Coping with Major Life Changes

Coping with Major Life Changes

It’s okay to be emotional. It’s natural to have feelings of sadness, to grieve over the loss of something, to feel angry about your situation, or to place blame. You have permission to feel that way, but only for moments. You can have your pity party, but only for a day or two, and then you have to move on. If you spend too much time in that place of anger or pity or blame, you end up not being able to adapt to your change. It keeps you in a place of helplessness. And what you need to be is in a place of hope and of growth.

2. You can give yourself permission to be vulnerable: Some of us like to project an image of being strong and fearless, but sometimes it’s not the truth. The truth is that we’re scared, vulnerable, weak and in need of help. We need to allow ourselves to rely on others. And showing that vulnerability is OK. It may feel like you are exposed, but being completely exposed is not always a bad thing. There is always learning and growth that can come from it. You allow people to really see you and when they can see you, can know your stress or pain, they can help. Vulnerability is just part of who we are as people.

3. You are never alone: Sometimes when we go through major changes we think we are dealing with something no one else can understand or no one else is going through. But there are others that can empathize with you. You’re not alone. Even if you don’t ask people to be around you, family and close friends will come to your side. You’re also never alone because you always have yourself to rely on. And ultimately none of us are separate from the Creator or separate from the universe. So the idea of being alone is a false one.

4. You have to ask for help: Often people don’t know what to say or what to do. Some people get stuck because they don’t know what to say or what to do. Sometimes people are natural caregivers. They jump right in to help. But these are the minority. So it is your job to tell people what to say and what to do that will be helpful.  Being able to clearly articulate what you need gives people a sense of relief. In the end, people really like to be told how they can help you in very specific terms. They need it defined for them so they can feel like they are helping and supporting you. Left on their own to guess this information, they feel helpless. And when they feel helpless they do not act. So empower them and empower yourself by letting them know specifically how they can help.

5. You can adapt to anything. Our ability to adapt is amazing. Necessity is the mother of invention and you will naturally find ways to solve your problems and do things in new and different ways when you’re presented with challenges. The adaptability and flexibility of our spirits and of our beings is a given. Those who cannot change and adapt have convinced themselves it is not possible. If you trust that you can adapt, then you will. And if you believe that you can change, then you will, no matter what the challenge.

6. You have to have hope for the future: Having that hope and having the positive perspective is what keeps you moving forward every day. If you give up that belief it would be like letting go of a rope that pulls you forward. Believing that things can and will be different, and that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it now, is the most important thing in getting through a change process. Knowing that there is an end in sight, knowing there are possibilities, and having hope that things are going to be better. And, ultimately, things are going to work out.

7. You will grow as a person, but you are still the same: Going through a change, especially one that is traumatic, changes you forever. It changes how you see life and deal with things. You’re never going to be the same again and that’s a good thing. Because in the midst of change is a great deal of learning, if you are willing to have vision and perspective. And if you are willing to continually ask yourself the question, “What am I supposed to be learning from this?” “How am I supposed to grow?” “How will I become a better person because of this?” In any change process, you can become stronger, and a better version of you. Just because something changes about you, even something radical, doesn’t change the core of who you are as a person. Having something different about you doesn’t make you a different human being. If you are strong and centered and grounded, that is still who you are. Sometimes you have to remind yourself of that.

Star Point Counseling Center provides solution focused counseling for couples, families, and individuals by licensed Therapists to the extended Tampa, Brandon, Plant City, and Riverview areas. We can see you the day you call or whenever possible. We are available evening and weekends by appointment.

At Star Point Counseling Center, there are two convenient locations for you to choose from in Brandon and Tampa. So call or text us today, or anytime, to schedule your appointment. We can be reached by phone or text at (813) 244-1251 or online at:


The ‘F’ Word: Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a voluntary and intentional process by which you have a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense.

The rule is simply this: forgive. This is sincerely the best thing you can do in your marriage and really the only way to keep your marriage intact for the rest of your life. It takes letting go of negative emotions such as anger or vengefulness, and the ability to wish the offender well. Studies have shown that forgiveness inspires love and can be healing in many ways.

Use these tips to keep forgiveness at the heart of your marriage:

1.      Look at both sides of the story.

There are often simple explanations for frustrating behavior, but you have to be willing to see both sides. Too often, spouses jump to conclusions and immediately go into a blaming or defensive mode instead of looking reasonably at both sides of the story. If everyone looked at themselves first before attacking their partners, many fights would be dispersed before they even began. When you can view both sides honestly, it is easier to find forgiveness because you see what part you contributed in the fight.

2.      Practice a policy of open honesty, but not necessarily all the time.

Some spouses operate on the premise that honesty is the best policy no matter the circumstances. In reality, this is not true in marriage. When you hear that honesty is important in a marriage, it is. But it doesn’t mean cruelty or lack of tact is necessary. Honesty means not lying about how much you spent shopping and if your husband asks how you are, do not say ‘fine’ when you don’t mean it. If you need to, schedule a time each week that is your ‘honest’ time. When you have both had a chance to air your grievances, it will be easier to follow number 1 above.

3.      Imagine your spouse dying or leaving you.

This isn’t something that you usually hear recommended in a marriage. But it is a simple and powerful way to remind yourself of how much you love your spouse. When you are feeling especially angry, think about how you would feel if he or she died before you sorted out your feelings. Would this incident be of importance? This is not to say that you should pretend to be happy all the time because he or she might die. This is just another way to look at your marriage and realize how much you do love each other and want the marriage to go forward.

4.      Think about how forgiving will also help you.

Holding on to negative feelings and grudges is extra emotional weight you don’t need. You have likely upset your spouse at times too. There is  no way to exist in any long term relationship without some misunderstandings and doing unintentional harm. Forgiving will be freeing for you and is likely to bring you the same in return from your partner.


By following these simple guidelines, you will find that you can forgive your husband or wife more quickly. Throughout your relationship, you will frequently have moments of “rupture and repair.”  There are times you both go off course and will need to correct it. This is quite normal. Love always follows forgiveness. So, put these ideas into practice to strengthen your bond and ensure that you are truly together until death do you part.

At Star Point Counseling Center, there are two convenient locations for you to choose from in Brandon and Tampa. Call or Text us today, to schedule your appointment. (813) 244.1251
 To view the Brandon website, click here.

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.





Couples Therapy at Starpoint

Marriage counseling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy that is conducted by licensed therapists. Usually involving both partners, marriage counseling helps couples to recognize underlying conflicts and improve their relationship. It can help married couples make thoughtful decisions, overcome differences and enhance communication between them. Marriage counseling is also an ideal resource for relationship help. Often short term, marriage counseling also encourages both partners to focus on self-improvement and self-awareness. In couples therapy at Starpoint Counseling Center, a marriage counselor can help you to:

  1. Explore your hopes, expectations and relationship concerns
  2. Understand each other better
  3. Teach your effective ways to communication with each other
  4. Explain why there are differences of opinion & what to do about them
  5. Learn problem solving strategies
  6. Learn how to move on from marital disappointments and anger
  7. Understand the possible implications of a breakup

Starpoint Counseling Center is also aware of the fact that couples come to them reluctantly, but with a hope that it can benefit their marriage. A good counselor will make every effort to help the couple feel at ease and advise them as best as possible. We can schedule your appointment around your busy schedule. Call or text (813) 244-1251.  You can also reach us online:

Also see: http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon &


Are you depressed?

Understanding Depression

Depression is a serious, but common, illness: One in 10 adults report experiencing depression, and the condition is the most common cause of disability in the United States. The lifetime risk of any individual person becoming depressed is around 17 percent, and most people have their first bout of depression in their late teens or early twenties. The condition is slightly more common among women, but some researchers speculate that this may be because men are less likely to seek help or because their symptoms are more likely to manifest as anger than sadness.

Both environmental and physiological factors can cause depression. Most mental health experts now agree that brain chemistry plays a major role. The level of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain can affect a person’s risk of becoming depressed. However, life experiences affect brain chemistry, and some people become depressed after experiencing a trauma or stressful life change such as a separation or divorce, the death of a spouse, being laid off from a job, financial instability, relocation, or a decline in health. Everyday stressors, like social isolation, domestic violence, and the presence of other psychological conditions, can also contribute to depression. Sometimes depression arises as a defense mechanism in order to avoid experiencing painful emotions. Women who have recently given birth may struggle with postpartum depression in the days, weeks, or months following childbirth.

Depression’s symptoms are distinct from the symptoms associated with grief, when feeling emotionally overwhelmed is normal and temporary. Depression may be indicated when feelings of sadness and despair disrupt daily life and persist for more than two weeks.

Those who have experienced trauma or are prone to anxiety may be more likely to experience depression than those who have not, and research suggests that some people may be biologically predisposed to depression due to neurochemical abnormalities. A family history of depression can lead to a person’s inheriting or learning these traits.

If this sounds like you or someone you love, reach out to Starpoint Counseling Center. We have offices in Tampa and Brandon and can schedule your visit to speak with a therapist. Call or text us at (813) 244-1251



Asking for Help

Sometimes we don’t speak up when we’re struggling because we want to act strong or we think people won’t understand. The truth is this — asking for help when you’re having a hard time isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a characteristic of strength. If your foot was hurting for days or weeks on end, you’d go to a doctor to get it checked out. It’s just as important to be proactive about how you’re feeling and to get support for your emotional health. If making that call or setting an appointment is too overwhelming, talk to a friend or family member first. You can get help and you can feel better.

We are here to help you manage your anxiety and/or depression. Call or text us today to schedule an appointment. (813) 244-1251

visit us at:

Don’t Give Up on Love

Couples therapy can be used to treat issues both big and small. Or it can be used to enhance certain parts of your relationship. It doesn’t always require weekly visits or intensive psychotherapy where we dig into your childhood or highlight your skeletons in front of your significant other.

You are in charge of the process and that process is aligned with whatever goals you choose to focus on.

  • have a healthier relationship
  • cope with trust issues
  • overcome infidelity
  • better understand your partner through productive communication
  • accept your partner
  • learn how support each other
  • learn how to ask for support from each other
  • learn to share your lives productively and happily
  • improve quality time
  • learn to parent together
  • resolve conflicts
  • mediate a separation

Want to find out if you and your partner can benefit from Couples Counseling?

Call us today to schedule your couples counseling appointment: (813) 244-1251 or email us at:




Therapy for Anxiety

Therapy for Anxiety

Because anxiety can interfere with relationships, sleeping patterns, eating habits, work, school, and routine activities, anxiety is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy, and effective therapy can significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms associated with anxiety in a relatively short time, allowing a person to resume regular activities and regain a sense of control. Although people may not be able to identify the cause of their anxiety, after attending a few therapy sessions, many people are able to pinpoint the source and a therapist can help a person work on those deeper concerns.

The type of therapy that is most often recommended for the treatment of anxiety due to its demonstrated effectiveness is cognitive behavioral therapy, although most forms of therapy are well suited to addressing anxiety. Rather than treating symptoms alone, as medications do, psychotherapy aims to identify and address the source of the anxiety. The self-reflective process of therapy helps people to understand, unravel, and transform anxiety and learn self-soothing techniques to use if anxiety flares up again.

The therapist and client will collaborate on a treatment plan, which may include other therapy treatments and lifestyle adjustments to help relieve anxiety such as meditation, group therapy, stress-management and relaxation techniques, self-care, exercise, family therapy, and eliminating or reducing intake of stimulative substances like caffeine.


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.

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.

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 or call us at 813-244-1251 if you have insurance questions.