MARRIAGE & COUPLES COUNSELING TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.

Even the healthiest relationships experience some degree of conflict. It’s when conflict dominates your daily life that couples counseling can help.

Couple’s counseling helps gain insight into negative patterns, stops conflict head on, and repairs old emotional wounds.

SPECIALTIES

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Social Justice Issues & Power dynamics (Patriarchy, Feminism, Gender, Race, Income, & Equality)
  • Intimacy loss
  • Sex Issues
  • High conflict (chronic fighting and arguments)
  • Infidelity and broken trust
  • Polyamory
  • Pre- Marital Counseling or decision about getting married
  • Addiction & Co-dependency
  • Separation and Divorce

DEVELOP SKILLS WITH COUPLES THERAPY

  • Learning how to have better outcomes from arguments
  • Learning about your nervous system when triggered & how to calm yourself
  • Identifying the negative patterns and cycles
  • Discovering communication tools that can help increase positive patterns
  • Learn how to communicate vulnerable emotions and feel more connected
  • Managing conflict and engaging in repairs that feel restorative and rejuvenating.
  • Accessing the strengths of the relationship that can help leverage the couple into transformation.
  • Develop skillful means of relating that can help the couple move from insecurity to security.
  • Re-Building safety and trust
  • Meditation, Yoga, and Qigong (learn how to activate the para sympathetic nervous system)

TOP RATED COUPLES COUNSELORS IN TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.

We have carefully selected a team of experts in the field. Our therapists are trained in the newest modalities and cutting edge treatments for couples. In addition to a rigorous academic background (doctorate and masters level), our therapists have been through further advanced training’s in couples counseling to optimize success of treatment.

Our team of therapists value personal development, strengthening skills, and staying current on progressive treatment for mental health. We participate in yearly training’s and workshops, as well as weekly consultation groups so we can provide you the best couples counseling that Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.  has to offer.

Current research shows that emotionally fulfilling relationships are important components of mood and emotional stability. This is one reason why we hold in high regard staying current on progressive and cutting edge treatments for couples. We work constantly to assure we are bringing you the best the field has to offer.

 

OUR APPROACH TO TREATMENT

Star Point Counseling Center applies Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy for Couples (AEDP), Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), and Depth Psychoanalytic treatment to help couples improve their relationship. These modern approaches have been researched and proven to help facilitate fundamental transformation in 70 percent of all couples.

 

HOW DOES COUPLES COUNSELING WORK

Treatment starts with an intake in which your therapist will ask you about your history as a couple and what brings you to therapy. In the first couple of sessions, you will begin to develop a relationship with your therapist and see if they are a good fit for both of you. During the early phase of treatment, your couples therapist will ask you questions and get to know what you both are needing. In this initial process, you will set goals, create a plan, talk about whether you will need individual counseling in conjunction with couples therapy. Clients usually set the pace and length of treatment (short-term or long-term) with suggestions from the therapist.

As treatment progresses, a trained couples therapist navigates the process of understanding the cycles couples get stuck in and identifies what needs to change to have a more effective and positive connection.  In this stage, our goal is to assist couples learn how to communicate empathetically, to communicate feelings more effectively, and to respond to their partner’s needs.  The couple’s therapist will try to navigate this process successfully and always intervene if the communication becomes escalated rather than effective. Emotionally focused interventions have the power to re-establish supportive secure attachments among couples.

In the final stages of couple therapy, the couple will be able to safely share their needs, past experiences and hurts and be validated, heard and tended to by their partner. In this stage, couples will be able to explore conflicts and problematic relationship patterns without slipping into their typical negative patterns of relating.  At this point, couples will be able to slow down and make healthier relationship choices: to be vulnerable instead of defensive, to be receptive instead of closed and to be curious instead of withdrawing.

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Couples Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

What Brings Couples into Couples Counseling? 

Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. often hears from couples that are in despair – frightened that their relationship is beyond help. Their communications have broken down, trust has eroded and sex is almost nonexistent. I also frequently see fundamentally strong couples that may be facing a specific crisis and want the aid of a professional.

Partners come into couples counseling or marriage counseling with a variety of issues to address including communication & conflict resolution, sexual & intimacy issues, fighting and anger problems, identity and role conflict, dependence vs. independence, religion, ethics and values, jealousy, parenting, infidelity, money and finances, addiction, family and in-law struggles, step family issues, gender roles, infertility / adoption, and many more.

How We Approach Couples Counseling:

We view couples therapy as extremely collaborative, and we use a strong team approach to get quick results. We am very involved in the session at all times and will honestly communicate to you what we see, feel and think. We begin by establishing a vision for the relationship, which incorporates the ideals of both members. Our office becomes a safe haven, where problems can be discussed without fear of pain, judgment or retribution. Our consultation time is used as a living laboratory, a place where we can explore different styles, interventions and techniques. These can be used to change hurtful and destructive patterns in the relationship and create a stronger, more open and meaningful connection. What do we expect from you as our client? We expect a serious commitment to our work, an ability to be open when looking what you bring into the relationship (both positive and negative) without defensiveness, and a commitment to altering your own ineffectual behaviors. When these conditions are met there is an excellent chance that we can not only help you get your relationship back on track, but take you to an even stronger place. One you may not have ever imagined was possible, but was achievable through our couples counseling sessions.

Developing Communication Skills:

Healthy communication is a key ingredient of a successful relationship, and successful couples know how to communicate in a way that can actually improve their relationship. Through couples counseling I will help you to understand the way in which you presently communicate, and then teach you new skills & solutions to improve ways to talk to each other.

Working together as a team, we will guide you to:

  • Identify negative patterns that are hindering the quality of your relationship & friendship.
  • Learn how to stop blaming each other so you can work through problems without power struggles.
  • Recognize the ’cause & effect’ patterns in your relationship.
  • Find healthy ways to communicate and relate to each other, which will strengthen the quality of your partnership.
  • Get through the difficult phase when ‘the business of love’ (daily stressors) interferes with romance and connection.
  • Reconnect to the love and passion of your earlier relationship.

MARRIAGE COUNSELING TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

The answer to this is entirely dependent on a variety of factors, including the willingness of you and your partner to grow, the severity of your marital problems, and how well each of you respond to marriage counseling. Statistically the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, reports that 97% of people surveyed said they received the help they needed. 93% of them said they had more effective tools to dealing with their problems.

 

How Long Does Marriage Counseling Take?

Unfortunately, marriage counseling does not lend itself to predicting with any precision the number of sessions it will take to meet your/our goals. Our mutual objective is to meet your goals as soon as possible. Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. feels that to get the greatest results it will take from 9 – 12 months. There is usually a lot going on when clients come in for marriage or couples counseling. It will take some time to undo the negativity, resentment and trust issues that clients usually first come in with.

 

When Should We Start Marriage Counseling?

The sooner the better. Marriage counseling works better for couples who seek help early. As a general rule thumb, if you are currently considering marriage counseling, you would most likely benefit from it. As with many things in life, if a couple waits until their marriage problems are too advanced, or one person has already given up on the relationship, saving the marriage can prove to be difficult. Therefore, best results are more likely when a couple seeks counseling as soon as possible.

 

Is Marriage Counseling Right For Us?

This question does not have an easy answer. There are so many variables to consider, and far more than can be mentioned here. However, when working together with a skilled counselor, chances are the desired outcome will be achieved.

 

Premarital Counseling?

Understanding and accepting what makes our partners unique is the foundation to a functionally dynamic and ultimately a stronger relationship. Premarital counseling helps you as an individual and as a partnership to develop the skills to be prepared for the challenges with cultural differences, remarriage, step parenting, age differences, intimacy, geographic relocation, educational differences, blended families, single parenting, finance/money management and more.

COUNSELING TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.

Open Letter To Anyone Who Calls a Business

  1.  Don’t be doing something else while calling a business, your train of thought should be 100 percent if you want 100 percent of them.
  2.  Don’t put on the speaker on your phone, it is echoey and hard to hear you.
  3. Talk slow so they can understand you, especially if you are placing an order or making an appointment. You want the information to be accurate.
  4. Don’t get agressive or into bullying mode because they did not tell you what you want to hear. Simply say thank you and call someone else.
  5. Do speak clearly and friendly, you will probably get more information,
  6. Do talk assertively and do listen to what they are telling you. Isn’t that why you called anyway?
  7.  Do let the phone go to voice mail and leave a short message if they do not answer. I know, everyone knows how to leave a message and we have to listen to 30 seconds of how to leave a message before the beep.

Communications Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

Sex and Marriage Counseling in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

Let me ask you, Is your sexual life with your spouse as great as you’d hoped it would be? Do you have difficulty finding the time and desire to be intimate? Are you struggling to find the passion you once had together? Do you wish you knew more about how great sex happens? Does there seem to be something getting in the way of enjoying sexual intimacy to the full with your loved one?

At Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. we will ask questions like these (and many more) these are common concerns couples and individuals have in seeking out a marriage counselor. Many marriages struggle in their intimate life and need help learning to talk about and grow their physical connection in the bedroom. Even sexually satisfied couples can run into difficulties over their lifespan together and need help getting intimacy back on track.

Sexual dysfunction in a marriage usually happens from a lack of open honest communication. Couples need to be able to openly discuss their sexual desires and fantasies without being judged.

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Family Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Couples Counseling in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

Restoring Relationships with Family Counseling

Every family has difficulties, but family counseling can help when those difficulties become so overwhelming that you wonder if a solution even exists.

Ongoing conflict in the home affects every member of the household. Home should be a safe space for all of you, but when issues go unresolved, home can quickly become the last place you want to be.

The good news is that family counseling at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. can make your house feel like home again, restoring harmony and happiness and helping you feel like a family again.

How Does Family Therapy Work?

Every family is unique and comes with their own set of challenges and strengths. For that reason, we don’t have take one singular approach to family therapy. Instead, we work with each family to create tools and changes that are unique to them. This way you get exactly what you want to get from family counseling and you feel the improvement that you’re looking for.

As different as each family’s challenges may be, the overarching goal of family counseling is rooted in improving communication skills, building trust and resolving conflict so you and your family can feel like a family again.

Family therapy at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. not only helps solve the pressing problems you have today, but it provides the skills you need to resolve conflict in the future — and even address problems before they reach the point of crisis again.

Your therapist will evaluate your family, identify the core issues and teach you the skills necessary to work through problems. This may involve setting boundaries, managing anger, adapting to change or simply modifying the way you approach your challenges. Whatever the mechanics may involve, your counselor will help you replace dysfunctional behaviors and response patterns with preferable alternatives that make your family feel closer.

Can You Benefit from Family Counseling?

Any family who experiences trauma, conflict, pain or dysfunction can benefit from counseling.

The complexity and dynamics of the group can create conflict. But even one member’s challenges can cause upheaval within the household. And because families function as a system, one member’s problems can start a ripple effect that causes disruption for everyone.

A common question we hear is whether everyone must come to counseling to achieve its benefits. The simple answer is no, every member of your household does not have to come to counseling for it to be effective. If one or more members of your household refuses to engage in the therapeutic process, you can still forge meaningful change. In fact, never give up on the therapeutic process, even if no one else wants to join you. You’d be surprised how much one person can create change in your home.

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ANXIETY COUNSELING TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder. Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry.

The five major types of anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
  • Panic Disorder
    Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
    Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation – such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others – or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.

Treatment

At Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. treatments will consist of a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and sometimes medication.

Alcohol dependence, depression, or other conditions can sometimes have such a strong effect on mental well-being that treating an anxiety disorder must wait until any underlying conditions are brought under control.

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COUPLES COUNSELING TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.

Thinking of Couple’s Counseling?

While there are lots of great counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and other helping professionals in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. area, not all of them are trained to counsel couples specifically.  In this post, I’ll describe a few qualities that you should look for when considering a competent couple’s counselor.

Look for a Couple’s Counselor that…

  1. Makes you both initially comfortable (don’t worry… it won’t last).  Upon your first meeting the counselor should spend some time with both of you together, and in that context both of you should feel comfortable talking to the      counselor.  Part of the first few of sessions should be about connecting with both of you and helping both of you share your experience in the relationship.  Eventually, the counselor will need to press you both more, making one or both of your more uncomfortable, but this only works if it is based upon trust and connection.
  2. Doesn’t take sides – all the time (or at least takes sides fairly equally).  Your friends and family take your side; your counselor should not, not all of the time ( sometimes you may feel they are but they are trying to have a break through in your relationship).  Your counselor should not gang up with you against your partner except in extreme cases.  In most cases, it’s when the counselor  stays more neutral, and helps you explore your part in the ongoing conflict, that will be most helpful.
  3. Puts your relationship first (above either of your individual personalities, complaints, or justifications).  I often tell my clients that their relationship, their marriage, is my primary client.  My work is to improve their relationship, not just their individual experiences.  You can work on individual issues in individual counseling, but if you do it will impact your relationships (often for the better).  My job is to improve your relationship.
  4. Looks for what is working (even though it feels like it sucks!).  Though your relationship is probably in significant distress, it’s probably not completely dysfunctional every moment of every day.  A counselor should take time to explore what is already working now.
  5. Engenders HOPE (it can always get a bit better).  No matter how bad it is now, it can get better.  And if you don’t have the belief for that truth, your counselor should.  I’ve personally seen couples overcome tremendous distress, disappointment, and distrust – sometimes to my own surprise!   While conflict and pain are part of relationships, it can always improve.

And on a final note, your counseling professional should be specifically trained in couples counseling, and many are not.  Counseling couples requires particular expertise, and many counseling professionals do not have adequate training.  At Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. Clarissa Crystal-Belle, LMHC through her vast experience and knowledge through the years has developed many many skills and tools that every therapist at Star Point Counseling Center utilizes with clients who are here for marriage counseling, couples counseling or relationship counseling.

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Family Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.

At Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl we feel families are happier when they share thier lives and experiences together. Think 50 – 60 years ago when the entire family ate dinner together at the same time every day. They didn’t just eat and run, they discussed their day with each other. They knew what was going on in each od their lves. They supported each other on their goals and dreams. Then the families 50 – 60 years ago would do simple activities together, have fun with each other.

When we see families for family counseling in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. we try to get the families back to this type of family systems. We know everyones lives are much more complicated and busier these days but this is the approach to family therapy to get the family supporting each others goals and dreams.

ANXIETY COUNSELING in TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL. Ways to overcome an anxiety attack.

For those who have suffered a panic attack, you know they can be a horribly uncomfortable experience. Many sufferers develop residual anxiety about if/when they will have another attack, creating a downward spiral of anxiety and overwhelm. Thankfully, most people are able to reduce the frequency and severity of their panic attacks through anxiety counseling in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. They learn how to control their anxiety symptoms and often eliminate the attacks altogether.

The guide below will help you stop a panic attack after it starts so you can get the relief you need.

Recognize Potential Anxiety Triggers

You may be able to stop a panic attack before it ever happens. To do this, you need to know what usually triggers your panic attacks. Is there a certain sight or sound that causes your heart to start racing? Do you experience anxiety during a specific time of day? Some panic attacks occur at random, but most have an identifiable trigger.

Once you know what causes your panic attacks, you can work on how you react to that trigger. This is one of the most important elements of anxiety counseling. During our anxiety treatment programs, we help clients determine what is causing their anxiety, whether it be past trauma, low self-esteem, or any other experience. Then we teach them how to manage their anxiety so those triggers have little to no effect.

Control Your Breathing

Controlling your breathing will slow your rapid heart rate. This is one of the most concerning aspects of a panic attack because it feels unnatural. Take a deep breath over the course of 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. Repeat this process until you feel your body relax. Breath control takes care of the physical element of a panic attack, freeing you to work on the mental side of it.

Acknowledge The Panic Attack

You’re having a panic attack – not a heart attack, not a stroke, not a mental breakdown. It’s just a panic attack. Acknowledging this will not eliminate the symptoms altogether, but it will reduce your instinctual fear. You know what’s going on and you know you have to do something to control it. Reassure yourself of what you’re experiencing so you can focus on relief.

Ground Yourself

One of the most trusted ways to stop a panic attack is with the grounding method. This involves pinpointing specific objects, smells and sounds around you to reacquaint your mind with its environment. During a panic attack, you may feel out of place and overwhelmed by the world around you. Grounding makes that world seem smaller and more manageable.

Many anxiety counselors recommend the 5-4-3-2-1 method of grounding. Identify:

  • 5 things you can see
  • 4 things you can touch
  • 3 things you can hear
  • 2 things you can smell
  • 1 thing you can taste (even if it is a leftover crumb stuck between your teeth)

Doing this provides a complete sensory experience, which calms your anxiety quickly. If you do not have time or cannot remember to identify each of these senses, at least try to look for five things that feel familiar to you. The color of the wall, a picture by the bed, a coat hanging in the closet – anything can become an element of comfort during a panic attack.

Find What Works For You Through Counseling

Every person with anxiety has a unique way of coping. What triggers your anxiety will be different than the triggers for someone else. An anxiety counselor can help you create a personalized coping method specifically for your concerns, lifestyle and overall experiences. With that plan in place, you should see a significant improvement in your panic attacks and anxiety symptoms.

Contact Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl at 813-244-1251

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