Anxiety Relief Activities for Children.


Believe it or not, kids have a lot to worry about. These worries usually include meeting expectations from school, expectations from adults, bullying, or changes such as a new sibling, moving to a new home, and simply growing up. Some children experience trauma, mental health disorders, abuse, family dysfunction, or health problems.

Here are three techniques parents to help their child manage anxiety: 

  1. Blowing bubbles: Deep breathing is an excellent way to reduce anxiety. What better way to teach your child deep breathing than blowing some bubbles? Deep breathing helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the system of the body in charge of the activities that a person performs when they are in a resting state, and it deactivates the body’s fight or flight response. 
  2. Worry can: Have your child write down his/her worries on a piece of paper, discuss it with you and put it in a jar labeled “fears”, “worries”, or “scary things.” This activity helps the child identify and express their worries and fears instead of keeping them bottled up. An alternative to this would be having the child journal about his/her worries. Journaling has been found to help ease anxiety and reduce stress. 
  3. Calm down box: This activity is used to help the child calm down after feeling anxious. Help your child come up with objects that help them relax and calm down and put these items inside a box. Some examples would be lavender scented play dough, stress balls, calming music, crayons, and coloring books. Break out the calm down box when your child needs something to feel more at ease. 

If your child has more than the typical anxiety or has gone through a difficult experience, it is best to consult with a therapist. Our therapists at Star Point Counseling Center can work with your child and help them learn to effectively manage and reduce their anxiety.

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




Communication Guidelines.


Communication isn’t just about talking to your partner, it’s about really understanding and acknowledging what your partner is saying and feeling. Everybody has a different level of skills when it comes to communication, and just like any other skill better communication can be learned. 

Communication can make or break relationships, try these guidelines for better communication in your relationship:

Get specific. There is too much room for misinterpretation when you use vague words. Avoid giving your opinions, interpretations, or generalizations when you are having communication problems. They are invitations to misunderstandings and conflicts. 

Be accountable. Each of us has a choice about what we say and do, no matter how we feel. Don’t excuse your behavior or blame it on others or on your childhood. 

Acknowledge feelings and points of view. Listening to and acknowledging to the other person’s feelings and points of view can bypass many arguments and misunderstandings. Don’t try to correct others or rebut their points of view or feelings. Just listen and see if you can understand what the other person is trying to communicate. You don’t have to agree, but don’t dismiss or minimize their feelings. 

Break your patterns. Change your part of any pattern that isn’t currently working. Do anything that is not cruel, unethical, or distasteful to your partner that would be different from what you usually do in the situation. 

Visit our website for more information on how we can help you improve your communication.

Recognize Mental Health Problems In Your Child.


Mental health problems in children are common, real, and treatable. Without treatment there is an increased risk in behavioral problems at school, decline in grades, suicide, trouble with the criminal justice system, and more. With the help of teachers and other caregivers, parents can identify these problems early on and can determine whether or not help should be sought out for the child. 

If you recognize the following signs, then professional help may be needed: 

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades in spite of strong efforts
  • Constantly worried or feeling anxious
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability

If you suspect a problem, or just have questions and concerns contact us to see a Mental Health professional. (813)244-1251

Depression and Suicide.


Suicide is an stealthy choice due to the lies that depression tells us. Individuals who are suffering from severe depression are lied to by their depression, it can tell that person, “Hey, you’d be better off dead. Life isn’t going to get any better.” And sadly, individuals sometimes listen. Even some of the most accomplished people such as Robin Williams. Depression doesn’t overlook those who are rich, famous, funny, or even loved by many.

Here are a few tips for beating depression:

  • Exercise. Physical exercise, even just at a low intensity for 30 minutes a day is known to lower depression. Exercise increases the activity level of important brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin which is the same neurochemical that popular drugs like Prozac and Zoloft target. 
  • Social support. Hormones that are involved in bonding and helping behaviors are known to lower stress and anxiety. People who lack a supportive social network are faced with an increase in depression. 
  • Sleep. Sleep deprivation after numerous days interferes with our ability to think clearly, it can even bring about serious health consequences. Disrupted sleep is one of the most powerful triggers of depression.

Suicide is a common symptom of severe, clinical depression. When depression is properly treated, the feelings of suicide often subside as the depression lifts. 

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to” -Robin Williams

Get the help that you need and deserve! Call us today to schedule an appointment. (813)244-1251

Managing School Stress.


With the pressures from finals, GPA scores, and college admissions, school can easily become one of the most stressful things in our lives. Whether its parents and teachers pushing you to do your best, or your own drive to get the highest test scores and attend the best college in the state, stress can consume you unless you know the proper way to manage it. 

Here are 5 tips for getting through the school year with less stress: 

  1. Self-care. You have to start with the basics, take the time to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and enjoy activities that will get your mind off of the stress that comes with school. 
  2. Learn to change your thinking. You can’t get stress out unless you believe your thoughts, stress comes from stressful thinking. You have to learn to change your negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of stressing out about finishing a project on time, think about open slots in your schedule that you can use to get it done. 
  3. Take bite sized proportions. Assignments become easier when you manage them in smaller proportions than just looking at the big picture. Instead of writing a 9 page essay in one day, do the assignment in chunks. This technique makes it feel more manageable and less anxiety-inducing. 
  4. Lower your goals. I know this may seem odd because you are always told to set your goals high, but setting smaller and lower goals helps reduce stress and boost academic success. Instead of aiming for the highest grade in the class, aim for a grade that you will feel satisfied with your performance.
  5. Stay balanced. No matter how hard you push yourself during exam weeks, no body can remain focused for such long periods of time. Give yourself short breaks to do activities you enjoy, that way you will be refreshed when you go back to studying. 

Stress can turn your best school year into your worst. School doesn’t have to be all about stressing over finals, and GPA scores. If you know how to effectively manage your stress, then you can also enjoy what great and fun things school has to offer, like making new friends and participating in sports and clubs. 

Don’t let your stress consume you, give us a call today to schedule an appointment if you are feeling stressed and need help managing your time, focusing, etc. (813)244-1251

Getting Over A Verbally Abusive Relationship.


It is normal to have a a mix of emotions after ending a verbally abusive relationship. Moving on takes time, support, love and patience, but once you get through it you will be stronger and happier. There are some things to can do to help get over this abusive relationship:

Cut all ties. After a relationship ends many people feel the need to either show their ex that they are better off without them or apologize to them. It is vital to cut off all contact, you cannot fully have closure until you do. Delete their number, and block them from social media so you aren’t tempted to contact them.

Process your emotions. When you first leave a verbally abusive relationship, you might feel alone, you may feel a decreased sense of self-esteem and self-worth, depression, anger, frustration or isolation, and you might even miss your ex. Don’t bottle up your emotions, let them out. Scream, cry, write in a journal, join a boxing class, or even punching your pillow are all great ways to let your emotions out. 

Get social support. Verbally abusive spouses and partners often socially isolate their significant others. You might have been cut off from your family and friends. Reconnect with them, it is much easier to move on when you surround yourself with a loving support network. 

If you have tried these already and you find yourself still struggling with moving on then try seeking counseling. Trained counselors can lay out a plan of recovery and help you identify the skills and strengths you already have to begin moving forward in your new life

Call us today to schedule an appointment with a Licensed Mental Heath Counselor (813)244-1251


Perk Up Your Relationship.


Relationship advice usually comes in the form of don’ts. Don’t nag, don’t tell them to pick up their clothes, don’t remind them to take out the trash and complain when they don’t, don’t put blame. Well here’s a new one for you, don’t listen to any of the advice about the don’ts. Couples who focus on the do’s and who seek to increase the good in their relationship are happier and get along better than those who just focus on avoiding the negative.

Here are some do’s to perk up your relationship:

  1. Be Grateful. Gratitude helps remind us of all the good qualities in our partner. Expressing gratitude towards the other person makes them feel better about themselves, which in return makes the relationship stronger.
  2. Poke fun. When life gets serious is always fun to lighten up the mood by teasing your partner in a non hostile way. Couples who poke fun are happier and come to more peaceful solutions to their issues. 
  3. Celebrate the good. It’s always nice to have your partner’s shoulder to lean on during bad times but its also important to celebrate the good times too. Be enthusiastic about your partner’s good news, ask questions, pay compliments, and be each others biggest cheerleaders. 
  4. Find your ideal self, in your partner. Make a list of your personal goals and then make a list of the qualities you like most about your partner, chances are they are similar. Let your partner help you improve on those things that matter most to you. You will become more like your ideal self and in the process become closer to your partner.
  5. Notice the new. Once we have been in a relationship for a while we stop really noticing and looking at our partner. People are always changing, so take the time to notice something new in your partner, whether it be a new shirt or a change in their values and beliefs. 
  6. Random acts of kindness. When your partner is going through a rough time don’t worry about grand gestures, focus more on doing little acts of kindness that can help make their life a little easier. 
  7. Get back in touch. Even when you don’t have the time for full blown intimacy, you can still benefit from physical closeness. A gentle touch on your partner’s neck, shoulders, and hands, increases oxytocin, a hormone that facilitates bonding, and reduces blood pressure and stress levels. Next time you want to boost your partner’s mood, give them a quick back rub.

If you find yourself struggling with keeping the fire in your relationship going, let us help you. Our Mental Heath Therapists can help you keep that fire alive!

Call us today! (813)244-1251

Coping With Postpartum Depression.


Having a baby can make you feel like an emotional train wreck, one minute your head over heels in love with little bundle of joy and the next your busting out in tears. It is normal to feel anxious, worried, overwhelmed, worried, sad, and exhausted, but if these feelings last more than just a week or two then you may have postpartum depression. 

Here are 10 things that you can do to make yourself feel better: 

  1. Trust your instincts- If you have a feeling that something just isn’t right then it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts and let someone know how you are feeling immediately. 
  2. Let it out- Your hormones are in full force during your third trimester of pregnancy, and after the baby comes your body is trying to get those hormones back in line. It is actually good to cry because it is your body’s natural way of letting go of those hormones. 
  3. Breastfeed- Only if you can and want to. Women who want and can breastfeed are less likely to suffer from depression. 
  4. Get enough sleep- Sleep is vital when you’ve just had a baby. It may be hard, but try to have your partner, family or friends help out with the baby while you try to relax and catch some zzz’s.
  5. Re-evaluate your time- Decide with your partner how you will divide your time between the baby, work, and all the other responsibilities you have. 
  6. Find other mommies- Join a local mom group, arrange a play date, or just get together with some friends to chat when your feeling down. 
  7. Eat healthy foods- Eat a balance diet with foods that will give you energy.
  8. Exercise- It’s hard to want to do anything when your feeling down, but going for a walk with the baby or hitting the gym gives you a boost of endorphins that help ease depression.
  9. Lean on your partner- Confide in your partner and let them know how you are feeling and what you need from them. Having them there for you can be a great source of support.
  10. Get a massage- It will help you relax and ease your muscles. Some practitioners even give mommy and baby massages. 

If you think you have postpartum depression, it’s best to talk to a professional who can help you adjust to having a new addition in your family. 

Call us today for more information on how we can help you get through this tough time!  (813)244-1251

9 Ways to Reduce Anxiety.

What Your Anxiety Symptoms Are Really Telling You

Those with anxiety often feel that they are stuck and are unsure of how to make themselves feel better. But there are many tools and techniques to use in order to manage your anxiety effectively. 

Try these healthy ways to cope with anxiety: 

  • Take a deep breath. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is great at reducing anxiety because it activates the body’s relaxation response.
  • Accept that you’re anxious. Remind yourself that anxiety is just an emotional reaction, and accept it. 
  • Realize your brain is playing tricks on you. Your mind can make you think you are having a heart attack when it is only a panic attack. 
  • Question your thoughts. When you’re anxious your mind starts coming up will outlandish and crazy ideas that aren’t realistic. Ask yourself, “is this really likely to happen?”, “is this really true or does it just seem that way?”. 
  • Use a calming visualization. Practice picturing yourself on a the sandy shore of your favorite beach, or sitting on the lawn of your favorite park. 
  • Be an observer. Practice observing (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment) with compassion.
  • Use positive self-talk. Anxiety can produce a lot of negative talk, so tell yourself positive coping statements, such as “my anxiety is making me feel horrible today, but I have tools I can use to manage it.”
  • Focus on the present. Anxiety usually makes people obsess about things that might happen in the future. Instead it is best to take a deep breath and focus on what is happening right now.
  • Focus on a meaningful activity. When feeling anxious it is helpful to focus on a goal driven activity. The worst thing you can do is sit around obsessing about how you are feeling. Keep busy with your every day life, don’t sit around and let the anxiety get to you. 

Anxiety can feel like having chains around your feet, weighing you down. It can be very overwhelming at times. But by taking small steps – like the ones above – you can minimize your anxiety and cope effectively.

Visit our website or give us a call for information on how we can help you manage your anxiety!

Co-parenting After Divorce.


Usually after a divorce the last thing you want to do is deal with your ex and communication between the both of you seems impossible. But the best thing you can do for your child is try to have an amicable relationship with your ex, and taking the time to do this will make co-parenting much easier in the long run. 

Here are some tips for co-parenting after divorce:

  • Don’t let feelings rule your behavior.  Emotions can get the best of even the most rational individual. Vent your emotions to a friend, family member, or even a counselor. Keep your children hearing from these conversations, they do not need to hear bad things about the other parent. 
  • Mind your tone. To reduce the risk of instigating an argument, keep a professional tone as if you were talking to a colleague. Also, when you are trying to ask the co-parent for something make sure you are asking and just telling them what you want. 
  • Stay in touch. It is important not to ignore one another when trying tocbuild a more positive, working co-parent relationship. Make a plan to consistently stay in touch with each other about your child. This helps both of you to stay on the same page when it comes to how you are parenting your child, and makes dealing with each other easier if you are used to talking.  
  • Keep your child out of the middle. Your child’s well being should be the center of your focus, but do not put them in the middle of your issues. Do not make your child the messenger or middle man, and don’t make them feel as if they have to choose between the both of you. 

Co-parenting after divorce can be hard, but it can be done. If you find yourself hitting a dead end when it comes to co-parenting with your ex, we can help you. Counseling allows parents to discuss what is in the best interest of the child in a neutral environment and to get input and advice from a professional who has experience working with children and families of divorce. 

Visit our website for more information on how we can help you with co-parenting!