Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is Useful for: Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mood disorders, phobias.

Based on the idea that we can make permanent changes in the way we behave by shifting our negative patterns of thinking, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT for short) is short-term and goal-oriented. The therapist and patient work together to identify the behaviors the patient wants to change and then come up with an action plan to do so.

What to Expect: Sessions are structured and the relationship with the therapist can be more “business-like” than in other kinds of therapy. In other words, the patient and therapist will work together to identify and change problematic patterns of thinking and behaving. The patient is given “homework,” which consists of keeping a record of his or her thoughts, feelings, and behaviors between sessions. At Starpoint Counseling Center, we have licensed and trained therapist that will work with you.

Term of Treatment: Four to seven months, with meetings every one to three weeks. Call or text us at Starpoint Counseling Center (813) 244-1251, to schedule your appointment.

Visit us on the web at:

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

 

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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

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

 

 

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. http://www.starpointecounselingtampa.com (813) 244-1251

visit us at:

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

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: starpointcenter@aol.com

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

http://www.starpointcounselingbrandon.com

http://www.affordablecounselingbrandon.com

 

 

 

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.

http://www.starpointcounselingtampa.com

affordablecounselingbrandon.com

starpointcounselingbrandon.com

 

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.

starpointcounselingbrandon.com

starpointcounselingtampa.com

affordablecounselingbrandon.com

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.

starpointcounselingtampa.com

starpointcounselingbrandon.com

affordablecounselingbrandon.com

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.

 

Couples Counseling at Star Point Counseling Center

When you come to see a therapist at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa and Brandon for Couples Counseling these are some of the things we will work on together with you.

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.

If you want to work on your relationship call Star Point Counseling Center at 813-244-1251. We have offices in Brandon and Tampa.

#couples counseling, #relationship counseling, #marriage counseling

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.

starpointcounselingtampa.com

813-244-1251