Or they’ll go to the other extreme of attaching too much importance to it sacrificing their own health or relationships for it.

A healthy view of money sees money as a means of exchanging what you have for what you want or need. To get money, you expend resources, such as time, accumulated knowledge and energy, to earn it. How can you instill good financial habits in children? What money values do you want your children to live by? An article written by a financial advisor, Wayne Von Borstel, made me think about this topic today. He had some very good advice.

First and foremost parents teach by example. Your children will copy your attitude toward money and the way you handle it. This is especially true if you run a family-owned business

You can discuss with your partner these questions to determine what model you’re giving to your children:

Do I argue over money with my spouse? Do we have a budget? Do we spend beyond our means, wracking up huge credit card debt? Do we make monthly deposits to a savings account? Do we make charitable donations? Do we keep funds especially earmarked for emergencies that can’t be dipped into for any reason? Do we save money for a vacation as a family? Have we set up a college fund for our children? Do we require our children to contribute toward any of these?

Helping your children see the real value of money also involves actively participating in making and spending money. When they earn the money they spend, they’ll make the connection that the amount available is limited by the time and effort put into earning it. This contributes toward creating a good work ethic. And as you guide them in how to spend money wisely, perhaps entrusting them with a specific amount for buying school clothes, or saving a portion in a savings account or college fund, they learn good financial habits.

What do you do when you want to train your children in money management, but your spouse has different ideas? Are you searching for conflict resolution techniques that really solve the issues over money in your family? If so, then contact my Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA office and set up an appointment.

If you’re an entrepreneuerial couple I address parenting and financial disagreements in my book, Entrepreneurial Couples: Making It Work at Work and at Home. You can also read Wayne Von Borstel’s entire article, 8 Ways to Maximize a Child’s Financial Potential, here.

Parents: Help Your Child Fight Obesity

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.5 million children between the ages 2-19 are obese. If you are a parent, these number are frightening. Childhood obesity is linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and emotional pain  

How can a parent help a child ward off obesity? Here are a few simple tips:

Make it a family affair. Even if the rest of the family is healthy, all family members must be on board. If the child feels isolated and is the only one who has to exercise or eat differently, it will only add to their low self-esteem. Talk about "family goals" and how to implement them. This includes diet and exercise.    
Associate food with fuel. Teach your child that food is fuel for their body. The better they eat, the better their bodies will work and they will be able to do more fun things. 

Make if fun! Changing a lifestyle into a healthier one isn't always easy or fun to say the least, but in order for it to resonate with children, it must be fun. Can you make exercise into a game? 

Give choices. It's easy to start patrolling your child's food or exercise choices. Give your child some measure of freedom. You can do this by giving them choices. For example, they need to exercise. Ask them if they would like to go for a walk or ride their bike. Exercise is not an option, but what they do for exercise can be. had an inspiring story about a young girl who lost 65 pounds. I highly recommend the article! The parents set a fine example in helping their daughter and I also appreciated the suggestions from Dr. Denise Wilfley, director of the Weight Management & Eating Disorders Program at Washington University School of Medicine.   

For more information, visit Mind and Body Health - Healthy Weight Control

Prepare for Traveling with an Autistic Child

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 88 children are on the autism spectrum. Because of this staggering statistic, there has been a major push to provide awareness throughout the community. In response to this growing awareness, the travel industry is taking note. 

Traveling with an autistic child can be overwhelming to both child and parent. In order to ease the stress of traveling, certain airports in the country are providing "mock boarding" experiences. This free program offers a trial run of what it is like to buy tickets, go through security, and buckling up on a plane that never takes off. Washington Dulles International Airport as well as Atlanta, Boston, Bridgeport, Manchester, Philadelphia, and Newark have offered this special program.  

TSA also provides a hotline - TSA Cares (1-855) 787-2227. Call 72 hours before your flight to let them know that you are in need of assistance. Try requesting use of the handicap line. Also, alert your airline. Keep in mind that not everyone will be compassionate to your situation. While awareness is growing, there are still many who do not understand. Do you best to be prepared, but realize there is only so much you can control. 

For more information and travel tips, I recommend reading The New York Times Article - Testing Autism and Air Travel. You may also be interested in my soon-to-be-released book,
 “Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome,” click here to download a sample chapter. 

Childhood Trauma Linked to a Troubled Future

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" Children are asked this question from a young age. Would you ever imagine a child telling you they would like to be an alcoholic, obese, suicidal, or cancer victim? Hardly! It sounds preposterous. Sadly, many children might have these issues looming in their future. 


In the past, the blame for these issues was placed on the material or physical background of a child. For example, maybe they grew up in the ghetto or had a poor diet. There has now been a shift in understanding. Childhood trauma, including psychological trauma, has a major impact on the future success of a child. Divorced parents, a parent in prison, a mentally ill parent, or abuse are all factors that can cause emotional stress and trauma. (Read article - The Psych Approach)


This doesn't mean that if you were a child who experienced these types of traumatic events, you will automatically have the serious issues I mentioned above. The risk is just greater. What does this mean then for these children? They must get the assistance of a mental health care professional immediately. If help is sought out promptly, the child will be in a better position to gain the coping skills that are necessary for a successful future. Parents, there is no need to be ashamed if you need to get help for your child. Taking this step is showing love for your child and it will help them now and in the future. 


For more information, visit Parenting - Am I a Good Parent?

How to Instill Positive Traits in Your Children

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Raising children is the most rewarding experience. Along with that reward comes hard work. At times you may wish you could encapsulate your child in a bubble to protect them from all the negativity in the world, but unfortunately that is impossible. The best way to protect them is by working hard to instill in them the good qualities – such as honesty, loyalty, self-worth, and a positive outlook.

The best way for parents to teach their children these qualities is start when they are young. Childhood is the best time for learning since comprehension is at its peak. Even when you think they do not understand or are not listening, they are little sponges that are constantly absorbing. Because of this fact, your example will have a powerful effect on who your children will become.

You are your child's first role model. So, recognize that you are on a stage and someone is watching you. Granted, you will not do everything perfectly and you will make mistakes. Those situations can actually become excellent teaching opportunities. Do you put the blame on someone else for you mistake? Are you quick to make amends or admit your shortcoming? Do you beat yourself up or say next time will be better?

If you start to identify negative behavior qualities in your child, be quick to redirect it. Help them to see the good traits that they have and with you on their side to help them work through the things that are more difficult for them. Another way to instill good qualities in your children is through experience. Introduce your child to art, travel, reading, and music. Help them to find what they are passionate about.

And don't forget the most important thing...Love. Your child needs a lot of love, affection, and your quality time. Look for opportunities throughout your day to do this.

Sometimes families need help. Do not be ashamed if it is necessary to find a family therapist in your local area. For more information on parenting, visit Am I a Good Parent.

Shopping for Health Insurance? Make Sure You Have Adequate Mental Health Benefits

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A few years ago I heard a well known Dale Carnegie graduate give a talk on how to attract new business. He used as an example, what attracted him to the family physician who had attended to him, his wife and children for years. The good doctor had given a similar talk at a public event and impressed the man with his expertise, solid reputation, and sincerity. For something as personal and life important as the health care of his family, the man wanted such an individual as this dedicated doctor. And for years his initial decision to choose this physician proved to be a good one.

Yet in spite of the importance of choosing the right health care professional, this Carnegie graduate dropped the doctor like a hot potato when managed care rolled into town. Because his company chose a managed care plan that would not allow the doctor to join the panel, the dedicated patient who had so carefully chosen and developed a meaningful relationship with his health care provider, decided to follow the impersonal dictates of the managed care plan.

Closer to my own area of practice, psychology, is another story that is even more disconcerting. A young teenage girl had been treated for depression by a psychologist. In actuality she was not seriously depressed but rather angry at her boyfriend for being somewhat shallow. The girl’s parents called the managed care company and were referred to the psychologist. After a few short sessions with the psychologist, the girl felt she had more control of the situation and would not allow the boyfriend’s manipulation to continue. Two weeks after terminating psychotherapy, the girl and her father had a fight that erupted into yelling and screaming between the two of them. The father in frustration called his managed care plan (an 800 number in southern California) and told them his daughter was suicidal. Without any psychiatric evaluation and without contacting the daughter’s psychotherapist, the clerk at the other end of the 800 number advised the father to take the girl to a psychiatric hospital. Although the girl was not suicidal and didn’t need hospitalization, she did learn to fear her father and to behave lest she be hospitalized again. Not a healthy outcome.

The mistakes made by the Carnegie graduate and the father of the teenager are not uncommon. There is a mystique about managed care. People have come to believe that the 800 number is like a parent, able to solve all of their woes. They believe that they will get the same personal service they received for years by a doctor who knows them. They are puzzled when the service they do receive is not sufficient to resolve the problem. Often they assume that there is nothing more that can be done, since their managed care company has not authorized additional services. It’s as if the managed care company has assumed the paternalistic mystique that the family doctor once held. But now the mystique has no concern about the individual, only cutting medical costs.

So when you are shopping around for a health plan, I hope you consider just what you are buying when it comes to mental health benefits. Do you have ample psychotherapy benefits; at least 26 to 52 visits per year? Do you have the right to choose the most experienced and competent psychologist? Is there true confidentiality guaranteed? Is the treatment plan dictated by actuarial tables or by the unique needs of the situation and the employee? Is the payment to the therapist worth the time of a competent professional, or are you forced to seek out an untrained, inexperienced person who will charge rock bottom prices? Ultimately you are responsible for your own health so make sure that you’re your own health advocate.

What You Feed Your Children Impacts Their IQ

Monday, February 28, 2011

A parent’s natural desire is to give their child the best. Healthy, happy children that grow into happy, healthy adults is the ultimate goal. Sad to say, in our society, parents are struggling. We are living in the era of convenience. The problem with convenience is that it is taking a toll on children especially in one particular area…food!

Children are consuming large amounts of food rich in sugar and fat. The culprit is primarily processed foods. Parents may say that it’s no big deal, it's easy and convenient, so what's the problem? The problem according to a recent British study is that there may be a correlation between what young children eat and their IQ. A processed food diet may result is a lower IQ.

So, what lesson is there for parents? Parents, what you feed your children may have a serious impact on your child's future. Take the time to prepare healthy meals for your children. A well balance diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish is recommended. One way to improve eating habits is to eat one meal a day together as a family. It can help the family to eat a healthy and balanced diet. You will be able to observe any unhealthy habits that your children may be developing. Another benefit is it improves family communication.

It’s well worth your while to make the necessary changes in your family’s eating habits – it will only lead you closer to your ultimate goal.

For more information, visit Am I a Good Parent?

Parents - Be Alert to Signs of Bullying

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bullying has become a major problem for American youths. You’ve probably heard stories in the media recently of young ones taking their lives because of bullying. If you are a parent, no doubt you are concerned about your children and what they are dealing with at school. You may not be able to completely stop bullying, but there are things that you can do to protect your children and help them cope with bullies. The key is for you to be alert to the symptoms and then take proactive measures.

Be Alert to the Symptoms

Your child may be reluctant to tell you that they are being bullied, so you must be alert to symptoms that could indicate that they are being bullied. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

- physical trauma like bruises and scratches,
- declining grades,
- fear of attending school or regularly feeling sick before going to school,
- change in appetite,
- and a refusal to talk.

Be Proactive

If you suspect that your child may be bullied, you must be proactive and work with your child to handle the situation. By proactive by…

- Asking questions. Work to create an open dialog with your child about what they are going through. Be patient, it may take some time to get your child to open up to you. Try a variety of different questioning methods. You can try being direct, but if that doesn't work, you may have to question them in a more shrewd, roundabout way.

- Having practice sessions. Work with your child by teaching them ways that they can cope with the bully. Teach them that fighting back is never the answer. Practice how to assertively speak to a bully. If that doesn't work, then encourage them to walk away from the situation and tell an adult afterward. Create different scenarios and role play.

- Setting a good example. Your children watch you constantly. If you want to raise a strong and confident child, show them how to do it. Do not be a bully yourself.

- Speaking to the school. Don’t assume that teachers know what’s going on at school. Make sure you voice any concerns immediately so you can come up with a prevention plan.

For more proactive tips, visit the article - How can parents help to prevent bullying at their child's school?


At times, professional help from a mental health care professional may be necessary. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA area, please contact our office for more information.

An Inspirational Person Shares Her Gift

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Many of you have had the privilege of meeting my Office Coordinator, Michelle Lathim, in person. Michelle has been diligently working for me for a number of years and has truly been a blessing. I wanted to take this opportunity though to share a little bit about the work Michelle has been doing outside of my office.

For several years, Michelle and her husband Dwight have been volunteering at their local church to organize divorce recovery support groups. With divorce statistics on the rise, Michelle and Dwight recognized that this is a major need in the community. The groups have been a success and have multiplied!

The Lathim’s work was recently recognized by the New Heights Church. Last weekend they were asked to be the Keynote Speakers at the New Heights Navigate Gorge Getaway, a two day retreat for parents of young children who need time to relax and refresh their marriage.

I was thrilled to see that this wonderful opportunity that was extended to Michelle and Dwight. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. I will continue to blog about their future speaking engagements.

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