It All Begins With Clear Communication

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Many people will agree that communication is KEY to any relationship. Whether it is with your significant other, family members, or very close friends, you want to have clear and open dialogue. Are experiencing communication blockage in your relationship? You might not be using clean communication. Follow these basic guidelines for cleaner communication:

  1. Avoid using judgmental words.  Avoid using words that convey to your partner that he/she is flawed. Examples: “childish, uncooperative, thoughtless.” These words do not belong in a caring relationship.
  2. Avoid using global labels.  A global label is a generalized disapproval of your partner’s identity. Examples: he or she is “stupid, selfish, lazy, useless.” These labels attack your partner’s person instead of his/her behavior. They convey that your partner is “always” bad. Use of these labels results in a loss of trust and a loss of closeness.
  3. Avoid “you” messages of blame and accusation.  Examples: “You always make us late; you never ask what I want; you never offer to help with chores.” The true meaning behind these “you” messages is: “I’m in pain, and you did it to me.” They also convey the message: “You were bad and wrong for doing this to me.” Instead use “I” messages which show no direct accusation or blaming of your partner. For example: “I feel sad about missing the evening with you when you come home late; I feel tired and irritated when I put the groceries away alone.”
  4. Avoid bringing up the past.  When communicating with your partner, especially while angry, try to stay in the present moment and deal with the current issue. Bringing up past events tends to build up a case against your partner compiling evidence to prove his/her faults. Example: “You did the same thing to me last week, and the week before.” This statement sends the message: “You’ve always had this flaw, and it’s not getting any better.”
  5. Avoid using negative comparisons.  Clean communication is about helping, not hurting your partner. It is meant to resolve conflict by not rejecting your partner. Negative comparisons only seek to punish and attack your partner.
  6. Avoid using threats.  Example: “If you leave this house right now, don’t expect me to be here when you get back.” This sends the message that your partner is bad and you are going to punish him/her. The deliberate intention to hurt is tremendously destructive to your relationship.
  7. Describe your  feelings rather than attack with them.  Using clarifying words to describe your feelings will help your partner to hear and understand you. Statements like: “I am sad, or I am feeling hurt,” are clear ways to express your feelings to your partner. Be mindful of your tone of voice when describing your feelings. Using sarcasm, threatening, or raising your voice can be perceived as an attack on your partner.
  8. Keep your body language open and receptive.  Believe it or not your body language can actually depict whether or not you are open and willing to communicate. Crossing your arms, pinched lips or a tight jaw, or looking away in a disgusted manner are all signs that you do not want to communicate. To portray openness, keep good eye contact, nod or acknowledge while listening, relax your face, uncross your arms, and if you are sitting lean slightly forward.
  9. Use whole messages.  Whole messages consist of observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs or wants. “You’re spending too much time at work” is not an appropriate way to express thoughts in a whole message, because it turns your opinion into  an absolute truth. “I am sensing that the balance is off; I think you need to spend more time at home.” This statement shows that the speaker takes responsibility for his/her own opinion and does not try to make it absolute.
  10. Use clear messages.  A woman who sarcastically says to her partner at the dinner table, “You’re talkative as usual,” may pretend her statement is a simple observation, but the observation is contaminated with judging thoughts, feelings, and needs. A more accurate statement would be clear and whole: “I notice you’re pretty quiet tonight (observation). It makes me think you’re not interested in me (thought), and I feel hurt and a little angry (feeling). I’d really like you to talk with me more (need).”

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Are you using clean communication with those around you and/or with your partner? Call Star point today to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. They can help guide you and your partner (or family members) down the road to cleaner and clearer communication.

McKay, M., Fanning, P. & Paleg, K. (2006). Couple skills: Making your relationship work. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Visit our website to learn more about how a counselor can help:, or

Can we forgive and forget?

When difficult situations arise a common piece of advise people hear is to forgive and forget. What people fail to remember is how difficult it is to forgive someone who has hurt you, especially if they have hurt you more than once. Some people forgive others cheaply, meaning they forgive the offender without any real processing of the emotion or the injury. There are three types of people who usually forgive cheaply: conflict avoiders, passive-agressors, and the self-sacrificers.

So what does the hurt person have to do in order to accept someone’s forgiveness genuinely? The victim must look at their own assumptions about forgiveness and how those assumptions stop them from granting forgiveness. They also need to go through the acceptance process. The person that is to forgive the offender should create opportunities for the offender to make good and help the victim heal.

It is possible to forgive, but it can be difficult. A counselor can help with the forgiveness process. Go to to learn about our services. Call 813-244-1251 for any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our great counselors today!

Overprotective Parents

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Parents want what is best for their children. Parents can and should keep careful watch of their children, but it can become an issue when the parent is constantly hovering over the child and not allowing him or her to discover things out on their own. Worry is common for many parents to feel at times, but when it is constant and obsessive it becomes problematic.

Being an overprotective parent may cause the child to become overly dependent and not learn how to do things on their own. The child will have difficulty making decisions for him/her self and will demonstrate feelings of inadequacy. The child will likely not be assertive or take on a leadership role, instead they will look for guidance.

It is important that you encourage your child to solve their own problems and offer guidance minimally. As parents it is important to offer unconditional love that is not based only on behavior and accomplishments.

Counseling is also a great way to develop parenting skills! If you want more information about our counseling services check out our website at Call 813-244-1251 for questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our many great therapists!

Stressed Out?

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Do you retreat into your shell and shut yourself off leaving you no access to the outside world? Or do you reach out to find social support?

While it may seem appealing to crawl into a corner and shut the world out when stressed, it is actually less beneficial to your physical and mental well-being. Retreating when stressed may increase your chances of weight gain or loss, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety.

On the flip side, reaching out to friends and family for social support is highly beneficial for both your physical and mental well-being. Pursuing social interaction when stressed decreases illnesses, depression, and anxiety. In addition, the larger and more diverse your circle of friends, the better it is for your overall health.

Counseling is an option that allows you to “socialize” by talking to someone and venting about your stress. Not to mention it is very favorable for your mental health. By seeking counseling for stress, you may learn new techniques to incorporate into your everyday life, and reduce the negative results of stress.

Get help now! Visit our website today:, or

Or call now to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled counselors: (813) 244-1251

Struggles of Becoming a Parent

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Becoming a parent is a joyous time, but unfortunately new stresses come along with it. Things change. Two people who were used to taking care of themselves now have the responsibility of taking care of baby that can do nothing for itself. Tension can arise between the caretakers and those around them. Because of the new addition, the responsibilities shift or may change all together. Some common difficulties that arise are frequent arguments and conflicts on how to parent. One of the most difficult things is learning the balance between, the relationship, family, and the everyday stresses of work and household work.

It is important that both partners form a bond with the infant and that both partners agree and participate in the infant’s care. It is critical that both partners notice and acknowledge their appreciation for infant care and support. Both partners should get together and discuss a plan on how to manage the balance of responsibilities.

If you are struggling with the adjustment of having a little one to care for, a counselor may be able to guide you through the transition from being a couple to being parents. Visit for more information or call 813-244-1251 for any questions or to set up an appointment.

Spring is around the corner….

For many, spring is a time of new birth and new beginning. Many take this time to clean out and start fresh again. Why not do the same for your mind? Take a moment to take a deep breath and make a step toward a better you! If you want to understand yourself better consider counseling as a way to get a fresh start. We have many great therapists in our office that offer a variety of counseling services. Check out our website for more information or call 813-244-1251 for any questions or to set up an appointment today!

Happy Spring!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner…

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. Relationships are important so be sure to tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them. If you are having any difficulty communicating with your loved ones consider Star Point. At Star Point Counseling center we offer counseling services for individuals, couples, and families. We even offer premarital counseling services. Visit for more information about our services or to learn more about our many therapists.

Blue Monday

If you were not already aware, this past Monday is known as Blue Monday, noted to be the most depressing day of the year. Blue Monday is a relatively new theory proposed by a UK psychologist based on a mathematical formula (Blue Monday). This day is calculated to be the most depressing day of the year due to failed New Year’s resolutions, winter weather, and holiday bills. If you are feeling blue or need help getting back on your feet please visit or call 813-244-1251 to make an appointment

Is today ‘Blue Monday?’ (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2015, from

Premarital Counseling

When you get engaged people usually start planning the big day. When planning your wedding do not forget to also plan for your marriage. Your wedding is for one day, your marriage is a much longer commitment. Seek premarital counseling in order to learn how to better communicate with your partner and how to cope with unexpected stressors.

Seeking therapy early can help prevent future communication and relationship difficulties. Visit to learn more or call 813-244-1251 to schedule an appointment.

It’s a New Year

Happy New Year from Star Point Counseling Center!

Star Point Counseling Center wishes you a very happy new year. The new year brings new starts and new stresses. If you at any time feel overwhelmed please feel free to visit or call 813-244-1251 to make an appointment.