Habits of Happy Couples.

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Tips to finding happiness and satisfaction in a relationship:

  1. Express admiration and affection. The idea is to look for ways to appreciate and feel warmth for your partner, and express those things. Send unexpected text messages, leave a loving note near the bathroom sink in the morning, or even do small favors.
  2. Make room in your head. We are happiest when we reserve space in our heads for our significant others.  keeping knowledge in your head about everyday things like important foods or movies adds to your private love map of him or her.
  3. Accept influence from each other. Many people define power in relationships as the control we have over each other, but another way to define power is the balance of influence each person has on the other.
  4. Know your partner’s inner world. A key to happiness in relationships is knowing each other’s meanings and symbols, finding the dreams within conflicts, and creating shared meanings.

Many people say that relationships are hard work, but this is only partly true. The key to happiness in your relationship is learning habits that keep your partner feeling happy and safe. Once you do that the habit will take over and the effort of keeping a happy relationship stops seeming like hard work.

Visit our website for more information on how we can help you learn tips and techniques for keeping a happy relationship! www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Break Bad Habits In 3 Steps!

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Everyone has at least one bad habit that they would like to banish, such as smoking, biting their nails, and procrastinating. When individuals try to quit their bad habits they often fail, because they are not replacing the bad habit with an alternative. Breaking bad habits can be simple if you have the desire, patience and follow these 3 simple steps.

  1. Choose an alternative habit. Your brain needs habits to function. When quitting one habit you must have an alternative to replace it.
  2. Commit. Its’s not easy to give up something you enjoy. Your brain has connected this bad habit to your happy chemicals a long time ago. But you can do it if you commit yourself to this new alternative habit.
  3. Repeat. Your new alternative habit will begin to feel natural after about 6 weeks, so keep at it. Eventually as your brain adjusts it will be easier to not think about or want to do your old bad habit.

It is possible to break bad habits if you are committed, patient, and have support. Seeking a counselor can be very beneficial for you during this process. A counselor can help you design an alternative, give you support and advice, and guide you through the process of replacing your bad habits.

Visit our website for more information on how we can help! www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com

Resolving Relationship Irritations.

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Dirty clothes all over the floor, texting during dinner, forgetting to take out the trash for the third time this week, and leaving crumbs on the kitchen counter. These are some of the irritations that couples may face from day to day. Even though these are just small things that we feel we shouldn’t be so concerned about, it can eventually build and become stumbling blocks in a relationship. So how should we go about these annoyances without nagging and nitpicking?

Here are some tips for getting past the small stuff:

  • Get to the real issue. Usually it’s not the dirty clothes or texting that is frustrating you. There are underlying issues that are easily missed. Try getting to the bottom of whats really bothering you. Getting to the real issue also gets you to a solution quicker.
  • Consider if it really bothers you. Try letting it go and see what happens. Sometimes letting go of things that aren’t so important mean recognizing that you and your partner are different and have different ways of doing things.
  • Don’t dismiss. If it is something you really just can’t let go and get over then you need to discuss it with your partner.
  • Use a softer approach. When approaching your partner about it don’t attack them. Use an approach like this, “I know you work very hard and I appreciate all that you do. But it really upsets me when you leave your dirty clothes everywhere, it only takes a couple of seconds to pick them up.”
  • Be patient. Cleaning up after yourself may be easy for you but for others it may not come naturally. They may need some reminding and encouragement, so be patient.

Seek help from a therapist if you find yourself getting worked up about small things that your partner may be doing. A therapist can help you figure out how to get past the minor annoyances before they become big arguments in your relationships.

Call us today to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251

Nervous about your first counseling session? Here is what you can expect!

Going to counseling can be scary and nerve racking, but knowing what to expect can help ease those nerves and help you get better results. There is nothing to be scared or nervous about, your therapist is here to help you get through whatever it is you may be going through.

In your first session your therapist will ask you certain questions about you and your life. This information will help them make an initial assessment of your situation and help them begin creating a treatment plan. Some of the questions your therapist might ask include: why you are seeking therapy, your personal history (family,upbringing, etc.), your current situation, and your current symptoms. These questions will help them better understand what is going on.

Counseling is a team effort and requires active participation on your end. Here are some things you can do to make your first session as successful as possible: answer questions openly, honestly, and don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings, be prepared to describe what and how you are feeling, and make sure to ask questions about the process or anything you may have concerns about.

Therapy is not a quick fix, it is a process that takes time and patience. With active participation on your part and a strong relationship with your counselor, you will be very successful at resolving your problems.

Call us today for more information about the counseling process and what to expect! (813)244-1251

Effective Discipline For Children.

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Although you may think that spanking and physical punishment is the best discipline strategy, it is not very effective in changing your child’s behaviors. Parents who use spanking and physical punishment hope to decrease their child’s bad behavior, however, long-term use of physical punishment could actually lead to an increase in aggressive behavior in children.

Try these strategies for improving your child’s behaviors:

  1. Positive reinforcement. Children benefit greatly from positive attention and praise of good or desired behaviors. For example, if your child tends to talk back and disobey use positive reinforcement and praise during the times that they obey and don’t talk back.
  2. Consequences. Create rules and consequences for not following those rules, and ALWAYS enforce them. The more a child knows that they won’t get away with something, they are more likely to not engage in that behavior.
  3. Accept feedback. Get feedback from the child when creating rewards and consequences. By asking the child you increase the likelihood that those consequences and rewards will be more motivating for them to change their behavior.

All of our Licensed Mental Health Counselors and Registered Mental Health Interns at Star Point Counseling Center have experience with children and can work with you and your children to decrease problem behaviors.

For more helpful parenting tips and suggestions or to schedule an appointment visit our website or give us a call! www.starpointcounselingtampa.com  (813)244-1251

Being An Active Listener.

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Active listening is a communication technique used in counseling, it requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by re-stating or paraphrasing what they heard in their own words, in order to confirm what they heard and to confirm the understanding of both parties. Active listening is important for successful interactions.

Try these strategies to really improve your listening skills:

  • Look at the other person. People send clues through facial expressions and body language, use what your eyes see to help your ears listen.
  • Reflect back on emotions. Use phrases like “it seems like you’re feeling angry, is that right?”
  • Use open ended questions. Open ended questions gives the individual a chance to explain and give more information.
  • Reflect on meaning. Reflecting what you understood someone to mean is a great way to keep both individuals on the same page.

If we put in the work to be an active listener, we can avoid more later that may involve repairing resentment, hurt feelings, and unhappiness.

The counselors at Star Point Counseling Center can help you become a better listener by teaching you techniques and skills that will improve your communication with others.

Call today to schedule an appointment! (813)244-1251

Tips From Clarissa- Equal Minutes.

Parenting can be difficult, especially if your child is a defiant teen. The most popular action for a parent to do when their child is being defiant is to take away the child’s phone, ipod, ipad, laptop, T.V, video games, time with friends, or any other fun extracurricular thing that your child enjoys doing. But doing this is one of the worst things you can do, it turns you into an overbearing parent and also takes away any leverage you may have. Co-Founder and Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Star Point Counseling Center, Clarissa Crystal-Belle recommends using “equal minutes.” When using equal minutes, your child will get to use their electronics or hang with friends for the same amount of time that they work on their homework or do chores. For example, if they perform chores for 30 minutes then they can hang out with their friends for 30 minutes. This ensures that the child doesn’t feel like you are over correcting and overbearing, and at the same time you can make sure that their homework and chores are being done while also monitoring their time with friends or phone use. It’s a win-win situation!

Check back soon for more tips from Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Clarissa Crystal-Belle!

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Busy Season Is Approaching!

Our busiest time of the year is closing in on us! All of our counselors are gaining more and more new clients each day, and their schedules are filling up. We want to make sure that you can get the help you need as soon as possible, so we highly recommend that you call to schedule an appointment as soon as you can before we are forced to begin a wait list! We have two locations for your convenience in Brandon and Tampa, and we also accept some major insurance companies and have affordable prices for those who do not have insurance.

Our counselors at the Tampa office are available Monday-Friday 12pm-8pm, and at the Brandon office Monday-Thursday 12pm-8pm and Saturdays anytime by appointment only.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, schedule an appointment while you still can! (813)244-1251, or After hours: (813)479-3510

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We Accept Insurance!

Star Point Counseling Center accepts self-pay and major insurances such as United Behavioral Healthcare, United Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and others. It would be in your best interest to contact your insurance company to inquire about your eligibility and benefits before scheduling an appointment with us. Some people prefer self pay as it gives them a higher degree of confidentiality.

Don’t have insurance? No worries! We provide a sliding scale based on your annual household income, this scale ranges from $40-$100 per hour session. There are Registered Interns or Mental Health Counselor Interns who you can see for a fee between $40-$60 per hour session. We also provide Life Coaching for individuals who are seeking advice and guidance with school, career, goals, etc.

Call us today or visit our website for more information about services, costs, and to schedule an appointment!

(813)244-1251, 813-479-3510 (after hours)

www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Why Wait? Seek Help Now.

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Sometimes it’s not obvious to us that we need help, so we wait until we are experiencing paralyzing anxiety, a deep depression, full blown insomnia, or even contemplating self-harm. Many people wait years before seeking help from a professional, but why wait? seeking help early on means we can start the healing process sooner and begin to feel better. Admitting that we need help is not easy, it is human nature to want to avoid suffering or to try and escape it when it arises. We shove our feelings under the rug by living busy lives, we sometimes use drugs and alcohol to numb our feelings, and even dismiss our issues thinking they aren’t that bad. Even if admitting you need help is tough, in the long run therapy can help improve your well-being and life. Therapists help individuals better understand themselves, learn ways to cope with stress, anxiety, and depression, learn how to adapt to change, and live a more fulfilling life. 

If you find that some of these subtle signs relate to you, it may be time to seek help, don’t wait! 

Physical signs: Persistent headaches and stomach aches, trouble sleeping, change in appetite, change in weight.

Aggressive feelings or actions: Frequently angry or irritable, mood swings, kicking, hitting, throwing or breaking things.

Self-destructive behaviors: Using drugs, drinking, self-harm/injury, driving recklessly.

Negative thoughts and self-talk: “I’m not good enough” “I don’t deserve happiness and love” “What’s the point in trying?” 

The therapists at Star Point Counseling Center can help you work through any concerns you may be having. Don’t wait until it gets worse, seek our help now!

Call today to schedule an appointment and begin your healing process (813)244-1251