Our marriage therapy services at Star Point Counseling Center Tampa FL, & Brandon FL are designed to assist couples improve communications, increase trust and bolster intimacy. Our marriage therapists in Tampa FL, & Brandon FL are skilled at helping couples break through relational challenges and assisting couples create emotionally healthy, stable, loving marriages. the marriage therapists and relationship specialists at Star Point Counseling Center use an interactive and empathic approach to guide couples towards meaningful solutions – with clearly identified goals for counseling as part of the therapeutic process. Marriage counseling in Tampa Fl & Brandon Fl can be transformative when both individuals in the marriage are motivated towards positive change. Why not let one of our counselors help to Shepard your marriage to an oasis of insight.
Every marriage could use help at times. If you’re looking for a better relationship with your spouse, we are here for you!
Star Point Counseling Center in Brandon Fl. & Tampa Fl. marriage counseling services are confidential and personal to fit with your relationship needs. Your relationship is unique, and we respect that. That is why we maintain flexible hours throughout the day and evenings to meet your busy schedule.
We take the approach that every couple can succeed, but not without working at it. We do our best to instill positivity, hope, and successful tools into both our marriage counseling and into our clients.
Star Point Counseling Center in Brandon Fl. & Tampa Fl. feel there are lots of great counselors, therapists, social workers, psychologists, and other helping professionals in the State of Florida, not all of them are trained to counsel couples specifically. In this post, I’ll describe a few qualities that you should look for when considering a competent couple’s counselor.
Look for a Couple’s Counselor that…
- Makes you both initially comfortable (don’t worry… it won’t last). Upon your first meeting the counselor should spend some time with both of you together, and in that context both of you should feel comfortable talking to the counselor. Part of the first few of sessions should be about connecting with both of you and helping both of you share your experience in the relationship. Eventually, the counselor will need to press you both more, making one or both of your more uncomfortable, but this only works if it is based upon trust and connection.
- Doesn’t take sides – all the time (or at least takes sides fairly equally). Your friends and family take your side; your counselor should not, not all of the time. Your counselor should not gang up with you against your partner except in extreme cases. In most cases, it’s when the counselor stays more neutral, and helps you explore your part in the ongoing conflict, that will be most helpful.
- Puts your relationship first (above either of your individual personalities, complaints, or justifications). I often tell my clients that their relationship, their marriage, is my primary client. My work is to improve their relationship, not just their individual experiences. You can work on individual issues in individual counseling, but if you do it will impact your relationships (often for the better, but not always). My job is to improve your relationship.
- Looks for what is working (even though it feels like it sucks!). Though your relationship is probably in significant distress, it’s probably not completely dysfunctional every moment of every day. A counselor should take time to explore what is already working now.
- Engenders HOPE (it can always get a bit better). No matter how bad it is now, it can get better. And if you don’t have the belief for that truth, your counselor should. I’ve personally seen couples overcome tremendous distress, disappointment, and distrust – sometimes to my own surprise! While conflict and pain are part of relationships, it can always improve.
Have you ever considered how to determine how good or healthy your marriage is? There isn’t a lab test or a thermometer that gives you a reading to tell you how you are doing. So, how do people know if their marriage is healthy or not?
Unfortunately, for some people, they have no idea what their own determining factors would be, say nothing about their spouse’s determining factors. Sometimes people are completely blown away when their spouse mentions divorce. They thought things were going just fine, but apparently their spouse didn’t. It is important to examine how you would know if your marriage is good or bad and to see if these things are in line with your spouse’s view of the relationship.
I’m Happy so It Must Be Good
Some people judge their marital satisfaction based on their happiness with their life in general. They think, “If I’m happy then my marriage must be good.” Their sources of happiness may be their work, extended family, or other external factors and they assume is going well.
We’re Weathering the Good Times and the Bad
Other people don’t think that happiness equates to marital satisfaction. Instead, they look for how they are handling the bad times. If they are taking the good and the bad and making it through together, they assume their marriage is in a good place. The general thinking is that if my spouse is here for me when I’m dealing with grief, tragedy and problems, we must have a good marriage.
We Have Fun Together
There are couples who really enjoy one another’s company and they like doing a lot of activities together. They gauge their marital satisfaction based on how much fun they are having. Going on fun dates, exciting vacations, and finding new adventures mean they are over all satisfied with their marriage.
We’re Accomplishing Things Together
Accomplishments can signal happiness for some people. They think that if they have children, a nice house, enough money, and all their goals are being reached, their marriage must be a good thing. They credit their success to having a good marriage and think things must be good if they are doing well.
Behavior or Feeling?
It’s important to take a look at whether you determine the health of your marriage based on feelings or behaviors. For some people, they just feel good, feel lovingly toward their spouse and feel their spouse loves them. For these people, they just feel like their marriage is good.
For others, it is based more on behaviors. If their spouse does the chores, buys them presents or gives them attention, they feel like their marriage is good. They also feel like the best way to show their love is to do things for their spouse.
Most people believe in determining the health of their relationship based on a combination of feelings and behaviors. For example, my marriage is good when we are helping each other and when we help each other, we feel more love between us. The good news is, you can behave lovingly even when you don’t feel like it and these behaviors can change how you feel.
Find Out Your Spouse’s Thoughts about Marriage Health
Find out your spouse’s definition of a healthy, satisfying marriage. You may find that it differs slightly from yours. Men and women’s brains work differently. They think and feel things in different ways. So therefore, their definitions of a successful relationship may vary.
Ask your spouse’s opinion on the current state of your marriage. Don’t let your spouse get away with something like “it’s alright.” Find out what that means. Ask what a great marriage looks like.
Set Goals for Yourselves
Once you compare notes on the state of your marriage, discuss what types of things would make your marriage better. These can be small things, like “kissing me goodnight” or “greeting me when I come in the door.” Try to set some goals for yourselves that are realistic and obtainable.
Identify one small thing you can start doing for your spouse regularly that would make your spouse feel like the marriage was better. Offer one thing your spouse can do for you. Keep communicating about the state of your marriage and how healthy or unhealthy you feel it is and make adjustments as necessary
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1. Make sure you are both 100% invested in attending therapy together
Seem obvious, but your (or your partner’s) enthusiasm for therapy could eclipse the other one’s hesitation.
Quite often it is one partner who has suggested that the couple seek couples counseling, and the other partner is reluctant about beginning this process.
Having trouble rallying your significant other to go? Take time to listen to their concerns with an open mind.
It can be helpful to give the not-so-excited partner an opportunity to have some of their concerns or questions addressed prior to the session.
After all, the more dedicated you both are to the process, the more profoundly your relationship will grow and heal.
2. Discuss shared goals for therapy with your partner
Assuming you’re both on board for starting therapy, it’s time to land on your shared goals for your time in sessions.
Ask each other strategic questions to unveil those goals, such as:
- How do we want to grow as a couple?
- Do we need to work on our conflict style?
- Could we improve the quality or frequency of our intimacy?
- Are we abusive to each other?
- Do we have shared goals, and what are our goals as a couple?
- Do we need to work on listening to and validating each other?
Once you have a clearer idea of what you want out of therapy, it can be easier to find a therapist who’s prepared to help you meet those goals.
3. Start your search for a couples counselor by prioritizing comfort and fit
Every couples therapist will have a different approach and style, so you and your partner should look for someone you both feel comfortable with.
Here’s how to make sure you land on the right fit:
- Read therapist bios and watch introductory videos if they have any: A therapist’s professional statement and video can give you a helpful sense of the therapist’s demeanor and how they speak.
- Come up with a list of questions to ask the therapist, such as “Have you worked with couples who have [our issue]?” Being honest up front about your challenge will get you further, faster.
- Schedule 2-3 initial phone calls with providers. Learn about each therapist’s approach to couples counseling and decide which appeals to both of you.
- Consider speaking to therapists on the phone separately to make sure you both would feel comfortable proceeding with in-person sessions.
4. Clear your schedule for your first appointment
When it’s time for your first appointment, prioritize it to the fullest extent possible by making sure you both have your schedules cleared for, and ideally after, the session.
If you have a late-day or evening appointment, for example, consider leaving the rest of the night free so you can emotionally rest and recharge afterwards.
5. Get ready to share personal history
While it is “couples” counseling, your discussion won’t be limited to issues surrounding just you and your partner.
Getting a sense of your family history is important for a couples counselor; it helps them understand your emotional bonds and attachment styles, which can then provide insight into how you relate to others.
Emotional bonds can affect everything from who you choose as a partner, to how well your relationship flows, and even how it ends. Get ready to dive in deep!
6. Decide whether – and what – you want to tell your friends
Having different relationships is crucial for our overall health. We can’t all expect our partner to be our lover, our BFF, our personal chef, and our workout buddy. Those additional roles what friends are for.
What friends aren’t for? Making you feel embarrassed about going to couples counseling.
Whether or not you tell your friends is totally your call – but when it comes to couples counseling, remember that you’re not obligated to anyone but yourself and your partner, and that you respect your partner’s privacy as well.
7. Know that it’s okay to be nervous about your first session!
Many couples who go to counseling together are, understandably, anxious about their first appointment. After all, you may be opening up about certain challenges and intimate issues that you and your partner have only ever spoken about to each other. In some cases, you might be sharing things you’ve never even told your partner.
It’s completely normal – common, actually – to feel anxious about embarking on this new experience. Don’t worry if one (or both) of you is still hesitant on the day of.
Unknowns make many people anxious. It can be helpful to simply be patient and stay hopeful that after both partners meet the therapist, some of the anxieties about going to couples counseling will be put at ease.
And remember: The last thing your therapist is going to do is judge you. They’re there to help you manage and understand your emotions in a way that can help you both move forward.
High fives to both of you for taking this important step towards repairing your relationship! So long as you’re both committed to putting in the work, you’re off to a great start.
Are you struggling with a lonely marriage? Have your marriage problems and life stresses begun to create intimacy problems? Have your communication problems taken their toll on your marriage? Have you tried couples counseling or sex therapy and still find yourself stuck without direction? Maybe you’re afraid things aren’t going to improve. Perhaps you are deeply sad and full of longing for a meaningful connection.
The times when we are not feeling close are extremely painful. Many people experience grief during these times and may feel a sense of guilt, fear, anger, or a sense of a loss of self. It’s pretty important to feel these feelings and never invalidate them, but it’s also important to gain perspective on these feelings. Intimacy problems have a particular way of making us doubt ourselves, making us feel small and powerless. Gaining perspective on these emotions is challenging but important.
When Emotions Run High Couples Go Distant
How does a couple get connected when the intimacy problems seem insurmountable—when emotions are running too high to go deep? Within the question lies an answer of sorts. It is one of the most important truths about how intimate relationships really work. When emotions run high, people can’t get close and stay there. Perhaps this seems counter-intuitive. I mean, isn’t love, by its very nature, intense? And don’t most therapists advise that sharing intense feelings is the secret to love and happiness? Didn’t we feel completely connected in the beginning of our relationship when things were over the moon intense and beautiful? Isn’t that what we crave—an intense emotional connection?
We may crave it, but when does craving something ever turn out good in the long run? I mean come on…ice cream…chocolate…beer… You get the idea.
But craving in intimate relationships quickly turns into begging, and that’s no way to get close…whether you’re begging for emotional intimacy or for sexual intimacy. Close couples that have resolved their intimacy problems have somehow learned to calm these emotions down, so that they can connect peacefully. One colleague put it this way: Intimacy, whether sexual or emotional, requires smooth/calm/peaceful waters.
Developing a More Neutral or Balanced View
But how do couples learn to calm these emotions down? I think it starts first and foremost with developing a more neutral view of relationship problems…one where there is no “bad guy,” where we stop thinking of things as “wrong” or “broken” or “dysfunctional,” painful as things may be.
It’s not helpful to think of our marital or intimacy problems as occurring because we or our spouses are doing something wrong or bad. It’s just the nature of emotional intensity and the nature of what happens when you put two or more emotional beings together. I’m not saying that what you or your spouse is doing is OK. I’m talking about stepping back out of the melee just a little so you can be less controlled by it. The number one way to be controlled by it is to react to it, whether your reaction is to go cold or to go hot. What kind of perspective can you ultimately develop about your intimacy problems? Can your perspective be a little more informed on the human as an animal that is tied to its evolutionary history?
Changing the Context of Your Intimacy Problems
The second shift in thinking has to do with context. Neuroscience is demonstrating in multiple studies that emotional and relationship intimacy problems are not as much about the individual, but about the context in which individuals live and develop and make moment-by-moment decisions. Will power isn’t a thing. Context is everything.
For example, couples might understand the impact of context in a phenomenon that frequently occurs on vacation. Many couples with intimacy problems experience dull or infrequent sex at home, but on vacation it spices up or occurs more frequently. The context has changed.
But how do couples change the context of their relationship at home where the status quo is in charge? It’s not as simple as getting a babysitter, lighting some candles, or buying flowers as many can attest. This can work at times, but it’s not a long-term solution. It takes more of a fundamental context change than a cosmetic one. It takes a bit of a reordering of relationship systems that already exist in and have influence over your life. For example, do your lives revolve around your children? Do they have a little too much “presence” in your marriage? What small moves could you make to change this context? Would it have an impact on your sex life? There are many other relationships that have an impact on your sex life as well.
To many people, thinking about the other relationships in their lives sounds unrelated to their emotional or sexual relationship with their spouses, but it’s an idea worth considering. I mean, think about how much time and energy you’ve perhaps spent on improving your marital and sexual relationship. When there’s heavy focus, most people don’t get very far. What could it hurt to shift focus? That’s a context change in and of itself! Star Point Counseling Center is here to help you work through the problems in your life!
To book an appointment, contact us today!
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Even the healthiest relationships experience some degree of conflict. It’s when conflict dominates your daily life that couples counseling can help.
Couple’s counseling helps gain insight into negative patterns, stops conflict head on, and repairs old emotional wounds.
- Anxiety and Depression
- Trauma and PTSD
- Social Justice Issues & Power dynamics (Patriarchy, Feminism, Gender, Race, Income, & Equality)
- Intimacy loss
- Sex Issues
- High conflict (chronic fighting and arguments)
- Infidelity and broken trust
- Pre- Marital Counseling or decision about getting married
- Addiction & Co-dependency
- Separation and Divorce
DEVELOP SKILLS WITH COUPLES THERAPY
- Learning how to have better outcomes from arguments
- Learning about your nervous system when triggered & how to calm yourself
- Identifying the negative patterns and cycles
- Discovering communication tools that can help increase positive patterns
- Learn how to communicate vulnerable emotions and feel more connected
- Managing conflict and engaging in repairs that feel restorative and rejuvenating.
- Accessing the strengths of the relationship that can help leverage the couple into transformation.
- Develop skillful means of relating that can help the couple move from insecurity to security.
- Re-Building safety and trust
- Meditation, Yoga, and Qigong (learn how to activate the para sympathetic nervous system)
TOP RATED COUPLES COUNSELORS IN TAMPA FL. & BRANDON FL.
We have carefully selected a team of experts in the field. Our therapists are trained in the newest modalities and cutting edge treatments for couples. In addition to a rigorous academic background (doctorate and masters level), our therapists have been through further advanced training’s in couples counseling to optimize success of treatment.
Our team of therapists value personal development, strengthening skills, and staying current on progressive treatment for mental health. We participate in yearly training’s and workshops, as well as weekly consultation groups so we can provide you the best couples counseling that Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. has to offer.
Current research shows that emotionally fulfilling relationships are important components of mood and emotional stability. This is one reason why we hold in high regard staying current on progressive and cutting edge treatments for couples. We work constantly to assure we are bringing you the best the field has to offer.
OUR APPROACH TO TREATMENT
Star Point Counseling Center applies Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy for Couples (AEDP), Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), and Depth Psychoanalytic treatment to help couples improve their relationship. These modern approaches have been researched and proven to help facilitate fundamental transformation in 70 percent of all couples.
HOW DOES COUPLES COUNSELING WORK
Treatment starts with an intake in which your therapist will ask you about your history as a couple and what brings you to therapy. In the first couple of sessions, you will begin to develop a relationship with your therapist and see if they are a good fit for both of you. During the early phase of treatment, your couples therapist will ask you questions and get to know what you both are needing. In this initial process, you will set goals, create a plan, talk about whether you will need individual counseling in conjunction with couples therapy. Clients usually set the pace and length of treatment (short-term or long-term) with suggestions from the therapist.
As treatment progresses, a trained couples therapist navigates the process of understanding the cycles couples get stuck in and identifies what needs to change to have a more effective and positive connection. In this stage, our goal is to assist couples learn how to communicate empathetically, to communicate feelings more effectively, and to respond to their partner’s needs. The couple’s therapist will try to navigate this process successfully and always intervene if the communication becomes escalated rather than effective. Emotionally focused interventions have the power to re-establish supportive secure attachments among couples.
In the final stages of couple therapy, the couple will be able to safely share their needs, past experiences and hurts and be validated, heard and tended to by their partner. In this stage, couples will be able to explore conflicts and problematic relationship patterns without slipping into their typical negative patterns of relating. At this point, couples will be able to slow down and make healthier relationship choices: to be vulnerable instead of defensive, to be receptive instead of closed and to be curious instead of withdrawing.
What Brings Couples into Couples Counseling?
Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. often hears from couples that are in despair – frightened that their relationship is beyond help. Their communications have broken down, trust has eroded and sex is almost nonexistent. I also frequently see fundamentally strong couples that may be facing a specific crisis and want the aid of a professional.
Partners come into couples counseling or marriage counseling with a variety of issues to address including communication & conflict resolution, sexual & intimacy issues, fighting and anger problems, identity and role conflict, dependence vs. independence, religion, ethics and values, jealousy, parenting, infidelity, money and finances, addiction, family and in-law struggles, step family issues, gender roles, infertility / adoption, and many more.
How We Approach Couples Counseling:
We view couples therapy as extremely collaborative, and we use a strong team approach to get quick results. We am very involved in the session at all times and will honestly communicate to you what we see, feel and think. We begin by establishing a vision for the relationship, which incorporates the ideals of both members. Our office becomes a safe haven, where problems can be discussed without fear of pain, judgment or retribution. Our consultation time is used as a living laboratory, a place where we can explore different styles, interventions and techniques. These can be used to change hurtful and destructive patterns in the relationship and create a stronger, more open and meaningful connection. What do we expect from you as our client? We expect a serious commitment to our work, an ability to be open when looking what you bring into the relationship (both positive and negative) without defensiveness, and a commitment to altering your own ineffectual behaviors. When these conditions are met there is an excellent chance that we can not only help you get your relationship back on track, but take you to an even stronger place. One you may not have ever imagined was possible, but was achievable through our couples counseling sessions.
Developing Communication Skills:
Healthy communication is a key ingredient of a successful relationship, and successful couples know how to communicate in a way that can actually improve their relationship. Through couples counseling I will help you to understand the way in which you presently communicate, and then teach you new skills & solutions to improve ways to talk to each other.
Working together as a team, we will guide you to:
- 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.
Does Marriage Counseling Work?
The answer to this is entirely dependent on a variety of factors, including the willingness of you and your partner to grow, the severity of your marital problems, and how well each of you respond to marriage counseling. Statistically the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, reports that 97% of people surveyed said they received the help they needed. 93% of them said they had more effective tools to dealing with their problems.
How Long Does Marriage Counseling Take?
Unfortunately, marriage counseling does not lend itself to predicting with any precision the number of sessions it will take to meet your/our goals. Our mutual objective is to meet your goals as soon as possible. Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl. feels that to get the greatest results it will take from 9 – 12 months. There is usually a lot going on when clients come in for marriage or couples counseling. It will take some time to undo the negativity, resentment and trust issues that clients usually first come in with.
When Should We Start Marriage Counseling?
The sooner the better. Marriage counseling works better for couples who seek help early. As a general rule thumb, if you are currently considering marriage counseling, you would most likely benefit from it. As with many things in life, if a couple waits until their marriage problems are too advanced, or one person has already given up on the relationship, saving the marriage can prove to be difficult. Therefore, best results are more likely when a couple seeks counseling as soon as possible.
Is Marriage Counseling Right For Us?
This question does not have an easy answer. There are so many variables to consider, and far more than can be mentioned here. However, when working together with a skilled counselor, chances are the desired outcome will be achieved.
Understanding and accepting what makes our partners unique is the foundation to a functionally dynamic and ultimately a stronger relationship. Premarital counseling helps you as an individual and as a partnership to develop the skills to be prepared for the challenges with cultural differences, remarriage, step parenting, age differences, intimacy, geographic relocation, educational differences, blended families, single parenting, finance/money management and more.
Open Letter To Anyone Who Calls a Business
- Don’t be doing something else while calling a business, your train of thought should be 100 percent if you want 100 percent of them.
- Don’t put on the speaker on your phone, it is echoey and hard to hear you.
- Talk slow so they can understand you, especially if you are placing an order or making an appointment. You want the information to be accurate.
- Don’t get agressive or into bullying mode because they did not tell you what you want to hear. Simply say thank you and call someone else.
- Do speak clearly and friendly, you will probably get more information,
- Do talk assertively and do listen to what they are telling you. Isn’t that why you called anyway?
- Do let the phone go to voice mail and leave a short message if they do not answer. I know, everyone knows how to leave a message and we have to listen to 30 seconds of how to leave a message before the beep.
Communications Counseling Tampa Fl. & Brandon Fl.