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.

 

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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813-244-1251

The Forgotten Ones

“Troubled children are distanced, humiliated, and ashamed when they do something wrong and are often repeatedly blamed for something they did not do. Many of them have also learned how it feels to be blamed, over and over again, for something they did do wrong and to never be forgiven.  They know how it feels to be forgotten, ignored, and abandoned.”

“Children who are repeatedly put down feel that everyone else is better and more lovable than they are.  They begin to feel and believe that they will never fit in.”

“Our children need to know that they do belong, right here, with you and me.”

Therapy in Action With Insights and Strategies
for Anyone Living or Working With Troubled Kids

-C.S. Belle~LMHC

 

Find your copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/Therapy-Action-C-S-Belle/dp/1621833283/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478730994&sr=8-1&keywords=therapy+in+action+with+insights+and+strategies

 

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813.244.1251

 

How to Know When to Seek Help for Your Relationship

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life and if you’re like many couples, your relationship gets put on the back burner. This can eventually lead to a loss of connection. But don’t panic. You can take steps to revive your relationship and even make it better than before! The most important step to take is to consider couples counseling, because it is here that you’ll learn effective relationship strengthening tools. If you’re experiencing any of these in your relationship, it may be time to take that first step:

  • frequent arguments that don’t get resolved
  • loss of good feelings you once had
  • disappearance of friendship
  • loss of intimacy
  • partner withdrawal
  • contempt and resentment

Many couples experience these issues, especially during stressful times. However, most couples benefit immensely from participating in couples counseling and are glad they made that call. Interested in couples counseling? Please give us a call, we’d love to help…

Star Point Counseling Center 813-244-1251

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

Marriage Counseling

Communication skills are a great skill in any relationship. Assertive Communication is the best way to communicate versus aggressive, passive aggressive or passive  communication. When talking to your spouse speak in a non emotional calm voice and tell your spouse how you feel. Do not tell them what they are doing wrong, in your mind, blaming them in a loud or aggressive voice.

Fully listen to your spouse before formulating your thoughts, you can even repeat back to them “so I think I am hearing you say……….. is this correct”. Then formulate your thoughts and then speak. A lot of times we will start formulating our thoughts before the other person is done talking and then we do not full understand what they are saying.  If you feel you can benefit from marriage counseling please visit our web site starpointcounselingtampa.com or call us at 813-244-1251.

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.

Memorial Day

Most of us have come to know Memorial Day as a day off from work to have a back yard BBQ or go to the beach.

Lest not forget!

Lest not forget the true heroes of America, the men and women who sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms and lives that we live today.

Lest not forget the sacrifices the Fathers of our country made and the people who fought in the Revolutionary War and again in the War of 1812 and all of the wars up to today and the wars we are currently in against terrorism.

Lest not forget the men and women who have come back from war with mental health issues like PTSD, Depression and an inability to adapt back into society.

Lest not forget Pearl Harbor and The World Trade Center.

LEST NOT FORGET!

Positive Thinking

Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last much longer than a smile.

A positive person anticipates happiness, health and success, and believes he or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty.

Positive thinking is not accepted by everyone. Some, consider it as nonsense, and scoff at people who follow it, but there is a growing number of people, who accept positive thinking as a fact, and believe in its effectiveness.

It seems that this subject is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses about it.

To use it in your life, you need more than just to be aware of its existence. You need to adopt the attitude of positive thinking in everything you do.

If you feel you would benefit from positive thinking then call Star Point Counseling Center at 813-244-1251 to schedule an appointment to see one of our therapists.