How North Shore Families Can Swim Through the Economic Tsunami

North Shore families, perceived as insulated from the recent economic turmoil, have in fact been enormously affected, says Mark Samuelson who runs a distinguished counseling practice on the North Shore of Chicago in Evanston, IL. Also a supervising faculty member at The Center for Psychoanalytic Study, Samuelson says North Shore families can turn potential danger into opportunity by reevaluating what is most important in their lives.

How North Shore Families Can Swim Through the Economic Tsunami
Chicago, IL, July 15, 2009 --( In his northwest Evanston office Mark Samuelson has seen the result of the economic storm as it washed over the North Shore of Chicago. "After decades of prosperity," he says, "seemingly overnight, the sense of security and identity as embodied in financial and occupational security disappeared."

In Mark's practice, which serves adults, adolescents, and families, he says he has seen the stress reverberate throughout whole families. "Children and adolescents, whose time horizon is limited, experience the anxiety and feelings of helplessness of their parents," he says. "Increase in drug and alcohol use are common as is decrease in academic performance. Lack of interest in family occasions and activities are also common. Alterations in choice of college because of new economic realities are also stress triggers for adolescents."

Samuelson emphasizes that being able to take a step back and gain perspective is an important first step. "This is not the catastrophe it might appear. It can be an opportunity to reevaluate what is truly important in our lives. Yes of course it is wise to have 'A Life Plan' - but this needs to be tempered with the knowledge that nothing is guaranteed. Adapting to new realities can be a positive experience. It is healthy to recognize that our relationships to family, friends, community, and faith are the most reassuring remedies for a sense of powerlessness and isolation."

But there are situations that require professional help, Samuelson says. "Depression, feelings of sadness or worthlessness that lasts more than a few weeks, are strong indicators that psychotherapy might be beneficial. Difficulty sleeping, fatigue, agitation and anxiety are but a few signs. Other indicators might included increased alcohol consumption, withdrawal from family and friends, and loss of pleasure in in formerly enjoyable activities. Counseling can be beneficial in restoring equilibrium, self-esteem and worth, and in fostering healthier and more satisfying behaviors."

Even for those not affected directly, Samuelson says the pervasive bad news of friends, families and neighbors creates a climate of stress, not to mention the constant drumbeat of bad news from media outlets. But he says crises contain both danger and opportunity. He mentions several methods of reconnection and stress alleviation that can have long lasting effects on health and happiness:

"Helpful remedies for sadness and anxiety that work for my clients include initially an open and positive discussion with family and friends, which typically produces feelings of closeness and security. Volunteerism is also a strategy to increase social involvement and restore a sense of meaning and belonging to our lives."

Additionally, Samuelson adds that spiritual involvement provides a sense of connection to a power greater that ourselves. Exercise and sports have been demonstrated to alleviate stress, diminish depression and provide a healthy sense of accomplishment. Finally, shut off that computer. Preoccupation with the swings in the market as a crystal ball to our emotional well being is an illusion."

For More Information:

Mark Samuelson Counseling
Mark Samuelson
(847) 475-9500