Relationship Stress

Strain can be placed on a relationship when stressful circumstances affect the couple as a whole, or even just one of the partners. Chronic illness of one person, for example, can impact the well-being of both partners. Many couples struggle with communicating effectively and feeling that they are heard by their partners, as well as differences in parenting, political views, or expectations. Severe stressors include infidelity, terminal illness of one partner, and serious mental health issues. Resentment, contempt, and an increase in the frequency of arguments tend to be signs of underlying problems that have been left unaddressed.

Some common relationship concerns include financial difficulties, barriers to communication, routine conflict, emotional distance, sexual intimacy issues, and lack of trust. Sometimes, marriage itself can be the issue at hand for unmarried couple, when one partner wants to marry, or is subject to social or familial pressure to do so, and the other partner is reluctant or feels unready to marry. Couples who are considering marriage may seek premarital counseling for these and other issues.

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What is Anxiety

All organisms have been given a fight or flight response mechanism that protects and preserves them. It is an adaptive function placed in us for the sole purpose of self-preservation. Anxiety, in a sense is an ally. When we experience a danger or a threat, the fight or flight response kicks in, adrenaline and other chemicals are activated and physical symptoms occur, rapid heart rate, palpitations, increase in blood pressure, etc. For most people these debilitating symptoms taper off and the body is restored back to it’s normal state. However, for some individuals, the adrenaline is not metabolized as easily and it may linger in the body longer. Hence, we need to look at anxiety as a physiological condition that needs behavioral adjusting, as opposed to a psychiatric illness.

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Star Point Counseling Center

Why Is Therapy So Expensive?

Many people struggle to find talk-based therapy that’s covered by their insurance plans. Of all practicing medical professionals, therapists are the least likely to take insurance. Only 55 percent of therapists accept insurance plans, compared to 89 percent of other health care providers, like cardiologists, dermatologists and podiatrists, according to a 2014 study.

That’s a big problem, since approximately 1 in 5 Americans will experience some sort of mental health disorder in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness.  Many will also seek counseling for divorce or grief.

Treatment is highly individualized, but experts agree that talk therapy is the gold standard for treating psychiatric problems. A 2015 study revealed that cognitive behavioral therapies were just as effective as antidepressants for treating depression.

So why is therapy so unaffordable for so many people? And why don’t more mental health professionals work with third party payers? It turns out several factors contribute to making therapy unaffordable ― many outside individual clinicians’ control.

Insurance systems don’t support therapists’ diagnoses.

Poor insurance coverage for therapy is largely a reflection of how society views mental health.

Insurance companies tend to see things more from a medical perspective ― where if you get sick, for example, then you take a blood test, they figure out what is wrong with you, they give you a medication and then you are all better.

But with mental health a lot of times what we are trying to do is preventative maintenance-type work, and it makes it a lot more difficult to justify medical necessity with insurance companies.

 

Even when insurance companies consider a mental health diagnosis a valid billable condition, the coverage may only be temporary. Insurance companies do not cover marriage counseling, relationship counseling, family counseling and grief and loss.

More and more insurance plans we see either have a high co pay or a high deductible. So technically, people do have mental health coverage, but they are paying for most or all of the cost out of pocket anyway.

All of the major insurance companies are closed to enrollment for Licensed Therapists in the Tampa Bat area, including Brandon, St. Pete and Tampa. We receive calls all the time from potential new clients complaining they can not find a therapist in their insurance network.

Another thing insurance companies do that most people don’t know about is sub contract the mental health portion of a policy to another insurance company. I had an instance recently where a client had Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance but Cigna actually covers the mental health portion of the policy. In most cases of sub contracting the mental health portion of a policy, they sub contract to a much smaller insurance company that pays extremely low and has very few Mental Health Providers in network. A good example is Hillsborough County School Teachers and Employees. They have Humana for the medical part, but they have MH NET for the mental health part of their policy. MH NET requires authorization, treatment plans to get authorization every 8 sessions, you have to fill out a paper form that they “conveniently never receive” and they pay $40 per session. Therapists literally spend more time collecting their $40 than they do therapy with the client.

Therapists honestly can’t afford to accept insurance. 

The gap between a therapist’s hourly fee and the reimbursement rates they receive from insurance companies can be massive.

I’ve seen it lower than $50 a session. We charge $120 a session, so that would be a major blow in terms of income for us.

We can’t sustain our practices when that kind of value is put on mental health.

While $120 per session sounds steep,  it helps cover rent, the cost of business and malpractice insurance, advertising, administrative staff, office equipment and credit card processing fees. Many therapists have also accrued massive student debt. Therapists have to get a Master’s Degree, at minimum, then do a 2 year Registered Internship and pass a State Board Exam to become a Licensed Therapist in Florida.

Therapists are health care professionals that all have master’s degrees or higher. Many have doctorates, medical degrees, and [have] graduated from specialized institutes for the teaching of psychotherapy.

Lawyers, accountants and architects generally make $120-$400 per hour or more. One should expect to pay the same for therapy from a competent, highly trained professional.

Therapists are in a no-win position. Therapists are almost forced to charge the patient directly because they are not able to be reimbursed at equitable rates as their counterparts that have M.D. or D.O. behind their name.

More equitable rates across all insurance companies would allow patients to have greater choice and access in terms of their health care decisions.

Filling out insurance paperwork is a full-time job.

It’s a Catch-22: To keep overhead low, many therapists don’t hire staff or assistants. But without them, the job of working with insurance companies is overwhelming.

Many people who work in mental health don’t have the volume of patients that primary care [physicians] might have. They might see seven or eight patients max in a day, where a primary care doctor might see as many as 40 patient’s a day and also have dedicated staff who handle billing and who are very familiar with what the requirements are with all the different payers out there.

Submitting a bill to an insurance company can involve jumping through an array of hoops including justifying your services to an insurance representative, providing status report updates and getting on the phone with providers to track down late payments.

This can be particularly complicated because not everyone who sees a therapist has a diagnosable mental illness.

Common reasons for coming to therapy, like couples counseling and grief counseling, are typically not covered by insurance.

We do try to provide lower cost therapy at Star Point Counseling Center by utilizing a sliding scale based on household income. This way people who are needing therapy can get the help they are looking for without going into debt.

Please visit us at starpointcounselingtampa.com or call us at 813-244-1251 if you have insurance questions.

 

Couples Counseling at Star Point Counseling Center

When you come to see a therapist at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa and Brandon for Couples Counseling these are some of the things we will work on together with you.

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.

If you want to work on your relationship call Star Point Counseling Center at 813-244-1251. We have offices in Brandon and Tampa.

#couples counseling, #relationship counseling, #marriage counseling

Barriers to Effective Communication

Barriers to Effective Communication Barriers to communication are things that prevent people from understanding a message, or understanding it the same way. Some common barriers to communication include: • Poor listening skills. Many people consider speaking the most important element of communication. However, good listening skills are critical to effective communication. They help you better understand the information other people are trying to convey, improve your rapport with others, and improve your problem solving skills. • Language barriers. The words you use to communicate may create a barrier to communication. This can be as basic as communicating with someone who doesn’t speak the same language, or a subtle as interpreting the words you use in a different way. It can also include poor use of language by the communicator (e.g., using words incorrectly, poor grammar), a lack of understanding of the language or context (e.g., a non-technical person trying to Communication Skills for Healthy Relationships communicate about a technical issue), using colloquialisms or jargon, using ambiguous word choices, etc. • Emotional barriers. There is a greater potential for misunderstanding when emotions are involved. For example, a sender who is upset or angry may not be able to effectively communicate his or her feelings and ideas. A receiver in a similar state may ignore or distort what the other person is saying. • Environmental barriers. This can include a number of factors including, interruptions, distractions, physical environment issues (lighting, noise, comfort), talking too softly, physical distance, a physical barrier between sender and recipient, etc. • Timing barriers. The timing of a communication can affect it’s ability to be understood. For example, there may not be enough time to communicate the message fully, or it may be too early or too late in the day for someone to give the communication his or her full attention. • Perceptual barriers. Each person experiences events—including communications—in a way that is unique to him or her. A sender will communicate in a way that makes sense in his or her reality. A receiver understands a communication in a similar manner. However, these two realities may not be the same, so the message may be perceived differently, hindering communication. Variables including age, education, gender, social and economic status, cultural background, temperament, health, religion, political beliefs, etc. can alter perceptions and create barriers to communication.

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Perceived Communication

Has anyone ever told you that you mean well but you come across as something different? Is there a certain group or type of person that tells you this? Then you may be giving off a vibe in your communications and are not aware of it.

We sometimes have women who come in and communicate differently to men than they do to women and they do not realize they are doing it. This is also true for some men as well towards women.  It can be because they had a verbally abusive father, were traumatized by a man or physically abused by a man. This is also true for some men as well towards women.

When this happens the communication is negative and defensive thus breaking down any form of assertive communication that may exist.

If you feel this is happening to you then call Star Point Counseling Center at 813-244-1251 and set an appointment to see one of our therapists to help you work through your perceived communication.

7 Common Marital Problems

If you are experiencing conflict in your marriage, you are not alone. Here are the most common marital problems among couples:

  • Communication breakdown
  • Unresolved issues from the past
  • Unfulfilled relationship/partner expectations
  • Intimacy issues
  • Infidelity
  • Resentment
  • Contempt

If left unresolved, these problems may corrode the positive aspects of your marriage, which can eventually lead to divorce. Marital conflicts can also have an adverse impact on children. Therefore, it is important to seek marriage counseling before conflicts create lasting damage. Marriage counseling not only helps couples resolve conflicts, but also teaches partners important tools for creating a happy and successful marriage. If you are interested in couples counseling please contact us at 813-244-1251. We also invite you to visit our websites at http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com and www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com.

Managing Change in Your Relationship

It is quite normal for relationships to go through periods of change and many couples are able to adjust and reshape their relationship as it evolves. It is also quite normal for relationships to become stuck during this process, especially during major life events such as having a child, changing careers, having financial difficulties, and going through changes in health. Couple’s counseling offers a great opportunity to gain clarity, learn how to work through challenges, and grow as an individual and as a couple. It is important to seek help as early as possible in order to learn the tools necessary for managing changes and to preserve your relationship. The journey may be difficult, but the rewards great.

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What to Expect in a Couples Counseling Session

Counseling approaches may differ by therapist. Some therapists may choose to see both of you individually for a few sessions in order to identify and address personal concerns relating to the relationship. This approach allows each partner the opportunity to feel completely comfortable in being open and honest about their concerns and goals. Other therapists may choose to work with a couple as a unit throughout the length of therapy. During joint sessions, partners will be able to discuss their concerns together and receive guidance in addressing current challenges as well as any challenges that may arise in the future. In addition, couples are usually assigned “homework” to do in between sessions. The work you’ll be doing outside of session is where the real change begins to happen because this will allow you both to put newly learned tools into action to improve your relationship!

Are you and your partner ready to explore the benefits of couples counseling? We invite you to call Star Point Counseling Center at 813-244-1251 where we have a team of talented therapists to help you.

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http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com