Marriage Counseling

Marriage counseling, also known as couples counseling, relationship counseling, or couples therapy, is a form of therapy that supports people in intimate relationships. Therapy may be helpful for partners considering separation or seeking improved intimacy and understanding. While the relationship itself is the focus in marital counseling, each partner is expected to pay attention to self-improvement and self-awareness.

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Problems in School

If school problems aren’t picked up and addressed early, they can be bad for children in the long term.

To start with, school problems might contribute to poor self-esteem. In the longer term, they can affect your child’s mental health.

School problems can also lead to an increased risk of dropping out. Children who have academic problems might be more likely to avoid school in the short term and to leave school early in the long term. These children might also be less likely to do further education or training in the future.

Another consequence of school problems is that children can get tagged with unhelpful labels like ‘uninterested’, ‘easily distracted’, ‘lazy’ or ‘doesn’t try hard enough’. Young people often start to believe these labels and think that they’re ‘troublemakers’ or ‘misfits’. All these labels suggest that children are to blame for school problems. But school problems are often a sign that children aren’t getting enough support.

Finally, when children fit in at school and feel like they belong, it’s good for their well-being. But children who have problems at school can experience a reduced sense of belonging and well-being.

Causes of school problems

Some of the more common causes of school problems are underlying learning difficulties or learning disabilities – like dyslexia – or behavioral or emotional issues. But there are many other reasons why a young person might not be achieving academically.

Personal factors might include:

  • chronic illness
  • mental health issues like depression or anxiety
  • experiences of trauma
  • difficulties with self-esteem, communication skills or social skills
  • difficulties with listening, concentrating or sitting still.

Problem Solving

The term problem solving is used in many, many, many disciplines, sometimes with different perspectives, visuals and often with different terminologies. Problems can also be classified into two different types (ill-defined and well-defined) from which appropriate solutions are to be made. Ill-defined problems are those that do not have clear goals, solution paths, or expected solution. Well-defined problems have specific goals, clearly defined solution paths, and clear expected solutions. These problems also allow for more initial planning than ill-defined problems. Being able to solve problems sometimes involves dealing with pragmatic (logic) and semantics (interpretation of the problem). The ability to understand what the goal of the problem is and what rules could be applied represent the key to solving the problem. Sometimes the problem requires some abstract thinking and coming up with a creative solution.

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Children’s Reaction to Trauma

Children and teens can have extreme reactions to trauma, but their symptoms may not be the same as adults. In very young children (less than 6 years of age), these symptoms can include:

  • Wetting the bed after having learned to use the toilet
  • Forgetting how to or being unable to talk
  • Acting out the scary event during playtime
  • Being unusually clingy with a parent or other adult

Older children and teens are more likely to show symptoms similar to those seen in adults. They may also develop disruptive, disrespectful, or destructive behaviors. Older children and teens may feel guilty for not preventing injury or deaths. They may also have thoughts of revenge.

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Coping with Anger

Anger problems can make you feel isolated from others, dissatisfied with life, and completely misunderstood. When you have a difficult time dealing with your anger, it can be hard to accomplish what you want to do or develop the relationships you would like to have. Yet, the person who has anger issues doesn’t always recognize the source of their difficulty. They may think others are at fault for pushing their buttons or even feel that the universe is against them.

Yet, realizing that the problem lies in how you choose to deal with your anger can be very freeing. Knowing what is actually happening can help you feel more in tune with yourself. Understanding that you can take charge of your responses can help you deal with the uncomfortable emotions surrounding your anger. And, once you can honestly say the words “I have anger issues,” you can begin the work of overcoming them.

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Lying can destroy a relationship, but all lying is not created equally. Some liars use their fabrications to be manipulative — think the worst salesperson in the world, the most seductive person trying to woo you, or the classic narcissist pumping up his own image. These individuals use others as objects, or in the case of pathological liars, do what they do because that is what they do: There’s a personality disorder involved.

But in most everyday relationships, lying is situational. This is what Kara is dealing with. She believes in her heart that Jack is a good guy, and not ethically shady or a sociopath. But this stuff with the ex drives her crazy. This is less about Kara and more about Jack’s coping mechanisms

Problems as Bad Solutions

In most of these situations, someone like Jack lies because he is anxious and afraid. No doubt he has done this before, probably way back in childhood, when it sometimes worked, sometimes didn’t, but more often than not it was effective enough to keep him out of trouble.

The problem here is not the ex, but his own anxiety about Kara’s reaction. He lies to avoid those little-kid, getting-in-trouble feelings, as well as “parental” anger and possibly punishment. So he contacts his ex, but doesn’t tell Kara, because he is already wired to fear blowback.

The Cycle

What now happens is the setting up of a dysfunctional cycle. Kara may have her own above-average sensitivity to trust and honesty from her childhood or previous, and possibly unfaithful boyfriends — it may now be part of her mental DNA. Going into her relationship with Jack, she is already wired to this and a bit hyper-alert. She does her best to not be overly intrusive and to take him at his word. But now her worst fears have come to the fore, and she explodes.

When this happens, it triggers Jack’s worst fears. His brain is telling him that he was right all along: Telling the truth is not safe, and he actually needs to get better at being secretive and withholding.

The couple could fight this battle for … forever, with Kara getting hurt, getting angry, and trying to get Jack to change, and Jack ducking and weaving to keep Kara off his back and avoid conflict.

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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.

 

How To Deal With A Stressful Situation

How To Deal With A Stressful Situation

When you are faced with a stressful situation whether in your business or in your personal life it is very easy to worry, be fearful, get stressed and panic. Some stress is good for you but too much can result in you being unable to think straight, inaction and poor performance.

We have therefore put together some ideas and tips to help you when you are faced with a stressful situation:

Be well prepared. It is a good idea to have a contingency plan for unexpected events, to have procedures for different eventualities and to ensure your family understand how to handle stressful situations. In your personal life you can also think about how you will handle stressful and difficult situations and be prepared for such events.

Look after yourself. If you are in good mental and physical shape you will be more able to handle a stressful situation, so it is important to look after yourself on an on going basis, including achieving a good work/life balance, building in relaxation, having fun, eating healthily, exercising and not getting yourself too tired.

Calm yourself down. When you first hear about a stressful event or situation it is easy to panic and get very stressed. Calm yourself down by slowing down your breathing and thinking about how you have overcome similar situations in the past. It may help to move into a different space so you can think things through.

Think positively. When you think positively you will feel in control and confident. Visualise a positive outcome to the stressful situation and focus on past successes and hurdles that you have overcome.

Put things in perspective. When faced with a stressful situation other people may panic and you may be given inaccurate information or the severity of the situation may be exaggerated. Therefore, find out as much information as possible about the situation so you can understand what is actually happening. Also put the situation into context against your business or your life as a whole.

Trust your knowledge, experience and intuition. When dealing with a stressful situation you can panic and forget to utilise all the knowledge and experience you already have. Remind yourself of the resources you have and trust your knowledge, experience and intuition to help you handle the stressful situation.

Make a plan. It is easy to rush straight into taking action but it is critical to first of all make a plan of what you need to do. This will not only help you to ensure that you have covered all angles but will also give you something to refer to as you go along.

Be decisive. People can get very indecisive when faced with these types of situations, which will be very unhelpful. It is therefore critical to be decisive and take decisions in a considered but timely fashion.

Take action. Taking action in itself will calm you and other people down. So once you have your plan, start to take action to resolve the situation.

Write things down. When things are stressful it is inadvisable to have lots of information in people’s heads. Write down the plan and ask everyone to write down what they have done. This will help to manage the situation, help people feel in control and will also help after the event to understand what was done.

Ask for help. Faced with a stressful situation you may try to handle it on your own, however, you may want to get some help or someone to talk to. This will provide not only practical assistance but also reassurance. Call or text us at Star Point Counseling Center. (813) 244-1251. We have offices in Tampa and Brandon.

We hope that the above ideas and tips will help you to handle stressful situations better in the future.

To our families, friends, and clients, we hope you are all safe from the path of Hurricane Irma.

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.starpointcounselilngbrandon.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

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.