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

 

Managing School Stress.

45558_lmw_new_stress1_100411o

With the pressures from finals, GPA scores, and college admissions, school can easily become one of the most stressful things in our lives. Whether its parents and teachers pushing you to do your best, or your own drive to get the highest test scores and attend the best college in the state, stress can consume you unless you know the proper way to manage it. 

Here are 5 tips for getting through the school year with less stress: 

  1. Self-care. You have to start with the basics, take the time to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and enjoy activities that will get your mind off of the stress that comes with school. 
  2. Learn to change your thinking. You can’t get stress out unless you believe your thoughts, stress comes from stressful thinking. You have to learn to change your negative thoughts into positive ones. Instead of stressing out about finishing a project on time, think about open slots in your schedule that you can use to get it done. 
  3. Take bite sized proportions. Assignments become easier when you manage them in smaller proportions than just looking at the big picture. Instead of writing a 9 page essay in one day, do the assignment in chunks. This technique makes it feel more manageable and less anxiety-inducing. 
  4. Lower your goals. I know this may seem odd because you are always told to set your goals high, but setting smaller and lower goals helps reduce stress and boost academic success. Instead of aiming for the highest grade in the class, aim for a grade that you will feel satisfied with your performance.
  5. Stay balanced. No matter how hard you push yourself during exam weeks, no body can remain focused for such long periods of time. Give yourself short breaks to do activities you enjoy, that way you will be refreshed when you go back to studying. 

Stress can turn your best school year into your worst. School doesn’t have to be all about stressing over finals, and GPA scores. If you know how to effectively manage your stress, then you can also enjoy what great and fun things school has to offer, like making new friends and participating in sports and clubs. 

Don’t let your stress consume you, give us a call today to schedule an appointment if you are feeling stressed and need help managing your time, focusing, etc. (813)244-1251

Adjusting Back To School- Make Your Transition Easy

images

For kids and parents alike, the arduous task of preparing for school to start back is needed but not usually welcomed.

Backpacks, pens, pencils, book covers, crayons, scissors and lunchboxes are just a few of the items required by schools, not to mention uniforms and clothes! Along with all of the financial stress are also the not so regular sleeping patterns that our children so happily develop. Getting up in the morning is a daunting experience for parents and children sometimes causing fights arguments, or even can result in the parents and children being late to work and school!

So, how can you avoid and minimize some of these stress provoking, and highly likely situations? Well, here are some tips that may ease your transition.

1. Be aware!- The first step to minimizing stress is to see where the stress is coming from or in this case, where it could potentially come from. Make a list of potential things that could cause stress at the start of the year for you and your child. Have your kids make a list too, you may be surprised to see what stresses them out!

2. Be structured!- Making a plan, and having expectations set can be a great way to kick start your transition. Kids who are more aware of their expectations often perform better, and actually can develop a higher self esteem. Have your children give insights and ideas as well so that each member of the family feels like they are a part of this plan.

3. Be flexible- Not every plan will work out every time, no matter how precise you make it! Allow for small adjustments and variables that may be uncontrollable.

4. Stay Calm- Be aware of calming techniques that can help you if the schedule is not precisely followed. Diaphragmatic Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and Meditation are just a few of the things that may help decrease reactivity. And for the long term, eating right, exercising, and drinking plenty of water can also help to increase your ability to cope with stress.

 

For more information on stress and anxiety treatment, visit our website at www.starpointcounselingtampa.com, or give Sam a call to schedule an appointment today 813-244-1251!

School Violence

Even though the school year is coming to a close, we must not forget the impact that school violence has on children of all ages. Check out this article in the Samhsa news letter, and stay tuned for more blogs from Star Point Counseling! Hope everyone is having a great week so far.

http://www.samhsa.gov/samhsaNewsletter/Volume_21_Number_2/school_violence.aspx

Tips for Parents

Hope everyone has been having a great weekend so far!

This is a post that we have already posted a few weeks ago, but we feel that these four tips by Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Star Point Counseling Center Clarissa Crystal-Belle are very important for parents who have children – whether they are in elementary, middle, high school, or even college.  It can be incredibly stressful for you to balance work life and family life, but we hope that you will keep these tips in mind always to help you avoid unnecessary stress.

 

Here they are:

1. Create and Maintain a Pleasant Home Atmosphere That is Conducive to Learning.

a) Keep your kitchen and common living areas tidy, calm and welcoming.

b) Establish doable routines and structure for self care, extracurricular activities, chores, homework, one on one and family time, and bedtime.

c) Provide healthy food choices avoiding stimulants such as fruit juice, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and sugar after 5PM.

d) Unplug all electronics at least until all of “b’ (except, of course, bedtime), has been accomplished.

e) Provide appropriate clothes that fit and meet school dress codes as well as adequate hygiene and self care products.

2. Communicate acceptance, approval, affection, support and encouragement.

a. Practice and use warm morning and afterschool greetings.

b. Express confidence in your child, preteen and teen.

c. Instill a can-do attitude by identifying his or her prior accomplishments, strengths, qualities, and attributes, daily.

d. Ask open ended questions to help identify, resolve, manage or eliminate specific stress factors he or she may be shouldering. Stress factors may overwhelm, embarrass, frustrate or even defeat your child, pertaining to challenges with academics, peers, or other personal factors you might otherwise not be privy to.

e. Be supportive and solution focused when addressing areas in which your child, preteen or teen is struggling to meet home, school or social expectations. Offering a tutor for a difficult subject, activities for social isolation or poor peer selection, a change in routine for insufficient sleep, etc., can make all the difference.

3. Keep yourself well.

a. Eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, relaxation, and sleep.

b. Keep yourself in good company when socializing.

c. Carve out some down time and alone time even if that means getting up a half hour earlier than the others in the home.

d. Choose your battles carefully.

e. Identify and utilize family, school and community resources as needed.

f. Have fun! Enjoy yourself and your family as much as possible.

4. Know when to seek professional help. Your children, preteens or teens may benefit from professional counseling services if presenting changes in behavior such as any one or more of the following:

a. An increase in negativity. A child, preteen or teen may benefit from professional services if he or she becomes defiant, non-compliant, argumentative, hostile, disorganized, or quick tempered, such as screaming, yelling and name calling.

b. A decrease in socialization. Seek help if he or she becomes more and more isolated, withdrawn, melancholy, bored and/or depressed. Seek immediate help if your child threatens or inflicts self harm or makes suicidal statements, threats or gestures.

c. A sudden and sustained change in mood, peer selection, activities, interests, behavior, sleep and/or eating patterns may indicate a need for counseling services.

d. A significant change in academic performance and/or school behavior, as evidenced by poor grades on assignments, quizzes, tests and projects, multiple zeros for failure to do or to turn in homework, a disorganized back pack, negative teacher reports and school referrals, may also suggest a need for counseling .

Which of these tips are most beneficial to you?  What are some other tips that you follow by that you can share with other parents?  Share with us in the comments below!

Have a great Sunday!

(Photo Credit:  http://pillsbury.mpls.k12.mn.us/parents)

Four Back To School Tips for Parents

Hope everyone has been having a great August so far — time sure does fly by quickly, doesn’t it?

School has already begun today for some, so here are some helpful back to school tips written by Co-Founder and Clinical Director of Star Point Counseling Center Brandon and Tampa Clarissa Crystal-Belle:

1. Create and Maintain a Pleasant Home Atmosphere That is Conducive to Learning.

a) Keep your kitchen and common living areas tidy, calm and welcoming.

b) Establish doable routines and structure for self care, extracurricular activities, chores, homework, one on one and family time, and bedtime.

c) Provide healthy food choices avoiding stimulants such as fruit juice, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and sugar after 5PM.

d) Unplug all electronics at least until all of “b’ (except, of course, bedtime), has been accomplished.

e) Provide appropriate clothes that fit and meet school dress codes as well as adequate hygiene and self care products.

2. Communicate acceptance, approval, affection, support and encouragement.

a. Practice and use warm morning and afterschool greetings.

b. Express confidence in your child, preteen and teen.

c. Instill a can-do attitude by identifying his or her prior accomplishments, strengths, qualities, and attributes, daily.

d. Ask open ended questions to help identify, resolve, manage or eliminate specific stress factors he or she may be shouldering. Stress factors may overwhelm, embarrass, frustrate or even defeat your child, pertaining to challenges with academics, peers, or other personal factors you might otherwise not be privy to.

e. Be supportive and solution focused when addressing areas in which your child, preteen or teen is struggling to meet home, school or social expectations. Offering a tutor for a difficult subject, activities for social isolation or poor peer selection, a change in routine for insufficient sleep, etc., can make all the difference.

3. Keep yourself well.

a. Eat healthy and get plenty of exercise, relaxation, and sleep.

b. Keep yourself in good company when socializing.

c. Carve out some down time and alone time even if that means getting up a half hour earlier than the others in the home.

d. Choose your battles carefully.

e. Identify and utilize family, school and community resources as needed.

f. Have fun! Enjoy yourself and your family as much as possible.

4. Know when to seek professional help. Your children, preteens or teens may benefit from professional counseling services if presenting changes in behavior such as any one or more of the following:

a. An increase in negativity. A child, preteen or teen may benefit from professional services if he or she becomes defiant, non-compliant, argumentative, hostile, disorganized, or quick tempered, such as screaming, yelling and name calling.

b. A decrease in socialization. Seek help if he or she becomes more and more isolated, withdrawn, melancholy, bored and/or depressed. Seek immediate help if your child threatens or inflicts self harm or makes suicidal statements, threats or gestures.

c. A sudden and sustained change in mood, peer selection, activities, interests, behavior, sleep and/or eating patterns may indicate a need for counseling services.

d. A significant change in academic performance and/or school behavior, as evidenced by poor grades on assignments, quizzes, tests and projects, multiple zeros for failure to do or to turn in homework, a disorganized back pack, negative teacher reports and school referrals, may also suggest a need for counseling .

Starpoint Counseling Center therapists are available Monday through Saturday from 11AM-8:00PM to assist you and your family in assuring a successful outcome throughout the school year. See our websites for both the Brandon or Tampa locations and call Co-Founder and Executive Business Director Sam DiFranco to schedule an appointment at (813)244-1251. We are here for you!