Standing your ground

Everyday, from the moment we wake up, we live our lives caring what other people think of us. We tip toe our way through life by doing things in order to please others, not because it’s what we believe in. Eventually our actions, appearances, and lives become molded by how we think other people perceive us.

Living a life that follows what other people think is a terrible way to live. We go through our days thinking about how other people might be judging us. But the truth is —  everyone is thinking the exact same thing, and everyone is too busy thinking about ourselves and our own shortcomings to worry about others.

It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations. There will always be people ,  no matter what we say or how we treat them , that will judge us. You will never be able to stop people from judging you, but you can stop it from affecting you! Do not let other people’s perception of you effect your perception of yourself.



Marriage Counseling

It takes work and effort to have a healthy marriage. Here are some tips you can use to strengthen your relationship:

  • Spend time with each other! Plan date nights and weekend getaways, by spending time together you will better understand your partner and grow strong together.
  • Learn to negotiate and communicate. Conflict is a normal part of any relationship, although there are boundaries and ways to discuss a problem. Learn to express your thoughts and not assume the other person knows how you feel. Also, don’t forget to let the other person talk.
  • Show respect for each other at all times. Never put down the other person or criticize them.
  • Explore common interests and try new things together.
  • Explore intimacy. Marital intimacy, whether sexual or emotional, can open your relationship to a whole new level of enjoyment and closeness.

At Star Point Counseling Center, we have licensed counseling therapists available to help you with your marriage. So, if you are having a problem with your marriage and need to talk about it, or want to learn ways to build relationships, please visit our website or give us a call at (813)-244-1251.

Perk Up Your Relationship.


Relationship advice usually comes in the form of don’ts. Don’t nag, don’t tell them to pick up their clothes, don’t remind them to take out the trash and complain when they don’t, don’t put blame. Well here’s a new one for you, don’t listen to any of the advice about the don’ts. Couples who focus on the do’s and who seek to increase the good in their relationship are happier and get along better than those who just focus on avoiding the negative.

Here are some do’s to perk up your relationship:

  1. Be Grateful. Gratitude helps remind us of all the good qualities in our partner. Expressing gratitude towards the other person makes them feel better about themselves, which in return makes the relationship stronger.
  2. Poke fun. When life gets serious is always fun to lighten up the mood by teasing your partner in a non hostile way. Couples who poke fun are happier and come to more peaceful solutions to their issues. 
  3. Celebrate the good. It’s always nice to have your partner’s shoulder to lean on during bad times but its also important to celebrate the good times too. Be enthusiastic about your partner’s good news, ask questions, pay compliments, and be each others biggest cheerleaders. 
  4. Find your ideal self, in your partner. Make a list of your personal goals and then make a list of the qualities you like most about your partner, chances are they are similar. Let your partner help you improve on those things that matter most to you. You will become more like your ideal self and in the process become closer to your partner.
  5. Notice the new. Once we have been in a relationship for a while we stop really noticing and looking at our partner. People are always changing, so take the time to notice something new in your partner, whether it be a new shirt or a change in their values and beliefs. 
  6. Random acts of kindness. When your partner is going through a rough time don’t worry about grand gestures, focus more on doing little acts of kindness that can help make their life a little easier. 
  7. Get back in touch. Even when you don’t have the time for full blown intimacy, you can still benefit from physical closeness. A gentle touch on your partner’s neck, shoulders, and hands, increases oxytocin, a hormone that facilitates bonding, and reduces blood pressure and stress levels. Next time you want to boost your partner’s mood, give them a quick back rub.

If you find yourself struggling with keeping the fire in your relationship going, let us help you. Our Mental Heath Therapists can help you keep that fire alive!

Call us today! (813)244-1251

Being Friends With Your Spouse

Are you feeling unhappy in your current marriage/relationship? Are you constantly arguing with your partner? Well, the solution might be easier than you think. Why not try being friends?


There had to be a time when you were friends; and somehow that friendship is now lost. The closer you became as a couple, the more you began to focus on making the relationship work, and you lost sight of what really matters. Think about it for a moment. Do you treat your friends the same way you treat your partner? Sure you are more physically intimate with your partner, but that is no reason you can’t be friends too.

How can you become friends again? Here are 7 qualities that are present in a healthy friendship:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Sensitivity
  3. Humor
  4. Honesty
  5. Listening
  6. Support
  7. Generosity

When is the last time you noticed any of these qualities in your relationship?


Visit our website today:, or

Like us on Facebook: or follow us on Twitter: @starpointcenter

Shameless Plug

I wanted to just take a minute and speak about how wonderful our services are here at Star Point Counseling. We have developed such a dynamic team ranging from Licensed Mental Health Therapist with many years of experience, to Registered Mental Health Interns and school interns as well.
Our Clinical Director Clarissa Crystal-Belle does a great job supervising interns and guiding all of their work. With her many years of counseling experience and her great knowledge base, she wants to make sure that the clients are getting the highest quality services regardless of how much they are paying and who they are seeing.
Our Business Director Sam DiFranco is an insurance and appointment extraordinaire matching you with the right therapist based on your needs. He will help you find out what your copayments are and how to get you the best rate based on your individual situation.
The whole team at Star Point is here to help you live the life you know you deserve. Check out our website to learn more about our team and our services.

First Comes Love, Then Comes Communication…


When couples get engaged to be married, there is often a feeling of euphoria, passion, and happiness. Knowing who you want to spend the rest of your life with, without a shadow of a doubt, can leave someone feeling satisfied and content, sometimes leading to less “realistic” communication about the future. The passionate love almost blinds us from seeing potential red flags and sometimes tears down our boundaries that we always knew we could keep. Conversations are intense and intimate, but may not include real and transparent values and beliefs. To avoid a fight and keep the “good feelings” going, couples will sometimes dodge discussions about sensitive topics, only leading to unmet expectations and future arguments. Jobs, kids, pets, finances, religious beliefs and boundaries with in-laws are common sources of disagreement that can even lead to divorce. Getting these opinions and expectations out is an essential part of setting up a healthy relationship and in turn a thriving marriage. Talking about difficult subjects also builds communication skills and allows the couple to learn how to talk to one another.
While arguments cannot all be avoided, and are in some instances inevitable, talking about the large topics is almost sure to be a benefit to the engaged couple. Check out this article for more information on topics to discuss before getting married.

For more information on premarital counseling in the Brandon/Tampa Bay area, call Star Point Counseling and set up an appointment today 813-244-1251. Or check out our website

New Additions To the Team

Star Point Counseling would like to welcome Farida Stino, Suzanne Stokes, LMHC, and Bob Scarff LMHC, to our wonderful team of therapists and interns. Farida is now taking appointments at both the Brandon and Tampa locations. Suzanne is taking appointments at the Tampa location. And Bob is available on Saturdays in Brandon. These guys bring great experience and knowledge to the counseling team and we are so happy to now have them on board!
Our team of dedicated therapists work hard to help you live the life you deserve. Our combined knowledge and experience covers areas of Parenting, Family Dynamics, Alternative Lifestyles, Anxiety, Depression and other Mood Disorders, Grief and Loss, Couples Issues, Separation and Divorce, Teenage Struggles, Phase of Life Challenges, Military Lifestyles, and many others. We also accept most major insurance providers, and may be able to offer sessions on a sliding fee scale based on your income. Call Sam to make an appointment today! 813-244-1251 or check out our website for more information:


Power Struggles in Relationships

Often times couples come to therapy with the notion that their problems can be fixed by the therapist telling them what to do. Sometimes people ask for these all important “tools” that will magically save the relationship from the downward spiral it is taking. Arguments ensue over when something happened, or even how a conversation went down providing a power struggle that MUST include “someone winning and someone giving up” (note the quotations as a sign of sarcasm*). Is this really true, however? Do all struggles and conflict have to end with one person holding the proclaimed whip?

According to author Peter Granger, the power struggle does not have to end with an unhealthy argument where we are expecting to take from the other person. But rather this conflict can be seen as an opportunity for the couple to learn and grow. Is having your way really the most important thing? Or, can we look at giving what we may not be receiving?

Want to learn more? Call Star Point Counseling for an appointment today and learn how you can enhance your romantic relationship. 813-244-1251 We have two convenient locations to better help you in Brandon and Tampa Fl.

Meet Our Clinical Director!

Here is a little information about our Clinical Director and Co-founder Clarissa Crystal-Belle.
Clarissa Crystal-Belle Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), is co-founder and the Executive Clinical Director at Star Point Counseling Center. She has over 20 years of clinical therapy experience and has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) since 1997.

Clarissa has extensive experience providing counseling and therapy for children, teens, individuals, couples and families. She has helped many people with issues of depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, marriage and family dynamic issues, separation and divorce, grief and loss, parenting skills, PTSD, repeated negative behavior as well as addictions. Please visit our website for more information at