How Can I Trust Again

If you’ve been burned in the past, it’s understandable that you might have a hard time trusting other people. It can help to remind yourself that your new partner is NOT your old partner (or your friend, family member, or whoever broke your trust before), and making assumptions about them based on the actions of a completely different person isn’t really fair. Even if you’ve been hurt before, that’s not an excuse for checking up on your new partner or demanding that they prove their trustworthiness to you. As we’ve said, trust is a choice, and building on that trust within a relationship takes time. When we begin a relationship with someone, we’re making the choice to trust them. If you feel that you aren’t able to trust anyone else right now, you might not be ready to be in a relationship.

It’s worth noting that being able to trust yourself is an important component in trusting others. Being hurt by someone in the past may have affected your ability to trust yourself and your own instincts. Just remember that the person who broke your trust in the past made that choice; you can’t take responsibility for someone else’s actions or decisions. If you’re struggling with this, taking time to work through it, maybe with a counselor or therapist, could be very helpful in regaining trust in yourself and your ability to trust others.

Are you dealing with trust issues? Our therapist are here to help. Call, chat or text with an advocate today! We can be reached by phone at (813) 244-1251 or online at:

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

We provide counseling services to individuals, couples, families, children, teens, and adults with any type of crises.  We help you build tools as well as help design and implement individualized goals and objectives, help you sort out beliefs, thoughts, and behavior patterns that may be hindering you in your relationship(s) whether at the work place or in other areas of your life.  
 
We have the tools you need for managing pain, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, hopelessness, or anger resulting from circumstances that interfere in achieving a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.  By working together, we will show you how to set and achieve goals and objectives therapeutically designed to meet your needs that will allow you to live the life you know that you deserve.

 

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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.

 

HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY STAR POINT COUNSELING CENTER

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY TO STAR POINT COUNSELING CENTER. It was 5 years ago today Clarissa Crystal-Belle, LMHC, Co Founder/ Executive Clinical Director and Author saw her first client in a small rented office with an office chair and a card table. I know it is not the proper setting for a professional office but this client didn’t care, they just wanted to get in to see her. Sam DiFranco Co Founder/ Executive Business Director was managing Star Point Counseling Center from the lobby with a brief case and a lap top computer. We grew exponentially into multiple office and a counseling team of over 10 therapists helping thousands and thousands of clients. 5 years, where has the time gone! We look forward to helping thousands and thousands more clients in the future.

Black Lives Matter

Black lives matter, I truly believe that and that everyone is equal. African Americans have had inequalities since slaves were brought to America to be bought and sold. The Emancipation Proclamation was suppose to free slaves, and it did. However, the inequalities did not stop. The Union had troops in the southern states after the civil war to enforce that slaves were indeed free, although inequalities were rampant. The presidential election of 1876 changed that. Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was the northern states nominee and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden was the southern states nominee. The election was disputed and that led to The Compromise of 1877. The democrats agreed to give the presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes and in exchange they had to withdraw the Union troops out of the south. With the Union troops gone from the southern states the white plantation owners did whatever the wanted to do to the black people and the authorities turned the cheek and pretended to not notice. This practice went on for almost 100 years until the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, much overdo at that point.  If I was an African American living in the south from 1865 to 1965 I would gotten the heck out of there as soon as I could, why would they stay?

My concern is that the inequalities are focused on Black America and Black Lives Matter, which I totally agree, they do matter. But, how about the other ethnic groups in America? How about the Asian’s who helped build the railroads across our nation? How about the inequality right after Pearl Harbor when the U.S. Government rounded up as many Asians as they could find and put them in a barricaded area simply because of the way they looked. How about the Irish and Italian Immigrants who came to America from 1870 to 1925? They were the manual labor who helped build the industrialized cities with no labor laws and severe labor inequalities. How about the Hispanic immigrants who came to America in the last 50 years or so? They are feeling inequalities simply on a language barrier. How about the inequalities of women, they were treated as if they were stupid, weak and could not do anything except cook and clean. How about the current inequality on gay, lesbian and transgender people, the recent hate crimes in Orlando exposed the most recent inequality in America. How about the pre judgement and inequalities on Eastern Indian and Middle Eastern people in America after 9-11-2001?  How about the biggest inequality of all, the American Native’s? They welcomes the white man from England, taught them how to survive only to have their entire nation stripped of them piece by piece, broken treaty after broken treaty and then cast into the desert.

So, with that being said, I think we, as Americans, should change Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter.

Mental Health Care for Veterans

The American Government should be ashamed of the mental health care we give our Veterans. The people who fight for our freedom and protect us have to go to the VA for mental health treatment. A lot of Veterans come back home with P.T.S.D and/or severe trauma. The VA is arguably the worst health care in America, we all read about and hear the horror stories the Veterans go through trying to get into the VA to see a mental health provider. I personally have taken calls from Veterans trying to get mental health treatment telling me the VA said they have a 3 month waiting list to see a mental health provider. They sometimes are willing to pay for treatment out of their own pocket. That is how much they want help from a mental health provider.

Meanwhile, Federal Employee’s enjoy Blue Cross & Blue Shield with a $20 co pay as their insurance carrier. With BCBS Federal Employee’s can see a mental health provider within a few days. There are a lot of excellent mental health providers who are in network with BCBS.  My question to the American Government is, why can’t our Veterans also have Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurance as well so they can get the help they need?

Our active duty Military Personnel have Tri Care insurance, which is a Government funded insurance company managed very much like the VA. Why can’t our active duty Military Personnel have Blue Cross & Blue Shield insurance as well?

This is not a political bash on the Democratic Party or Republican Party, just simply a question to our government. This practice of the American Government giving arguably the worse insurance and care in America to our Veterans and Active Duty Military Personnel has been going on for decades.

 

Mental Health Stigma

Let’s get serious for a moment. There’s a problem. Something’s not right. Well, don’t just sit there, do something about it!

According to a new study published in Psychological Medicine, approximately 1 in 4 people have a mental health problem, yet in Europe and the US, up to 75 percent of people with mental health disorders do not receive treatment. Why is that? Mental health stigma seems to be the key factor in preventing people from accessing the care they need. Delaying, or avoiding care yields negative outcomes for many disorders such as bipolar disorder, major depression, or anxiety disorders to name a few.

stig·ma (stigmə) noun – a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person
Because of this stigma that people have about being “mental health patients,” people put off seeing a doctor for months, years, or even at all. Out of ten, stigma was ranked the fourth highest barrier for obtaining care. The types of stigma preventing people from receiving care are
  • Treatment stigma – associated with using mental health services or receiving mental health treatment; and
  • Internalized stigma – shame, or embarrassment

Other barriers people encounter include fear of disclosing a mental health condition, concerns about confidentiality, wanting to handle the problem on one’s own, and not believing they needed help. Types of people most likely to have stigma about mental health care are young people, men, minorities, and those in the military and health professions.

The stigma is real. Prevent the progression of negative outcomes on your mental health and get help. Not getting help is more dangerous to you and others than getting help.
To talk to someone about your mental health, call us today: (813) 244-1251, or visit our website:  http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Letting Go of Resentment

resentful  Are you willing to let go of resentment so you can have more fulfilling relationships?

Believe it or not, one of many simple ways to let go of resentment is choosing to love rather than to hate. That’s right! LOVE! Its the opposite of hate, anger, or fear. Ever heard the phrase “killing ’em with kindness?” Well, that phrase can go a long way.

Think of it like this, if you send love (positivity) toward someone instead of hate (negativity), you actually begin to break down pieces of their wall allowing them to return positivity to you. In other words, by sending love someone’s way, that love comes back to you. It works the same way with hate. If you send hate someone’s way, that hate comes back to you.

What goes around comes back around.

Schedule some time during your day to think loving thoughts about a person you resent. Hint: think of the things that you liked about that person to begin with. Use that time to wish them well and ask for blessings to go their way.

Now I know this is easier said than done, but it can be done. It will feel weird for a little while, maybe for a week, a month, a year or so, but eventually you will begin noticing peace and love where there once was hatred and resentment. You will even begin to mean it. By doing this small, yet simple, exercise you will rebuild your relationships and they will become more fulfilling.

Will you try to let go of your resentment starting today?

 

Read more here: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-powerful-tips-to-reduce-resentment-and-feel-happier/

Visit our website today to learn more about how a counselor can help you to deal with feelings of resentment: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Readers’ Poll: Counseling at the Pediatrician’s Office?

A recent study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh School of the Health Sciences found that, for children who have behavioral issues, utilizing in-office counseling not only improved behavior, but there was less parental stress, and more overall satisfaction. The study showed that of the total participants, the half that received counseling in the pediatrician’s office actually had greater improvements in behavior than the half that were referred to outside counselors. The children in this study had behavioral problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety. They were 8-years-old on average, and two-thirds were boys.

Having this service is definitely a convenience. Additionally, receiving mental health services in a pediatrics setting provides less of a stigma for children and their parents about counseling. However, mental health services are not typically offered at most pediatricians’ offices.

Do you think Pediatricians should consider using mental health services in their offices? Why, or why not?

 

To read more, follow the link: http://ijpr.org/post/kids-benefit-counseling-pediatricians-office

Visit our website today: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Just Laugh

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Shame is a universal emotion. We all experience it at some time or another. Sometimes shame causes people to react in anger or aggression. Other times people become embarrassed and try to hide their shame. These ways of dealing with shame are not healthy. In fact, hidden shame can be damaging and can cause serious struggles for an individual as well as for groups; struggles that are behind many of the behaviors currently occurring in our society. 

Shame can affect a person’s self-worth. Being told ‘shame on you,’ for example, can destroy an individual’s sense of value. “Emotions are like breathing and cause trouble when obstructed,” says Thomas Scheff, professor emeritus of sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Scheff examined the ubiquity of hidden shame in an article published in the journal of Cultural Sociology. He suggests it may be one of the keys to understanding contemporary society. According to Scheff a society that fosters individualism (like ours) provides a ripe breeding ground for the emotion of shame because people are encouraged to “go it alone, no matter the cost to relationships,” he said.

In exploring the connection between shame and aggression, Scheff cites research conducted by sociologist Neil Websdale, author of Familicidal Hearts: The Emotional Styles of 211 Killers. “Familicide, the act of one spouse killing the other as well as their children and often himself or herself, stems from unacknowledged shame,” Scheff said.

What is even more interesting about the study, is the finding that there is a minority group of non-angry people. These people lose their job and feel humiliated, then pretend as though they are continuing to go to work every day, but they are actually planning the killing. They are known as the ‘civic respectable.’

On the contrary, shame is actually a very useful emotion and is in fact the basis of morality. Shame provides a weight for morality. Ever heard the phrase “listen to your conscience?” When you make a decision based on your conscience it is usually backed up by shame.

Instead of allowing yourself to succumb to shame, give yourself permission to laugh. Laugh at yourself often. Laugh at the universe. Laugh at your circumstance. As long as you are not laughing at others you cannot go wrong. Laughter is good for your health. It relaxes the body, boosts your immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, and protects the heart.

 

To learn more about the study, click this link: http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/03/17/resolve-hidden-shame-with-humor/67210.html

For more information on Mental Health Counseling, visit our website: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

Teen Pregnancy & Mental Health

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Low self-esteem, early use of alcohol and drugs, and living in a home with frequent family conflict are some of the risk factors that increase the likelihood of teen pregnancy. Additionally, adolescent girls with a major mental health disorder are three times more likely to get pregnant than those without a mental illness. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, pregnancy rates among girls with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or major depression were not only three times higher, but they also have been declining at a far slower pace than those for adolescent females without a mental health diagnosis. 

“Although we do know some of the risk factors behind why girls with mental health illness may be at increased risk of becoming pregnant, pregnancy-prevention programs in most developed countries have not traditionally considered mental health issues,” said lead author of the study Dr. Simone Vigod, a psychiatrist at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.

“Girls with major mental health problems are more likely to have social problems and drug and alcohol problems — problems with impulsivity, feeling badly about themselves,” she said. For example, a teen suffering from depression may find it difficult to protect herself from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections with a boyfriend because of low self-esteem. The problem here is the teen girl is experiencing negative feelings about herself to the point that she is unable to assertively advocate the use of condoms or abstinence.

Interventions such as targeted school-based sex-education programs, and greater integration of reproductive care into adolescent mental health care programs are highly recommended. Seeking mental health counseling for your teen, and utilizing these programs will help to reduce teenage pregnancy.

You can read the entire article here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/teens-with-mental-health-issues-have-higher-risk-of-pregnancy-study-1.2530354

For more information on Mental Health Counseling, visit our website: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com, or http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com